Kamal R. Woods, MD, MBA, FAANS

Neurosurgeon located in Miamisburg, OH

Sciatica is a common condition that accounts for up to 10% of cases of lower back pain. If you suffer from symptoms of sciatica, let the specialists at Vertrae® in Dayton, Ohio, determine the right treatment for you. Led by board-certified neurosurgeon Kamal Woods, MD, MBA, FAANS, the team specializes in patient-centered care using the latest technologies. To speak with Dr. Woods about your symptoms, call or book your appointment online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that occurs when you experience irritation, inflammation, or compression of your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, running from the lower back down the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. 

In most cases, sciatica is caused by a bone spur (overgrowth of bone) or a herniated disc. A herniated disc occurs when one of your vertebral discs ruptures and bulges against your nerves. 

Although anyone can experience sciatica, certain factors can increase your risks, including age, obesity, and occupations that require heavy lifting or repetitive twisting. 

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

Sciatica typically affects one side of the body. Many people experience burning pain or pain that radiates from the lower back down the back of the legs. Although sciatica is highly treatable, if left untreated it can lead to permanent nerve damage.

In severe cases, sciatica can cause loss of bladder or bowel function. 

How is sciatica diagnosed?

To diagnose your condition, Dr. Woods begins with a physical exam and review of your medical history. During the physical exam, he checks your reflexes and muscle strength. 

In addition to the physical exam, Dr. Woods may perform additional tests like:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Electromyography (EMG)

After your diagnosis, Dr. Woods works with you to determine the most effective treatment. 

What treatments are available for sciatica?

Treatment for sciatica may include:

  • Oral medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

The goal of conservative treatment is to relieve your pain and improve the physical issues contributing to your condition.

Treatments like oral medication and steroid injections can eliminate your pain, and physical therapy can improve your flexibility and strengthen the muscles that support your back. 

Do I need surgery for sciatica?

In some cases, your sciatica may require surgical treatment. Dr. Woods offers microdiscectomy, a minimally invasive procedure where he removes a portion of or your entire herniated disc. 

Dr. Woods is renowned for his use of minimally invasive techniques and uses the latest technologies to ensure the best possible outcome. 

He can address your sciatica as an outpatient procedure, using tiny incisions (less than 1 inch) that allow you to return home after your surgery with little downtime. 

To find out which sciatica treatment is right for you, call the Vertrae® office nearest you or book your appointment online today.