Neurosurgery located in Midtown, Ventura, CA
If you have pain in your lower back that radiates down one or both of your legs, you could have sciatica. At Ventura Neurosurgery, in Ventura, California, David Westra, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon, and Michael Dorsi, MD diagnose sciatica and provide customized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms and heal your spine. Call Ventura Neurosurgery today, or schedule a consultation online, if you’re concerned about sciatica.
What is sciatica?
While many patients use the term sciatica as a synonym for low back pain, it’s actually a group of neurological symptoms caused by sciatic nerve compression. In addition to low back pain, sciatica can also include:
- Pain in your buttocks, hips, or thighs
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced balance
Sciatica symptoms often affect one side of your body, but depending on the location of the nerve compression, you could have pain and other symptoms on both sides of your body.
Additionally, your symptoms might become more intense when you sit, bend, or twist your spine. You might find that walking or a heat pack on your lower back relieves your symptoms.
What causes sciatica?
Any injury, inflammation, or abnormality that compresses your sciatic nerve can cause sciatica. Your sciatic nerve begins in your lower back, extending down toward your buttocks where it separates and continues down both of your legs.
A herniated disc in your lumbar spine is one of the most prevalent causes of sciatica. Other conditions that can cause sciatica include:
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fractures
Your risk of sciatica is higher if you’re overweight. Additionally, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or if you have a physically demanding career that requires you to move heavy objects, you have increased chances of developing sciatica.
How is sciatica diagnosed?
The team at Ventura Neurosurgery provides thorough exams and testing to confirm that you have sciatica and locate the nerve compression causing your symptoms. For example, during an exam, your neurosurgeon might ask you to bend, stretch, lift your legs, or perform other movements that provide information about your condition.
They also order imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to examine the internal structures of your back in more detail. Your neurosurgeon also uses electromyography, a nerve function test, to confirm your diagnosis.
How is sciatica treated?
The team at Ventura Neurosurgery provides customized treatment to heal the condition causing your sciatic nerve compression as well as your sciatica symptoms. Whenever possible, they use non-surgical interventions such as spinal injections and physical therapy.
However, in severe cases or if conservative treatments don’t relieve your pain, the team offers spinal surgery. Depending on your needs, they might recommend discectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion to repair your spine and relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Whenever possible, the team uses minimally invasive procedures that result in less trauma and a quicker recovery.
If you have sciatica symptoms and are looking for expert diagnosis and treatment, call Ventura Neurosurgery, or make an appointment online today.