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If you have lower back pain or pain in your leg, you may be suffering from sciatica. The pain you feel can limit your ability to sit, rise, stand or walk normally. If sciatic nerve pain occurs, you should visit your doctor right away to see if you have a pinched sciatic nerve. Your doctor can diagnose your condition and get you started on the best pinched sciatic nerve treatment for you.

What is the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. You have two of them – one on the right side of your body and one on the left. The sciatic nerve arises from spinal nerves or nerve roots in your low back and then courses down each leg. Its job is to carry messages to and from your brain to your thigh, leg and foot.

Sometimes, structures in your spine may compress the nerve roots that ultimately form the sciatic nerve. Common causes of a pinched spinal nerve that produce a pattern of pain down the leg (called sciatica) include:

  • Lumbar arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal tumor
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Lumbar spondylolisthesis

If you have any of these conditions and are experiencing back or leg symptoms, you should visit your doctor right away to get started on treatment. Understanding your symptoms and how they affect you is the first step to getting an accurate diagnosis for sciatica.

Symptoms of a Pinched Sciatic Nerve

If you have sciatica, you may experience many different symptoms. Symptoms of sciatica may include:

  • Pain in one side of your back
  • Pain in the back of one buttock, thigh or leg
  • Numbness and tingling in the back of your leg or ankle
  • Weakness in your lower leg and ankle

You may have only one of these symptoms or many different symptoms that change from day to day. Your symptoms may be worse with sitting or rising from sitting and better when you move around. Or, they may worsen when walking and get better when you are resting. The key to proper sciatica treatment is to understand your symptoms and how they affect you and to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica treatment typically begins with conservative measures. Some patients benefit from physical therapy or chiropractic care. Research indicates that some people can benefit from postural changes or exercises to help take pressure off the sciatic nerve.

Spinal injections are sometimes prescribed as part of the regimen for pinched sciatic nerve treatment. Steroids are used to help decrease your pain and manage the inflammation and swelling that may be around your sciatic nerve.

The goal of conservative treatment is to try to relieve your pain by freeing your pinched sciatic nerve. If your symptoms are severe or if they fail to subside with conservative therapies, you may benefit from a visit with a NJ neurosurgeon to consider a surgical option for your condition.

Surgery for Sciatica

There are a few different surgical options for pinched sciatic nerve treatment. The goal of surgery is to decompress the root spinal nerves that can affect sciatica. This can help relieve your pain and improve your mobility.

There are two different approaches when it comes to surgery for a pinched nerve. The standard open approach involves a large incision and dissection of your lumbar spinal muscles. Then, your doctor uses traditional surgical tools to cut away any material that is pinching your sciatic nerve.

On the other hand, many patients are turning to minimally invasive spine surgery for pinched sciatic nerve treatment. This type of surgery involves a tiny incision, and small portals are made in your back muscles, sparing them from major dissection. Specialized instruments are used to see your sciatic nerve and to remove any bony or disc material that may be compressing it.

The main benefits of minimally invasive surgery for a pinched sciatic nerve are that patients typically experience less surgical pain and enjoy a rapid recovery. The smaller incision used in the minimally invasive approach means there may be less risk of infection and blood loss. Work closely with your neurosurgeon to understand which procedure and approach is best for your specific condition.

Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy

Minimally invasive microdiscectomy is used to when a herniated disc is pressing against your sciatic nerve. During this procedure, your neurosurgeon will make a small incision in your back and use surgical tools to remove any disc material that is compressing your sciatic nerve.

He or she may cut away a small portion of bone that may be pinching your nerve as well. After the surgery, most patients go home that same day to begin their recovery, and many patients return to normal activity within weeks of the surgery.

Minimally Invasive Fusion

If spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease is causing your symptoms, your doctor may choose to perform a minimally invasive spinal fusion. During this procedure, your neurosurgeon will decompress your sciatic nerve, and then a small amount of bone graft will be placed between your spinal bones. Small rods will be affixed to your bones to stabilize your spine and prevent excessive motion there. After the surgery, you can expect to recover fully over the course of one or two months.

Minimally Invasive Spinal Tumor Surgery

Sometimes, a spinal tumor causes compression on your sciatic nerve, sending pain or tingling down your leg. Minimally invasive spinal tumor surgery is performed to remove this tumor. A small incision is made and specialized surgical tools are used to remove the tumor. Most patients are able to go home the same day of surgery, and many enjoy a full recovery within weeks of the procedure.

Find the Best Neurosurgeon for Pinched Sciatic Nerve Treatment

When considering surgery for pinched sciatic nerve treatment, you should take time to find a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon to perform the procedure. So, what are the qualities of a top neurosurgeon?

First, your neurosurgeon should perform innovative procedures like minimally invasive spine surgery. This maximizes your chances of a rapid and positive outcome from surgery and shows that your doctor is on the cutting edge of innovative spine surgery.

Your doctor should also be engaged in research and educational pursuits in the neurosurgical profession and should also be considered a leader in spine surgery.

Most importantly, your neurosurgeon should treat you with respect and kindness, explaining your surgery to you and offering you alternatives to treatment, if there are any. He or she should take time to answer your questions and should make you feel at ease about your pending surgery. His staff should also be comprised of compassionate and professional healthcare workers who understand how your sciatica affects every aspect of your life.

Successful pinched sciatic nerve treatment requires understanding of how your symptoms behave and a careful diagnosis to figure out what is causing your symptoms. Finding a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon who performs minimally invasive spine surgery can help you enjoy a rapid recovery and maximize your overall outcome. That way, you can focus on getting back to your normal work and recreational activity with no back or leg pain.
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