Sciatica

Sciatica Specialist
As the longest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve is important for everyday movement and vulnerable to damage and inflammation, which can cause a painful condition called sciatica. At her New York Medicine Doctors office located in Midtown East, New York, pain-management specialist Dr. Randa Jaafar helps patients like you recover from sciatica. Dr. Jaafar focuses on interventional techniques that address any underlying causes of sciatica, rather than simply masking its symptoms.

Sciatica Q & A

New York Medicine Doctors

What does sciatica pain feel like?

Sciatica pain can manifest as a sharp "shock" or as a dull aching or burning sensation. Its severity ranges from mild to debilitating.

Where do patients feel sciatica pain?

Even though sciatica originates from the lower back, patients feel symptoms along their entire leg (or both legs). Pain may occur anywhere the sciatic nerve runs through, from the lower buttock along the back of the leg and down to the sole of the foot. In most cases, sciatica is limited to only one side.

Is pain the only symptom of sciatica?

While pain is the major concern when dealing with sciatica, problems with the sciatic nerve can also manifest with other signs and symptoms. Patients with sciatica may feel a variety of other sensations in the leg, including:

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Abnormal reflexes

These, in turn, may lead to clumsiness and difficulty walking. Bowel and/or urinary changes, such as incontinence, may accompany more serious forms of sciatica.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is actually a symptom rather than a distinct disorder in and of itself. As such, addressing any underlying cause of sciatica is important for recovery. Sciatica may be caused by a variety of injuries and conditions, including:

  • "Slipped" (herniated) discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Direct injuries to the pelvis, including fractures
  • Tumors and cysts
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine)

Through diagnostic imaging and other tests, Dr. Jaafar may identify and treat the root cause of your sciatica pain.* Unfortunately, in many cases of sciatica, the cause can't be determined.

Additionally, the following activities may place increased pressure on the sciatic nerve, making your pain feel worse:

  • Sitting or standing
  • Coughing, laughing, and sneezing
  • Walking distances further than a few yards
  • Bending backward

How do doctors treat sciatica?

Because sciatica pain often goes away on its own, its first-line treatment is typically watchful waiting and rest. However, it's still important to see a physician to rule out other treatable conditions. During this time, Dr. Jaafar may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and analgesics to help with your pain.

In cases that don't resolve on their own, Dr. Jaafar may prescribe drugs to alleviate pain and inflammation or recommend other forms of intervention. In some serious chronic cases, surgery — such as tumor or cyst removal — may be necessary to relieve sciatica pain.

If you're experiencing sciatica pain, be sure to book a consultation online to find out how Dr. Jaafar and her team can help.

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New York Medicine Doctors
800 2nd Avenue
9th Floor, Between 42nd and 43rd Street
New York, NY 10017