When Surgery Is the Best Solution for Sciatica

Your sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body, originates in your lower back. The nerves branch out from your spine, coming together at your buttocks and running down your legs. If something puts pressure on that nerve, it can leave you suffering from intense, radiating pain in these areas, a condition called sciatica. You may experience other symptoms with sciatica, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and altered reflexes. Your symptoms may get worse when you bend, twist, stand, sit, cough, or sneeze.

When you’ve exhausted all of the noninvasive options without finding relief from your sciatica pain, surgery might be the next step. At Failed Back Institute in Weatherford, Texas, we have the expert knowledge of sciatic nerve pain you need as you decide on surgical treatment options.

Pain from pinching

Your sciatic nerve becomes irritated when it’s compressed, pinched, or otherwise trapped. Some causes of sciatic nerve compression include:

  • A herniated, slipped, or ruptured disc in your spine
  • Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the canal that houses your spinal nerves
  • Inflammation of nearby anatomy due to bone or muscle injuries or diseases

When should I think about surgery?

If you’re suffering from sciatica, it’s typically a good idea to look to nonsurgical, less invasive measures first. If noninvasive treatments like applied cold and heat, pain medication, muscle relaxants, and physical therapy don’t address your sciatica pain, you may decide to pursue surgical treatment. With spinal decompression surgeries, we remove the pressure causing your sciatica symptoms.

You should consider surgery if your sciatica is persistent, disabling, or progressive, or if it hasn’t responded to other treatments. If you have cauda equina syndrome, with symptoms including incontinence and severe numbness in the buttocks, look into surgical options right away. We may also recommend surgical treatment if you have leg pain or weakness persisting for more than eight weeks.

Surgical treatment options

After taking your medical history and performing a physical examination, we can confirm your lumbar nerve root compression and explore your treatment options. Depending on the nature of the compression you’re dealing with, we may recommend procedures including:

  • Laminectomy
  • Laminoplasty
  • Laminotomy
  • Microdiscectomy

More than 90% of patients who have surgery to relieve sciatica experience satisfactory results.

The risks associated with surgeries for sciatica are similar to those posed by other surgeries, and include the potential for nerve or spinal cord damage, bleeding, and infection. Additionally, it’s important to note that while the cause of sciatica can be eliminated, and your leg-related symptoms like pain and weakness alleviated, surgical intervention may not improve back pain associated with sciatica.

If you’re suffering from sciatica and are interested in surgical treatment options, Failed Back Institute offers advice and support for every step of the process. With extensive expertise in spinal surgeries, Dr. Scott Smith provides personalized treatment plans for sciatic nerve pain relief. To schedule a consultation, call or request an appointment online.

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