Sciatica doctor near me in Everett, WA
Sciatica refers to pain felt along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body, running from the lower back (lumbar spine) through the buttock and ending just below the knee. From here, the nerve branches off into other nerves that continue into the lower leg and foot. You have a sciatic nerve in each leg; usually, only one of these is affected. This is why the symptoms of sciatica are usually felt just on one side of the body.
Sciatica pain is commonly described as sharp or jolting and usually radiates from the lower back or buttock down the leg to the calf or thigh. The pain may vary from mild to severe and can result in muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling in the lower body.
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, often as a result of a herniated disk, muscle spasm, or bone spur in the back. Common risk factors for sciatica include:
- Age: As tissue and vertebral disks wear down with age, the risk of a herniated disk or pinched nerve increases.
- Obesity: Excess body weight places extra pressure on the spine, which can lead to a strain, herniated disk, or a pinched nerve.
- Occupation: Active, physical jobs that require a lot of twisting or heavy lifting can put you at risk for low back problems, such as sciatica.
- Sitting: On the other hand, jobs requiring prolonged sitting periods, or people with an inactive lifestyle are at increased risk of sciatica.
- Diabetes: Diabetes increases your risk of nerve damage, which can lead to the development of sciatica.
Sciatica may develop over time or appear suddenly. Nearly 40% of American adults experience symptoms of sciatica at some point in their lives. In general, low back pain is one of the three most common reasons for doctor visits in the US. Most people will recover and rehab from sciatica after a few weeks of treatment. For some, symptoms may occur for over a year. If you are experiencing sharp and shooting pain in your lower back, talk to your doctor right away.
Most mild to moderate cases of sciatica can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and self-care strategies. For severe and persistent pain, more concentrated treatment may be needed. Below is a list of treatment options for sciatica. During your appointment, talk to your provider about what treatment plan is best for you.