Sciatica is a common pain condition that’s sometimes described as an electric shock-like sensation that travels down one leg. Though your sciatica may resolve on its own with at-home care, depending on the underlying cause, it may turn into a chronic pain problem. At Greater Michigan Spine & Neurosurgery in Battle Creek, Michigan, spine surgeon Timothy Spencer, DO, offers minimally invasive interventions for sciatica to relieve pain, improve your quality of life, and get you back to your normal activities as soon as possible. For relief from your sciatica, contact your nearest office by phone today.

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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a pain condition caused by pinching or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve is a finger-thick nerve that travels from your lower back and into your buttocks and legs on both sides of your body. 

Any irritation, pinching, or injury of the nerve results in sciatica. 

What causes sciatica?

You may develop sciatica from one of many causes. Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal, is the most common cause. You can also develop the pain condition from a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis, which occurs when your vertebrae slip over one another. 

Though anyone can develop sciatica, you may be at greater risk if:

  • Your occupation requires heavy lifting or driving for long periods of time
  • You’re obese
  • You have a history of diabetes or osteoarthritis
  • You’re a smoker
  • Your core abdominal muscles are weak

You may also be at a higher risk of developing sciatica if you live a sedentary lifestyle. 

When should I seek medical attention for my sciatica?

Sciatica generally resolves on its own over time, and at-home care is usually adequate if your symptoms are mild. However, if your sciatica symptoms are severe, worsening, or chronic, you should contact Greater Michigan Spine & Neurosurgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Spencer.

He performs a comprehensive evaluation to identify the underlying cause of your sciatica and develops a targeted treatment plan that alleviates your symptoms and prevents a recurrence. 

How is sciatica treated?

The goal of your sciatica treatment plan is to improve your quality of life and help you get back to your usual active lifestyle as quickly as possible, including your work. The details of your treatment plan depend on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. 

Although he’s a skilled spine surgeon, Dr. Spencer may initially take a nonsurgical approach that includes pain management, physical therapy, and a home exercise program. If conservative measures fail to alleviate your sciatica, Dr. Spencer offers minimally invasive interventions to get you the relief you need. 

His minimally invasive surgical approach may include laser spine surgery or use of a robotic surgical system. These tools allow you to leave the hospital the same day as your surgery, or sometimes the next day, and they also allow for a shorter recovery time. 

For comprehensive care of your sciatica, call Greater Michigan Spine & Neurosurgery.