The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back to the tips of your toes. This nerve enables movement and feeling from your spinal cord to your thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes. Our sciatic nerve overview below delves deeper into why your body’s longest and largest nerve is important, and what happens if it’s injured.
Measuring three-quarters of an inch in diameter, the sciatic nerve controls the muscles behind the knee and lower leg. It also furnishes the sensations felt in the back of your thigh, down the lower leg, and to the soles of your feet.
If the sciatic nerve is injured or compressed, symptoms such as a radiating dull to sharp pain and numbness or weakness will manifest from the lower back and down one side of the body, from the buttock to the leg to the foot. This pain is referred to as sciatica and is typically caused by a herniated disc pressing on the root of the nerve. You can educate yourself further on the causes and effects of an injured sciatic nerve by visiting both the sciatica causesand sciatica symptoms pages.
Although sciatica can be very uncomfortable, and possibly temporarily interfere with your daily activities, it is rare that the sciatic nerve is damaged permanently. Typically, the symptoms of sciatica can be treated at home with hot and cold packs, non-prescription medicine like acetaminophen, and rest.
If you have dull or sharp pain in your lower leg or back, contact your doctor. He or she can make the proper diagnosis with a physical exam, X-rays or an MRI, and then recommend sciatica treatment options.
However, there may be situations when patients need more relief than the prescribed standard treatments provide. Laser Spine Institute offers the option of minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures to treat sciatica – procedures that provide a quicker recuperation time than other treatments like open-back surgery. For a free CT scan or MRI review, and to learn more information about our surgical centers, contact us today.