What Happens If Sciatica Pain is Left Untreated?

sciatica untreated

It’s easy to recognize sciatica because of its sharp, radiating pain that shoots from your lower back down your leg. That’s because the word “sciatica” describes the symptoms affecting your sciatic nerve, the longest and widest nerve in your body. This nerve begins in your lower back, penetrates deep inside your buttocks, and runs down your legs before ending in your foot. Your sciatic nerve controls several of the muscles in your lower legs and provides sensation to your lower leg and foot.

When you develop sciatica, your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, which triggers your sciatica symptoms. In some cases, mild forms of sciatica go away with time. But when they persist or are left untreated, you run the risk of having long-term complications.

As experienced pain management specialists in Mishawaka, Indiana, Dr. Ajit Pai and our team at Pain Management Group LLC bring the most comprehensive and innovative sciatica treatments available to relieve your pain and reduce your chances of permanent damage.

Understanding sciatica

Sciatica affects up to 40% of American men and women. It develops when your sciatic nerve becomes compressed or pinched. Two of the most common causes of sciatica are excess bone growth in your vertebrae — also known as bone spurs — and herniated discs. When you have a herniated disc, the soft, jelly-like filling in your disc bulges out of shape and pushes against nerves in the area.

Additional causes of sciatica include:

When your sciatic nerve becomes compressed, it constricts the nerve, causing inflammation and sciatica symptoms. Sciatica symptoms usually include pain that radiates from one side of your lower back into your buttock and follows your sciatic nerve down your leg. It can range from a dull throb to sharp and excruciating pain. It’s also common for sciatica to feel like electrical shocks or jolts, and they usually become worse if you sneeze, cough, or sit for extended periods of time.

In addition to pain, sciatica symptoms can also include tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in your leg.

The risks associated with not seeking treatment

Without treatment, sciatica can lead to additional complications.

Increased pain

Sciatica pain often grows worse with time, making it more challenging to find effective pain management solutions.

Nerve damage

Over time, you can experience long-term nerve damage that results in chronic tingling, numbness and weakness, loss of sensation, or pain in the affected leg.

Bladder issues

Sciatica can compromise the health of your spine, which is directly linked to your bladder and bowel control. When this occurs, you can develop incontinence.

Fortunately, Dr. Pai and our team offer several treatment solutions that can help relieve your sciatica pain and reduce your risks of long-term complications. These might include transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TESI) that deliver numbing agents directly to the source of your inflammation. Other treatments for sciatica often involve prescription medications, physical therapy, and specialized stretches. For severe sciatica symptoms, we might recommend surgery to relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Don’t wait until your sciatica symptoms become severe; find relief today by calling us at Pain Management Group LLC, or scheduling an appointment online.

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