What is Sciatica?

This condition arises from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that runs from the lower back down each leg. Sciatica is commonly caused by disc herniation or disc slippages, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), or abnormal spinal motion or instability. Sciatica symptoms can vary, but they often manifest as discomfort, tingling, or pain along the sciatic nerve from the lower back and down each leg.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Common indicators of sciatica include:

  • Persistent pain in the lower back or buttocks.
  • Radiating pain down the leg.
  • Tingling or numbness in the leg or foot.
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot.
  • Worsening of symptoms while sitting or standing for extended periods.
  • Shooting pain that makes walking challenging.
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What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is usually caused by underlying conditions or activities which affect the lumbar spine (lower back). Common indicators of sciatica include:

  • Herniated Discs: When the soft inner part of a spinal disc protrudes, it can compress the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica symptoms.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal puts pressure on the nerve roots, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when a vertebra slips out of place, potentially compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: The sciatic nerve can be irritated as it passes through the piriformis muscle in the buttocks.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Wear and tear on the spinal discs can contribute to sciatica by reducing the disc's ability to absorb shock.
  • Tumors: Rarely, tumors along the spine may compress the sciatic nerve, causing symptoms.
  • Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture over time can strain the spine, potentially contributing to sciatica.
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Why Choose Virginia Neurosurgeons or Sciatica Care?

At Virginia Neurosurgeons, our board-certified neurosurgeons have extensive training in the diagnosis and surgical management of spinal conditions.   What sets Virginia Neurosurgeons apart from other spinal surgeons is our comprehensive training as neurosurgeons. We approach each case by integrating the patient's symptoms, imaging findings and diagnostics, and detailed neurologic assessment to diagnose the patient and formulate a personalized treatment plan. We pride ourselves on ethical and honest practices, serving as trusted advocates and partners for our patients' medical care. Our commitment to open communication ensures that patients fully understand their conditions and treatment options, even if they are not surgical candidates. Our surgical interventions aim to provide clinically meaningful benefits, including pain reduction and preservation and restoration of neurological function, improving the quality of life for our patients.

How Is a Disc Herniation Diagnosed?

At Virginia Neurosurgeons, our board-certified neurosurgeons adopt a comprehensive approach to understanding the specific factors contributing to your condition. By combining state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, Virginia Neurosurgeons ensures a precise understanding of the radiculopathy condition, enabling the development of personalized and effective treatment strategies for each patient. Our expert team follows a meticulous process to procure evidence of exactly what is occurring:

  1. Medical History: Our surgeons will review your symptoms and medical history to help you understand and identify sources of pain and neurologic symptoms. 
  2. Physical Examination: Conducting a detailed physical examination allows our neurosurgeons to assess reflexes, muscle strength, and sensory function, aiding in pinpointing affected nerve pathways.
  3. Imaging Studies: Advanced imaging techniques, such as MRI or CT scans, are employed to visualize the spine and identify structural abnormalities, including herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
  4. Electrodiagnostic Tests: Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG) help evaluate the electrical activity of muscles and nerves, aiding in the localization of nerve compression.
  5. Diagnostic Injections: Targeted injections, such as epidural steroid injections, can help confirm the source of pain and further guide the treatment plan.


Once our surgeons have diagnosed sciatica and identified the underlying case, they will review non-surgical and surgical treatment options with you to create a management plan specific to your case. Treatments for sciatica include:

Non-Invasive Interventions:

  • Medications for pain management and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility.
  • Activity modification to reduce strain on the spine.
  • Acupuncture or dry needling.
  • Chiropractic care.

Minimally Invasive Procedures:

  • Epidural steroid injections to alleviate pain in the nerves and spinal joints.
  • Radiofrequency ablation (specialized heat treatment) to disrupt nerve signals causing pain.

Surgical Interventions:

  • Discectomy (disc surgery) to remove disc material pressing on nerves.
  • Spinal fusion to stabilize the spine and reduce pain.
  • Artificial disc replacement to maintain spinal motion.
  • Laminectomy to relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Programs:

  • Customized exercise regimens for ongoing strength and flexibility.
  • Lifestyle modifications for long-term spine health.
  • Patient education to promote self-management and prevent future issues.
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Schedule Your Consultation with Virginia Neurosurgeons Today

Experience relief from sciatica–schedule a consultation with Virginia Neurosurgeons today. Our expert team offers personalized care and effective interventions tailored to your needs. Take the first step toward improved spinal health and enhanced well-being.

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