Sciatica Specialist

Medical Center West

Michelle Berry, DO

Primary Care Physician located in Boerne, TX

Pain in your lower back, buttock, or the back of your leg can range from mildly annoying to extreme and debilitating. At Medical Center West in Boerne, Texas, Michelle Berry, DO, assesses your pain to determine if it’s from sciatica and can give you suggestions for how to ease your symptoms and effectively treat the condition. If you’re feeling persistent pain or numbness along your sciatic nerve, call Medical Center West or book your appointment online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that’s characterized by pain or numbness down from your lower back to the back of usually one leg. The nerve that runs along this area is called your sciatic nerve.

Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve gets pinched or compressed. Common causes are:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bone spurs on your spine
  • Narrowing of your spine (spinal stenosis)
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle spasms

The pain from sciatica can be severe or even debilitating, but it usually goes away by itself with some home care. It usually only affects one side of your body at a time.

What does sciatica feel like?

Sciatica is more than just a general pain: It can come with many symptoms and vary in severity. Your sciatica might feel like:

  • Mild aching
  • Sharp pain
  • A burning sensation
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

You might even experience conflicting symptoms at the same time: Excruciating pain in your buttock with numbness in your calf, for example, isn’t uncommon. Your symptoms may flare up or change when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or sit for a long period of time.

When should I see a doctor for sciatica?

Generally, sciatica tends to subside in about a week after you first notice your symptoms. Some cases of sciatica are more severe and require medical attention to alleviate their pain. You should call or visit Medical Center West if:

  • Your symptoms last longer than a week
  • Your pain is getting worse, not better
  • You can’t control your bladder or bowels because of it
  • The symptoms came after a violent accident or injury
  • Your pain comes on suddenly and severely

If your sciatica causes extreme leg weakness or if you can’t control your bladder, you might qualify for surgical treatment for your sciatica.

Dr. Berry may give you prescription anti-inflammatory medications steroid injections or recommend physical therapy to ease your flare-up.

Am I at risk for sciatica?

Sciatica is difficult to predict, but there are a few risk factors Medical Center West recommends that you watch out for. You may be at a higher risk for sciatica if you:

  • Are obese
  • Have diabetes
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Have a job that requires physical labor
  • Are experiencing changes in your spine with age

To reduce your chances, you should get plenty of exercise and maintain good posture while sitting or standing.

If you have pain in your lower extremities, sciatica may be to blame. To learn more about sciatica, call or book an appointment online at Medical Center West today.