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offered in Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix, AZ


If you regularly have shooting pain down your leg, it could be sciatica. Damage in the sciatic nerve — the longest nerve in your body — can be excruciatingly painful, so it’s essential to seek help from Nikesh Seth, MD, and the pain management experts at Integrated Pain Consultants. At their locations in Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix, Arizona, the team delivers compassionate integrative pain management to help stop those shooting pains. Call either office or book a visit online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica means inflammation within your sciatic nerve. This nerve starts around your hips, then branches and travels through each buttock and down each leg. 

Nerve inflammation is often quite painful, which also holds true with sciatica. Fortunately, with effective diagnosis and pain management, sciatica is very treatable. 

What are the signs of sciatica?

Pain is the main sign of sciatica and can occur anywhere from your hips to your heel. Other common symptoms include:

  • Sharp sporadic pain that moves from your lower back down one leg (radiating pain)
  • Dull, consistent pain
  • Numbness in your leg or foot
  • Weakness in your leg or foot
  • Tingling in your leg or foot

Combination symptoms can occur, too. For example, you may simultaneously have severe pain in your lower back and numbness in your lower leg. 

What causes sciatica?

Sciatic nerve inflammation can happen in many ways, including traumatic and degenerative damage or compression. Common causes include:

  • Pelvic fracture
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Slipped lumbar disc
  • Bone spurs in the lumbar spine
  • Tumors in the lumbar spine
  • Direct sciatic nerve injury in an accident

Being overweight, pregnant, or sitting for long periods can all increase your risk of developing sciatica. 

How do you diagnose sciatica?

Sciatica is technically a symptom rather than a condition, which means your provider looks for the underlying problem to make a diagnosis. They ask questions to get the background on your symptoms and review your medical history. 

Your provider performs a physical exam, carefully observing your spine at rest and in motion. To fully understand the origin and extent of the nerve inflammation, they may request imaging tests like an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Using this information, they determine the best way to resolve the pain at its starting place.

How do you treat sciatica?

The team offers a variety of pain management options for sciatica. They can manage your medication and help you make changes to reduce opioid use. 

Often, epidural corticosteroid injections offer significant relief for sciatica pain because they decrease inflammation in the nerve itself. Epidural corticosteroid injections can last up to several months, and you can have a total of three injections each year. 

If you get good results from injections but need pain relief more frequently, your provider may recommend a type of neuromodulation called a spinal cord stimulator. This small electrical device is implanted in your lower back, interrupting sciatic nerve pain signals to stop your pain.

Book your appointment at Integrated Pain Consultants by calling the office nearest you or using the online scheduling tool today.