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The sciatica nerve branches from the lower back through your hips and buttocks and down into your legs. Pain in the nerve is common and can last for months, so it is recommended that you seek treatment.

WakeMed’s neurosurgeons and neurologists work in collaboration with other physicians, nurses, neuroradiologists and rehabilitation specialists to develop a personalized treatment plan for corrective approaches to these painful and, at times, debilitating conditions.

Symptoms of Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Pain radiating from the back into the hip and outer side of the leg

  • Leg pain on the inner side of the thigh
  • Constant pain or pain that is worse when sitting
  • Weakness and/or numbness
  • Difficulty moving the leg

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica is typically caused by various spinal conditions, such as a slipped disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome and spondylolisthesis. It may also be caused by pregnancy.

Diagnosing Sciatica

Neurological exams and imaging tests, including X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, nerve conduction studies (NCS), electromyography (EMG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be taken. These tests help us visualize the internal structures in the back, including nerves, spinal cord, bones and soft tissues. You may also be given contrast dye to help the spinal canal show up better in the pictures, so alert your doctor if you’re allergic to contrast dye.

Treating Sciatica

Sciatica can be treated with medication, self-care and physical therapy.

Medications may include anti-inflammatories, narcotics, muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressants.

Self-care would require a combination of heat, cold and stretching. Heat reduces tightness and muscle spasms and cold numbs nerve pain.

We offer comprehensive physical therapy services in many convenient locations. Learn more about our rehab and physical therapy services.

Make an Appointment

We welcome new patients. If you’d like to meet with one of WakeMed’s neurological experts, please make an appointment by calling us at 919-350-7000.