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When to Seek Treatment for Sciatica

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with shooting pain down one hip, or if you experience pain, tingling or numbness in your leg with no explanation, you may be one of the millions of Americans affected by sciatica. While sciatica is not a diagnosis in and of itself, it can be a symptom of an underlying cause, such as spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Dr. Paul Brisson, Manhattan’s premier orthopaedic surgeon, can help find the cause of your sciatica and provide effective treatment so you can get past the pain and get on with your life.


Sciatica can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Characteristics of sciatica include constant, shooting pain that is only in one leg or on one side of the buttocks, which gets worse when sitting. The leg pain sometimes presents itself as tingling and numbness, and radiates down the affected leg into the foot and toes. This pain and tingling is caused by the sciatic nerve, which runs down the leg from the lower back, through the buttock, When you have an underlying spinal issue, the sciatic nerve can become irritated or compressed, causing the symptoms of sciatica. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are prone to sciatica, as are overweight or obese individuals; however, sciatica can affect anyone at a given time, and be an indicator of more severe spine problems including a herniated or compressed disc, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, lumbar spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease.


When sciatica strikes, some at-home treatments such as alternating ice and heat at 20-minute intervals can help sufferers find relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Motrin can also help alleviate the sciatic pain. However, if pain persists, you should schedule a visit with an orthopaedic specialist. Your orthopaedist can properly examine your spine and help find the root cause of your sciatica. While spinal surgery may be recommended to treat lumbar disc herniation or spinal stenosis, other non-surgical methods of treatment, including physical therapy, may be administered first. If you do opt for spinal surgery, keep in mind that approximately 90% of orthopaedic surgery patients report total sciatic pain relief following their procedure.

If your sciatica has gotten to the point where your sleep, normal daily activities, and overall quality of life has been adversely affected and at-home treatments are ineffective, it may be time to seek professional treatment. For residents of Manhattan and surrounding areas, Dr. Paul Brisson is the preferred choice for orthopaedic surgery and treatment. Dr. Brisson has years of experience in accurately and effectively diagnosing and treating a variety of back problems which cause sciatica, and will help you get to the root of your sciatic pain so you can get your life back on track. For your initial consultation appointment, call Dr. Paul Brisson’s office at 212-813-3632 today, and get ready to say goodbye to sciatica!

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