Sciatica

Shyam Purswani, MD

Interventional Pain Management located in San Antonio, TX

It’s estimated that 40% of adults will experience the excruciating pain of sciatica at some point in their lifetime. Many of them discover that conventional medicine doesn’t offer effective, long-term relief. Shyam Purswani, MD, can help with interventional pain treatments that target the source of the problem, the sciatic nerve, and stop the pain. To learn more about your treatment options, call the office in San Antonio, Texas, or book an appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain and other symptoms that occur along the length of your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body, travels from each side of your lower spine, passes through the buttocks, then down your legs and into your feet. Along the way, the nerve branches out to serve different areas of your legs and feet.

What symptoms develop due to sciatica?

Sciatica usually affects one side of your body, causing pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your leg. The intensity of your pain may vary, but sciatica is known for causing severe, sharp, electric-like pain.

The pain from sciatica is worse when you’re standing or sitting still, then improves when you lay down or walk. You may also develop muscle weakness, tingling, or numbness.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when the nerve is compressed at the spine. Although it’s not common, the nerve may be pinched by a muscle spasm in the buttocks, a condition called piriformis syndrome.

Health conditions that cause sciatica include:

  • Herniated disc (the most common cause of sciatica)
  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis (spinal canal narrows)
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped disc)

You have a higher risk of sciatica as you get older. This is partly because of age-related degeneration, and also due to the cumulative effect of pressure on your lower back over the years.

How does interventional pain medicine relieve my symptoms?

When the sciatic nerve is compressed, it sends a wave of nerve impulses to your brain, flooding it with sensory messages about its condition. You don’t feel the pain until your brain receives and interprets those nerve messages.

Interventional pain medicine offers customized treatments that stop your pain using two primary actions. Some of the treatments directly block nerve impulses. Since the messages don’t reach your brain, you won’t feel the pain.

Interventional treatments that interfere with nerve signals include injections of anesthetics, spinal cord stimulation (neuromodulation), and radiofrequency ablation.

When the sciatic nerve is pinched, it becomes inflamed, which contributes to lower back pain. Dr. Purswani can inject steroids to significantly eliminate inflammation. He may also combine an anesthetic and steroids in the same injection.

Sciatica pain can be debilitating, and many patients can’t get effective relief from traditional treatments. Interventional pain techniques can help; call Shyam Purswani, MD, or schedule an appointment online.