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Sciatica Specialist

Spine, Sport & Physical Medicine Center

Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine located in Sarasota, FL

If you have pain that starts in your lower back and travels down the back of your leg, you may have sciatica. Dr. Carlos Diaz is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who is the director at Spine, Sport & Physical Medicine Center in Sarasota, Florida. He has extensive experience in treating sciatica and the underlying conditions that cause this painful condition. Call today for an appointment or book you visit online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is not a condition, but a term used to describe symptoms that signal irritation of your sciatic nerve. It’s the largest single nerve in your body and runs from each side of your lower spine through the buttock area and down the back of each thigh to your feet.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Also known as lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica usually occurs in only one leg but does sometimes happen in both and may include:

  • Pain that starts in the low back or buttock area and travels (radiates) down the back of the thigh and your lower leg and foot
  • Sharp rather than throbbing or aching pain that’s often described as burning, searing, sharp, or electric-like
  • Pain that’s typically worse when you’re standing or sitting still and decreases when you’re lying down or walking

It can also cause numbness, a tingling sensation, and weakness that starts in your lower back and radiates down to your buttocks, hips, and legs. The pain can come and go or may remain constant over time and can occur at any point along the sciatic nerve, so you might experience symptoms in your hip area but not your lower leg.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated. This is typically caused by degenerative changes in the spine due to the natural aging process, such as a herniated disc or bone spur.

Other potential causes of sciatica include:

  • Excess weight that causes strain on the spine
  • A job that requires you to twist your back frequently, carry heavy loads, or spend long hours driving
  • A sedentary lifestyle or job that includes prolonged sitting
  • Diabetes, which can cause nerve damage

What is the treatment for sciatica?

Dr. Diaz first performs a detailed exam, which may include X-rays to help determine what is causing your symptoms. He is also likely to check your muscle strength and reflexes, which may include asking you to:

  • Walk on your toes or heels
  • Rise from a squatting position
  • Lift your legs one at a time while lying on your back

Once he’s determined the cause of your symptoms, Dr. Diaz’s treatment recommendations may include physical therapy, spinal manipulation, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and other treatments to relieve your pain and resolve your sciatica symptoms.