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Definition of Spinal Stenosis and Sciatica
Cervical Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck area or upper part of the spine, and Lumbar Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower part of the spine, sometimes caused by bulging discs. Sciatica is back and/or leg pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, one of the largest nerves in the body. It starts at the lower back and runs down behind the hip joint, through the buttocks, and along the back of each leg to the foot.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis and Sciatica
Sciatic pain can range from mild to severe. It often gets worse when sitting, coughing, or sneezing. Sciatica differs from other back pain in that it usually occurs on only one side of the body, starting at the lower back and running down one leg to the foot.
Sciatica and Treatment
Non-Operative Treatment for Sciatica
Sciatica often heals on its own, although this may take a few weeks. During an episode of sciatica, there are a number of treatments available to help with the pain, such as:
- Bed rest
- Hot/cold therapy
- Physical therapy
- Pain medications
- Epidural injections
- Herbal medicine
Surgical Treatment for Sciatica
Rarely do people with sciatica require surgery. However, if the pain does not improve in four to six weeks, additional tests may be needed to identify the cause of the pressure on the sciatic nerve. If the cause is found to be from a herniated disc, a spine surgeon may need to surgically remove part or all of that disc.