Sciatica services offered in St. George, UT

Radiating electrical pain in your lower back and extending through your buttocks and legs is a sign of sciatica. At Alturas Pain and Spine Specialists in St. George, UT, Stacie Oliver, MD, examines you and tests what causes your sciatic nerve compression. She treats the condition with epidural spinal injections. To schedule your evaluation and treatment consultation, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a symptom, not a condition itself. It’s the compression of the sciatic nerve which causes distinct sensations. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and extends from the lumbar spine, through the lower back and buttock, and down the back of your leg.

The symptoms of sciatica tend to radiate down the length of the nerve on just one side at a time. They include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Sharp jolts of pain

Many people who have experienced sciatica describe the sensation as electrical or shocking. The sensation may be triggered by changes in your posture or position, like when you bend forward or twist your spine. The more specific you are while describing your symptoms, the more accurately Dr. Oliver can diagnose you.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica can come from any condition that tends to cause nerve compression in the spine. A few of the most common conditions causing sciatica are:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Tumors

When conditions like these cause pressure on the sciatic nerve’s root, the symptoms affect the whole nerve from the root downward. To identify the cause of your sciatica, Dr. Oliver performs a physical exam and might use testing strategies like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, or nerve conduction studies to gather more information on your pain.

How is sciatica treated?

Treating sciatica starts with a comprehensive evaluation. Once Dr. Oliver has completed any imaging tests or studies, she develops your treatment plan for sciatica while considering the condition’s severity and your personal preferences.

One of the treatments Dr. Oliver uses most for sciatica at Alturas Pain and Spine Specialists is epidural injections. Using live x-ray guidance, a small amount of steroid (cortisone) and local anesthetic is placed into your epidural space, which is a space just outside the spinal canal. The steroids help reduce inflammation of nerves and discs which can reduce your pain. This might help you postpone surgery or avoid it altogether. The results vary, but relief may last a few weeks to over a year. Dr. Oliver might also supplement your treatment with physical therapy, activity modification, and medications.

If you’re interested in learning more about sciatica and how to manage it, call Alturas Pain and Spine Specialists, or book an appointment online today.

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