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Sciatica Specialist

Board Certified Neurosurgeon in Midtown Neighborhood, Little Rock, AR

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Sciatica services offered in Little Rock, AR

Sciatica is not a condition but a signal that your sciatic nerve is irritated and inflamed. Ali Raja, MD, FAANS, FACS, at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who can accurately diagnose what’s irritating your nerve and provide state-of-the-art treatment that resolves your symptoms. Dr. Raja is a skilled surgeon who uses the most advanced treatments and surgical approaches available to address painful spinal issues. Whenever possible, however, he prefers a conservative approach that resolves your pain without surgery. Schedule your evaluation today by calling the office or booking your visit online. 

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Although most people think of sciatica as a condition unto itself, it’s actually an indication that something has gone amiss in the lower region of your back. This is where the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, exits the spine and branches into the hips, buttocks, and down the backs of both legs.

Symptoms of sciatica usually involve only one side of your body and may include:

  • Pain that travels from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the back of the leg
  • Moderate to severe pain that worsens with prolonged sitting
  • Discomfort that remains localized to the upper buttock or hip region
  • Numbness and tingling in the affected buttock, thigh, or calf
  • Sharp and shooting pains down the backs of the legs that may come and go
  • Muscle weakness in the leg or foot that may affect your gait and coordination
  • Changes in bowel or bladder function

Sometimes sciatica symptoms can range from significant pain in one part of your leg that changes to numbness or tingling discomfort in another area.  

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is essentially a pinched nerve that may be related to:

  • Stenosis or narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal
  • Herniated disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone spur formation
  • Degenerative disc disease

An injury such as a pelvic fracture or, more rarely, a spinal tumor can also cause sciatica.  

How do you treat sciatica?

Successful treatment for persistent, frequent, or moderate to severe sciatica requires an accurate diagnosis of what’s causing the nerve irritation.

Dr. Raja may request imaging studies such as an MRI or CT scan. He may also recommend electromyography (EMG) to measure electrical impulses produced by your nerves. This test helps confirm nerve compression caused by disc disease or spinal stenosis.  

Fortunately, most episodes of sciatica respond well to conservative treatment such as physical therapy, oral medications to relieve pain, or corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.

Dr. Raja can also advise you regarding habits that may prevent future episodes of sciatica, such as:

  • Back-friendly exercise and activities
  • Appropriate lifting techniques
  • Weight loss as necessary to relieve strain on the back
  • Maintaining proper posture
  • Managing conditions that can affect nerve health, such as diabetes  

When your pain is severe or worsens rather than improves, surgery may be necessary to repair/remove damaged discs, address spinal stenosis, or otherwise relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve. 

This is especially true if you’re experiencing muscle weakness, bowel or bladder dysfunction, or other concerning signs of nerve damage.

For relief from sciatica, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Raja today by calling Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas or booking an appointment online.