Sciatica is pain that begins in the lower back and radiates down one or both legs. The source of discomfort is an inflamed or damaged sciatic nerve in the lower back. One treatment for sciatica is surgery, but most patients would like to avoid that procedure if possible. Spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City is equipped to help patients decide if surgery is necessary or whether there are other treatments that might be sufficient instead.
Quality of life
The primary consideration for treatment is identifying the extent that sciatica is affecting your daily life. Is the pain mild or severe? Does it go all the way down your back and legs to your feet? Is the pain constant or intermittent? What activities make your condition worse? Is sciatica affecting your ability to enjoy hobbies, relationships, work or more? If the answers to these questions indicate that you are not able to live your life as fully as before, treatment is warranted. Also, you want to avoid permanent nerve damage by waiting too long to get help from a qualified specialist like Dr. Fischer.
The most effective sciatica treatment typically relates to the root cause of the condition. Some common causes include a herniated disc, spine degeneration, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or a tumor or cyst along the spine. The type of treatment often depends on the reason for your pain.
Dr. Fischer usually recommends conservative treatments before suggesting surgery. Some include pain medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, nerve blocks, or aquatic therapy. Not every method is right for every case, but an experienced specialist will guide you to the correct treatment plan.
Outcome of surgery
If surgery turns out to be the best treatment for you, Dr. Fischer will explain the complete process and the risks and benefits of the procedure. The overall goal is to return you to your normal daily life without pain or loss of function or movement. Make sure you voice your goals with the doctor and your activity levels related to your job or lifestyle. Dr. Fischer would like to help you make the right decision for your overall health.