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Sciatica (Lower Back, Leg & Buttock Pain)

Low back pain radiating down the leg is commonly known as sciatica. The technical name for it is lumbar radiculopathy. It can often be confusing to patients because the pain may appear to travel up the leg as well as down the leg. Additionally, different nerves can travel in different patterns. For example, pain may go down the front of the thigh to the knee or down the side of the leg or back of the leg (classical sciatica). The initial treatment for the first 4-6 weeks usually consists of anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxers. While most patients will get better with physical therapy and non-narcotic medications, in some cases the pain can be debilitating and longer lasting. For those patients, we normally would consider an epidural steroid injection to target the affected disc or nerve.

In some cases, there is no leg pain at all. For patients with pure low back pain, the cause is often from the lumbar facet joints. For those patients, a series of diagnostic median branch blocks may alleviate their pain. In some cases, we undertake procedures to deaden joints for up to a year at a time. This procedure is known as radiofrequency ablation or rhizotomy.

Please see the video below for more detailed information on Sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy)

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