Did you know that an estimated 40% of people will likely suffer from sciatica pain at some point during their life?1 In less severe cases, the pain and symptoms may resolve over time but oftentimes sciatica symptoms will become unbearable.
Sciatica refers to a pain felt in the lower back, radiating down into the buttocks and the back of the leg. This pain is caused by irritation, pinching, or compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back usually due to a herniated disk. Severe cases of sciatica likely require surgery so it is important to know when you should reach out to a physician for surgical intervention.
It is hard to know if surgery is right for you so here are some reasons you may want to consider surgery for sciatica:
- Decreased quality of life
Sciatica pain is typically periodic and can last for days and even weeks. This pain can often be intolerable making it difficult to do simple tasks such as sitting, driving, and virtually any physical activity. If your sciatica pain is constant, it can impact your work, relationships, and hobbies. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider surgery to alleviate your pain.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
In severe cases of sciatica, nerves controlling the bladder and bowels can be affected resulting in bladder and bowel control issues. You may experience difficulty urinating, a reduced sensation to urinate, constipation, or unexpected bowel passing. If this occurs, surgery is recommended so that these symptoms don’t worsen.
- Numbness and tingling
Sciatica can progress from nerve inflammation to nerve damage resulting in numbness and tingling in the leg and buttocks. Contact your physician if you suffer from these discomforting symptoms because they may worsen and result in permanent nerve damage.
- Progressive weakness
In addition to numbness, nerve damage can also result in weakness in the legs. If untreated, the nerve damage will worsen and leg weakness will progress until mobility is significantly affected.
Sciatica surgery can be elective due to its impact on your life or necessary due to its severe symptoms. Whichever the case, if you are considering surgery for your sciatica pain, contact Dr. Moazzaz for a consultation today!
Dr. Payam Moazzaz is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon in California specializing in robotic-assisted minimally invasive spine surgery.