Your sciatic nerve — which is the longest nerve in your body — starts in the small of your back and travels through your buttocks and down each leg to the feet. If this nerve gets irritated or damaged, it can result in a condition called sciatica.
Sciatica can cause pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, and burning sensations in the back, hip and lower extremities. The condition is often caused when a bone spur or herniated disc presses on the roots of the nerve in the lower back.
Whether your sciatica is just annoying or causes a loss of function, you don’t have to live with it. Dinash Yanamadula, MD, at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, offers several effective treatments depending on what’s causing your sciatica.
To reduce inflammation and deliver pain relief, Dr. Yanamadula may offer you a lumbar epidural steroid injection. Lumbar refers to your lower back region, and epidural refers to the outermost part of your spinal canal.
First, Dr. Yanamadula numbs the area with a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. Then, using a fluoroscope for guidance, he inserts a needle between your L4 and L5 vertebrae and injects a mixture of lidocaine and corticosteroids to bathe your nerves in pain-relieving medication.
This procedure is called a lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection because it delivers pain-relieving medication to one of the foraminal spaces in your lower spine. The foraminal spaces are located on the side of the spine. Like the procedure above, Dr. Yanamadula first numbs the area.
Then, using a fluoroscope for guidance, he delivers corticosteroid and anesthetic medication to the foraminal space of the affected nerve tissue.
Another area notorious for pinching nerves in your lower back is the facet joint, where your vertebrae connect. If your nerves get impinged in a facet joint, it can send radiating pain to your legs.
In this case, Dr. Yanamadula performs a lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy. First, he anesthetizes your skin. Then he uses radiofrequency waves to gently heat up your nerves. This blocks their ability to send pain signals to your brain, giving you much-needed relief.
The sacroiliac joint connects your hip bone to your spine. If you have radiating sciatica pain, it could be caused by a dysfunction in your sacroiliac joint, a damaged nerve near your sacroiliac joint, or both.
With a sacroiliac joint steroid injection, Dr. Yanamadula injects a combination of steroids and lidocaine directly into the sacroiliac joint to reduce inflammation and pain.
Your sympathetic nerves run along the sides of your spine and can cause radiating sciatica pain if damaged or inflamed. The treatment of choice for this type of nerve pain is a lumbar sympathetic block, which blocks pain signals in these specific nerves with a steroid-anesthetic blend of medications.
Whichever type of sciatic pain you’re dealing with, Dr. Yanamadula can put an end to it. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Princeton Pain & Spine Institute today.