If sciatica and sciatic nerve pain are stopping you from engaging in normal activities throughout the day it might be time to come in and see a specialist who can help you get on a treatment plan to address these issues. Dr. Jennifer McMonigle Medical PC of Smithtown, NY has helped many patients with their sciatica and can talk you through your options going forward. Make an appointment today and take the first steps toward a pain-free future.


The lower back pain associated with sciatica can be unbearable. Sufferers will often cite additional pain in the back of the leg or the buttock area. The discomfort can range from a mild achiness in the generalized area to sharp pains that shoot down the leg and occur abruptly on one side of the body. Sharp movements like a cough or sneeze can make the pain worse. Patients with sciatica may also have numbness in the leg muscles and limited range of motion in the lower back. It is a condition that impacts on everyday activities. On rare occasions, bowel or bladder dysfunction may accompany sciatica and can become quite serious, requiring immediate medical attention.


Sciatica is named after the sciatic nerve- a long nerve that stretches from the lower back, buttock, back of the leg and down to the foot. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is damaged in some way or has pressure placed on it. There might be a variety of different causes for sciatica including vertebral compression fractures, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, or even degenerative disc disease. Lifestyle and personal habits may also contribute to the likelihood that someone would experience sciatica. For example, lack of exercise, sitting for extended periods of time, poor postures, and even smoking or diabetes can be contributing factors to sciatic nerve pain.


Diagnosing the sciatic pain and uncovering the cause of it is important to keep the problem from getting worse. When you speak with your doctor, she will likely ask about your general medical history, if you’ve had any recent or past injuries that might be related, and what type of pain you are experiencing. There will likely be a neurological examination in the clinical setting. This might include testing for muscle strength, reflexes, and other physical measures that might give an indication of whether there might be a further injury. Imaging tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or x-rays may be appropriate depending on whether your doctor believes there are any further considerations to investigate.

In general, most cases of sciatica will subside on their own. The type of treatment required to alleviate the pain will depend largely on what is causing it. The sciatica sufferer can easily self-treat at home using conservative options such as alternating cold and hot packs, taking anti-inflammatory medication, bed rest, and altering their activities. Treatments that can be done in a clinical setting include spinal injections and physical therapy among others. In more severe cases spine surgery may be an option if other methods have not been successful in alleviating the pain.

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