Sciatica Arlington, Va

Often, pain that starts in the lower portion of the back or hips that travels to the rear of the thigh could be related to a herniated disc. This happens when the protruding in your spinal column begins putting pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve. This is sciatica.

Oftentimes, sciatica will not disappear on its own. In fact, it can feel like an extended cramp that just cannot be resolved. You may have pain, especially when you sit, sneeze, or cough. Patients with sciatica experience tingling up and down their legs or a numb feeling.


Our spine surgeons at OrthoBethesda in Arlington have the experience and training to diagnose this condition and provide the best treatment path to relieving pain.

Causes Of Sciatica

Sciatica impacts patients aged between 30 and 50 years, and roughly 1 out of every 50 people will endure a herniated disc at some point throughout their life. Symptoms that persist greater than six weeks will impact about 10 – 25% of patients. The aging process can lead to the degeneration of muscles, ligaments, bones, and discs in the body, plus any sudden pressure on the discs that provide cushion to the bones (vertebrae) of the low section of the spine, are the primary reasons sciatica occurs.

The nucleus of a disc may poke through or into the disc’s outer lining. When the herniated disc begins to press on the sciatic nerve’s nerve roots, nerve roots could become inflamed and irritated from the chemicals found in the nucleus of the disc.

In the rarest of cases, a herniated disc could put pressure on the nerves that cause the patient to lose control of their bowels or bladder. When this happens, the patient may also experience tingling or numbness in the groin. An emergency like this will require surgery; if you are experiencing this discomfort, please call OrthoBethesda in Arlington to immediately schedule an appointment.

What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

The most common symptom of sciatica is when you suffer pain that travels from the lowest portion of the spine to the buttocks and then down the backside of your legs. The level of pain will vary greatly based on the individual patient. It may be easy to take or it can be excruciating to the point where your mobility and quality of life are impacted greatly. Many patients experience symptoms that feel like a shock to the body. Coughing or sneezing can become unbearable and sitting for extended periods can worsen your symptoms.

Diagnosing Sciatica

The doctor will need to review your entire medical history before making a proper diagnosis of your condition. Your OrthoBethesda team in Arlington will ask for an explanation about the pain and how it began, where it progressed, and the feelings you experienced as the pain worsened. Your OrthoBethesda doctor will perform a physical to discover the nerve root that is irritated. Our team in Arlington may ask you to perform exercises that include:

  • squat and rise
  • walk on your heels and toes
  • perform a straight-leg raising test or other tests

The majority of people who suffer from sciatica have compression of the L5 or S1 nerve roots; therefore, X-rays and other specialized imaging tools such as an MRI may provide confirmation of the OrthoBethesda diagnosis of which nerve roots are impacted.

Treatment For Sciatica

Nonsurgical Treatment

With a little bit of rest, roughly 80% to 90% of people who suffer from sciatica improve gradually without going under the knife. Nonsurgical treatment aims to help the patient manage pain without the use of medicine long-term. In order to reduce the inflammation, you will need a couple of days on bed rest.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or muscle relaxants could be of help. In some cases, your OrthoBethesda doctor may inject your spine area with a cortisone-like pain reliever. Many patients discover that a little bit of cold or heat placed on the affected muscles goes a long way in relieving pain.

Patients must remain active. Inflammation worsens when people become sedentary. When at rest, find comfortable positions, and most likely, the condition will get better within 2 – 3 weeks. You should begin physical therapy as soon as your schedule allows. The stretching exercises the physical therapist shows you can get you back to your normal routine quickly without much pain. Be sure to follow the pain relief plan and start with daily walks.

For more information about the causes of sciatica and a treatment plan, be sure to protect your spine by calling an experienced surgeon from OrthoBethesda.

Surgical Treatment

When disabling leg pain persists for three months or more of nonsurgical treatment, your OrthoBethesda doctor in Arlington may suggest surgery to remove a portion of the herniated disc to stop it from pressing on your nerve. Laminotomy with discectomy surgery, which gets performed under local, spinal, or general anesthesia, has a 90% chance of success if most of the pain is in your leg.


You should absolutely avoid all of the following for at least 30 days after undergoing surgery:

  • Sitting for long periods
  • Driving
  • Bending to the front
  • Lifting any objects

Your OrthoBethesda surgical team in Arlington will give you exercises that help to strengthen the back, increasing the likelihood of surgical success. After receiving treatment for sciatica you should be able to get back to your normal life with very little to no pain. It is still possible for a disc to rupture even after surgery. This occurs in roughly five percent of patients who suffer from sciatica.

Schedule an Appointment for Treatment Today

If you have been suffering from sciatica or any other type of back issue or pain, it’s time to call an experienced surgeon to discuss your options. Even though a common cause of sciatica can be age, you shouldn’t ignore the warning signs. Pressure on the back can lead to serious problems if not treated appropriately. Many people try to deal with their back pain on their own. Call us today to schedule an appointment with our medical team for more information.