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Sciatica Treatment

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica, also known as radiculopathy, is nerve pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, branching out from your lower back to your hips, buttocks, legs, feet, and toes. It occurs when something puts pressure on part of the sciatic nerve. The condition typically only affects one side of the body.

Sciatica is a common type of pain that can make even the simplest tasks difficult to perform. Fortunately, sciatica can be managed with a variety of treatment options including both at-home remedies and in-office care. Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin can offer the residents of Austin, TX, and beyond relief for their sciatica.


The Symptoms of Sciatica

Symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but sciatica commonly begins as pain that radiates from the lumbar region (the lower area of the back) to the buttocks and down the back of the leg. However, pain can be felt anywhere along the nerve pathway.

The pain that is experienced can be described in different terms, but patients commonly report signs and sensations such as:

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Radiating pain

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Muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot

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Bowel or bladder incontinence

When to Contact Our Specialists

Many patients report that their symptoms are worse when coughing, sneezing, and sitting or standing for long periods of time. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms for longer than a week, the symptoms are severe, or the symptoms seem to be getting progressively worse, you should contact our specialists serving the community of Austin, TX, immediately.

Exploring Options 
for Sciatica Treatment 

Our spine specialists serve Austin TX, and beyond. When treating sciatica, our aim is to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce inflammation. We will always try to treat you through nonsurgical and minimally invasive methods first. Your treatment may include one or several of these options:


Physical Therapy

Chiropractic Adjustments

Massage Therapy


Steroid Injections


Analgesics, steroids, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory medications may all be prescribed for sciatica to alleviate the pain.

Physical Therapy

Supervised exercises can strengthen core muscles and reduce inflammation. Our specialists can design a physical therapy program that includes exercises that correct posture, strengthen the muscles supporting the back, and improve flexibility.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Gentle skeletal manipulations can sometimes provide relief for back pain. The aim of chiropractic adjustments is to restore spinal movement and improve function. This can be a good option for treating lower back pain, but may not be the best treatment for alleviating radiating pain.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve. Weekly massages can help loosen back and leg muscles and promote blood circulation to inflamed areas. Massage therapy may be a good option for people who are also undergoing physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments.


Some patients find acupuncture effective for reducing or eliminating discomfort. If you choose this alternative therapy, be sure to find a licensed practitioner who has had extensive training.

Steroid Injections

Occasionally, injections of a corticosteroid into the affected area may be able to reduce back pain by suppressing the inflammation around the nerve. Unfortunately, the effects of steroid injections may only last a few months and can't be administered frequently due to side effects.

Treating Sciatica 
on Your Own

Sciatica can sometimes be resolved with at-home self-care measures. Some simple things you can try include:

  • Resting for a day or two
  • Placing a cold pack on the affected area
  • Applying heat to areas that hurt
  • Stretching the back muscles
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication

If you still have symptoms after a week of trying home remedies, it may be time to contact a specialist.

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Exploring Surgery as a Last Resort

Though the back pain and tingling associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases typically resolve within a few weeks of non-surgical treatment.

Once our specialists have exhausted all other treatment options, they may recommend surgery, particularly if the patient has suffered serious leg pain for a month or more or is losing bowel and bladder control. Dr. Robert Josey and Dr. Michael Moghimi will work with you to determine the most appropriate surgical option for your needs after considering the severity of your sciatic pain and its impact on your daily life. The two most common surgical treatments for sciatica include:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Though surgery is a more invasive treatment option than other methods, advancements in technology have allowed for more conservative and effective treatment. Our Austin-area specialists can perform minimally invasive surgeries that use smaller incisions and require a shorter recovery time.

Risk Factors for Sciatica

Though there are many reasons why a person may develop sciatica, there are several factors that may make a person more at risk, including:






Most sciatica patients are between the ages of 30 and 50. As we age, our spines change and our nerves and muscles degenerate.


Being overweight puts stress on the lumbar region, which contributes to the spinal changes that cause sciatica.


Jobs that require you to lift or carry heavy loads, twist your back, or sit for long periods of time can damage your discs.


People who have a sedentary lifestyle are typically more likely to develop sciatica than active people.

The Most Common Causes of Sciatica

  • Herniated Disc - Sciatica usually begins with a herniated disc in your lumbar region. Your vertebrae are separated and cushioned by discs of connective tissue. When a disc gets worn down due to injury or years of use, it can begin to push out into the spinal canal. If a herniated disc presses against the sciatic nerve, it can cause severe pain.
  • Bone Spurs - Also called osteophytes, bone spurs are bony projections that can develop along the edge of bones and inside joints. Bone spurs are usually harmless, but when they form on your vertebrae, they can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This can cause numbness in the legs, tingling, or sharp pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis - Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces within your spine. The condition can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine, including the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom of spinal stenosis, but not all spinal stenosis patients will have sciatica. This condition occurs most often in the neck region and in the lumbar region.

Additional Causes of Sciatica

Though a herniated disc, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis may be the cause of your radiculopathy, there are some additional causes that may be to blame, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Piriformis syndrome (spasms and pain in a buttocks muscle)
  • Tumors of the nerves in the spine or the sciatic nerve
  • Certain diseases like diabetes

Find Relief for Your Sciatica with Our Doctors in the Greater Austin, TX Area

Patients experience sciatica differently, but we understand how painful the condition can often be. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists Dr. Robert Josey and Dr. Michael Moghimi can treat your condition so you don't have to live with the uncomfortable symptoms it can cause.

If you believe you may have sciatica, we invite you to contact our doctors in Austin, Cedar Park, Lakeway, and by calling:

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Making Your Results Last

Once you've treated your sciatica, there are some things you can do to help prevent the condition from recurring. Though these factors can help, it's not always possible to completely prevent sciatica.

Exercise Regularly

Strengthening the core and lumbar muscles can improve your posture and alignment.

Be Mindful of Posture

Be Mindful of Posture When sitting for long periods of time, try to sit up straight in a chair that offers lumbar support and has armrests. You can also place a pillow or rolled towel at the small of your back to help it maintain its natural curve. Keep your knees level with your hips.

Move Properly

When standing for long periods of time, rest one foot on a higher object like a box. When lifting a heavy object, lift with your legs, keep your back straight, and keep the heavy object close to your body.

Diagnosing Sciatica

If you may have sciatica, our Austin-area specialists can perform a thorough examination to make an accurate diagnosis. Diagnostic tests and imaging may include:

  • An X-ray
  • An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • A CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan
  • An EMG (electro myelogram)

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We Can Treat Your Sciatica With a Variety of Options

Our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists pride themselves on being able to use minimally-invasive procedures and advanced techniques to alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Dr. Robert Josey and Dr. Michael Moghimi can devise a sciatica treatment plan that works for you.

If you're interested in treating your sciatica, contact our offices. We serve the residents of Austin, TX, and beyond.

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