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Sciatica Specialist

Basin Neurosurgical and Spine Associates

Alim M Ladha, MD

Neurosurgeon & Fellowship Trained Spine Surgeon located in Midland and Odessa, TX

Sciatica is a common pain condition that affects as many as 40% of people in the United States at some point during their life. Though sciatica symptoms usually resolve with conservative care, some people develop chronic sciatica pain. Alim Ladha, MD, at Basin Neurosurgical and Spine Associates is an experienced neurosurgeon who offers advanced surgical treatments for sciatica pain that fails to improve with medical care. Call the office in Odessa, Texas, or schedule an appointment online today.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that affects your sciatic nerve. 

Your sciatic nerve is the thickest nerve in your body and is made up of several nerve roots that exit the lumbar and sacral areas of your spine. These nerve roots combine in your buttocks and travel into the back of your legs on both sides of your body.

Sciatica occurs from irritation, compression, or pinching of the sciatic nerve and most often develops from compression of one of the nerve roots as it exits the lumbar spine. A herniated disk is a common cause of sciatica. 

You may also be at risk of developing sciatica if you have spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the space in the spinal canal. 

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Symptoms of sciatica vary depending on the cause. For some, sciatica causes sharp or electric shock-like sensations in the leg. Others may experience burning, tingling, or numbness. The pain usually only affects one leg.

The pain sensations may worsen when you cough or change positions.  

Though often associated with low back pain, sciatica symptoms are more severe in the leg than the back. 

What happens during a sciatica evaluation?

Dr. Ladha performs a comprehensive exam when you come in for a sciatica evaluation. The goal of your exam is to find the cause of your sciatica symptoms so he can develop the most effective treatment plan.

Dr. Ladha reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. He conducts diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. Testing may include X-rays, MRI, CT scan, or nerve conduction studies. 

How is sciatica treated?

Treatment for your sciatica depends on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Conservative care is the first line of treatment for sciatica, which may include medications, physical therapy, and epidural injections.

Dr. Ladha may only recommend spine surgery for sciatica if you continue to have ongoing sciatica symptoms after a year of conservative care or your pain affects your mobility and quality of life.

When performing spine surgery, Dr. Ladha uses advanced tools and techniques to minimize incision size, recovery time, and pain. For sciatica, Dr. Ladha may perform a diskectomy (removal of a herniated disk), laminotomy (spinal decompression), or laminectomy (removal of a portion of vertebral bone).

When your sciatica symptoms fail to improve with medical interventions, Dr. Ladha can help. Call Basin Neurosurgical and Spine Associates or schedule a consultation online today.