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Sciatica Specialist

Apex Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

John H. Bissell, MD

Physiatrist and Pain Management Physician located in Colorado Springs, CO

Shooting pain that goes from your lower back down your leg is a classic sign of sciatica. If you have pain like this, quadruple board-certified pain management physician John Bissell, MD, of Apex Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can help. Dr. Bissell provides a range of advanced treatments for sciatica, including epidural injections and ketamine infusions for persistent cases. For more information about relief from sciatica, call Apex Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, or schedule an appointment online today.

Sciatica Q&A

What is sciatica? 

A relatively common cause of low back pain, sciatica is a condition that involves your sciatic nerve –– a large nerve that originates in your lumbar (lower) back then divides into two halves, with one half going down each of your legs.

Pressure on your sciatic nerve at the point where it exits the bottom of your spine causes pain and other unpleasant sensations, including:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle control problems
  • Weakness
  • Reduced mobility

Sciatica typically causes an intense pain that shoots down through your hip and into your leg. The pain worsens when you're sitting or lying down but often eases somewhat if you stand up.

The symptoms you experience with sciatica vary depending on how much pressure is on the nerve.

What causes sciatica?

Pressure on your sciatic nerve can develop as a result of several conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease

Sciatica isn't uncommon during pregnancy, and being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing it. Wearing high-heeled shoes can also make you more prone to sciatica because your heels force your spine and joints into an unnatural position.

A condition that causes very similar symptoms to sciatica is piriformis syndrome. This is a neuromuscular disorder where a muscle near the top of your hips called the piriformis, compresses your sciatic nerve. 

How is sciatica treated?

Dr. Bissell aims to treat your sciatica by relieving the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Diagnostic imaging tests can show what's causing the nerve compression and how severe it is, enabling your doctor to create an effective treatment program.

Treatments that could feature in your plan include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Low-dose opioids
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Spinal nerve blocks

A combination of measures like these is effective for most patients who have sciatica. If you're still in pain after following your treatment program, Dr. Bissell might recommend ketamine infusions to treat your sciatica.

A ketamine infusion is a fluid containing a powerful anesthetic that goes directly into your blood through an intravenous needle. It's a relatively new treatment for chronic pain but shows great promise.

Ketamine infusions are only suitable for patients who have treatment-resistant chronic pain. Apex Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is one of the very few practices to offer insurance-supported ketamine infusions.

If you're experiencing sciatica symptoms, call Apex Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.