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Dr Jeremy Steinberg - Musculoskeletal Specialist Service

Private Service, Musculoskeletal

Sciatica

Sciatica is a term that generally refers to nerve pain in your leg caused by a problem in your lower back. The medical term for sciatica is ‘radicular leg pain’ because of the way the pain radiates from your back and hip into your legs through the spine.  

Sciatica pain is usually felt within a 2cm wide line that runs down the back of your leg. Different areas of the leg are affected depending on which spinal nerve is irritated. The most common pattern is pain down your buttocks and the back of your leg, and down to your foot. The pain in your leg is normally worse than the pain in your back. There may be no back pain at all.

In the acute stage scans are not normally required for diagnosis. This is because most people will get better on their own, and so the scan does not change the treatment and is therefore not needed. In the uncommon situation where a scan is needed, the best scan is an MRI scan.

There are a variety of treatments to consider for sciatica including using time as a treatment, pain killers, gentle stretches and exercise, heat and cold, activity modification, epidural steroid injections, and surgery.

At this clinic we can offer epidural steroid injections if required. Up to 70% of patients achieve 50% pain relief at the two month mark. The best method for injection is done under x-ray guidance which we do at SRG radiology.

This page was last updated at 12:54PM on June 13, 2022.