Do you have charley horse cramps that just won’t go away or persistent pains in your legs and buttocks? You might have a treatable condition called sciatica. The Spine Center of Baton Rouge is staffed by Dr. Kevin P. McCarthy, Dr. C. Chambliss Harrod and Dr. Matthew A. Neumann, who specialize in spinal conditions like sciatica. Schedule an online consultation or call today to make an appointment at one of their three convenient locations in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana.

Sciatica / Radiculopathy Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is also known by the technical term radiculopathy. Sciatica is caused when a herniated disk in the lower part of your spinal column presses against your spinal nerves. With sciatica, you’ll typically feel pain in your buttocks and down your leg.

Sciatica can feel like a lingering, uncomfortable leg cramp or cause extreme pains that feel like sharp knives. Sneezing, coughing, or moving can make the pain worse. You may also feel burning and tingling, numbness, or weakness.

Sciatica is most common from ages 30-50. It’s generally caused by wear and tear on your body as you age, or a sudden pressure on the disks in your lower spine.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

Your doctor at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge will ask you about your medical history and overall health. You’ll want to be ready to answer questions like these:

  • How did the pain start?
  • How long have you been in pain?
  • What does it feel like?
  • Does the pain move?

Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Harrod, or Dr. Neumann at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge conduct a physical exam to home in on the source of your pain. Your doctor might ask you to squat, bend forward, backward, or move from side to side. Your doctor also may want to see images of your back, and might order an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

How is sciatica treated?

Roughly 80-90% of patients with sciatica get better after several weeks. You can find some relief by finding a comfortable position that doesn’t aggravate the pain. However, it’s important to remain as active as you can because regular movement helps to reduce inflammation.

Medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or muscle relaxants may help soothe your pain. Applying a heating pad or cold packs may also help your condition.

If you’re feeling debilitating pain for 3 months or longer, you might need surgery. The typical surgery for sciatica is a laminotomy with discectomy. This is a minimally invasive surgery where doctors take out the portion of herniated disk that’s pressing on your nerve.

If you’re worried you might have sciatica, or have been coping with the condition for months, get the help you deserve by calling or scheduling an online consultation today with The Spine Center of Baton Rouge.

Scoliosis Corrective Surgery

This is generally a very complex procedure in which a curved spine is straightened using a variety of correction methods.  This is most commonly performed in adolescent patients who have not reached skeletal maturity and have spinal curves that measure greater than 40 degrees. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and usually involves a long incision down the center of the back to allow for exposure of the curved spine. Special screws and rods are carefully affixed to the spine to allow for gentle straightening and de-rotation.  Following surgery, patients stay in the hospital around 3 to 5 days for careful observation, pain control and physical therapy. Patients are braced for approximately 8 weeks following this procedure.

Click here to read an article posted by one of our Physician Assistants, Meegan Domangue, PA-C.