About Sciatica

About Sciatica

Sciatica is also known as lumbosacral radiculopathy or radicular leg pain. The condition affects approximately 1 in 20 adults experience sciatica every year and more than 40% of people will suffer from sciatica during their lifetime. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated vertebral disc. Other causes include spinal stenosis, tumors and other structural issues with the spine. Sciatica is an extremely painful condition that is thought to result from a combination of physical pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal cord as well as an inflammatory component.

About 1/2 to 2/3 of people who suffer with sciatica pain will recover with conservative treatments such as non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications or physical therapy. There are no FDA approved treatment options for the remaining group of people who continue to suffer. The most frequently used invasive option is an off-label injection of epidural steroids at the site of disc injury. Other options include opioids, oral steroids, and surgery.

The currently used off-label treatments carry safety risks and provide suboptimal pain relief. Steroids result in disruption of blood glucose (sugar) control, altered immune response that can result in local and systemic infection, and psychiatric effects such as anxiety and sleeplessness. Opioids carry a major risk of addiction and have not been demonstrated to be very effective at treating neuropathic pain conditions, such as sciatica.