Sciatica is also called lower extremity (L5/S1) radiculitis or radiculopathy and is a condition characterized by weakness or sensory changes along the sciatic nerve pathway. The sensory changes are often described as “pins and needles” and can extend down the buttock, leg and foot. Symptoms of serious concern include severe nerve impingement, bladder incontinence, bowel incontinence, lower extremity weakness, and profound loss ofsensation. Loss of bowel or bladder function with sensory deficits and weakness is termed “Cauda Equina Syndrome” and is a true medical emergency.
The diagnosis of sciatica can often be determined through a physical and neurological exam. Our doctors may also choose to evaluate your condition through one of the following procedures:
- X-rays: a common test doctors utilize when evaluating joints, bones, and lesions in the spine.
- Cat Scan (CT): a common test doctors utilize when a patient has challenges getting an MRI.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): a standard procedure doctors use to evaluate the bones, joints, discs, tissues and nerves in the lumbar spine.