Sciatica

Sherwin Hua, MD

Neurosurgeon located in the Bay Area, California

Many people who’ve experienced sciatica say that the pain is worse than giving birth. Regardless of how severe your sciatica pain is, board-certified neurosurgeon Sherwin Hua, MD, can help. Dr. Hua is a world-renowned pioneer in spine surgery and welcomes patients from throughout the Bay Area to his DimeSpine Neurosurgery practice, which has locations in Campbell, Hayward, San Francisco, and San Jose, California. Dr. Hua provides a comprehensive range of treatments for sciatica, including his revolutionary approach to spinal surgery called the DimeSpine technique. Find out more by calling DimeSpine Neurosurgery today or requesting an appointment online.

Sciatica Q & A

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a potentially agonizing lower back condition in which the sciatic nerve comes under pressure from surrounding tissues. 

Your sciatic nerve has its roots in the lumbar region of your spine, which is your lower back. The nerve splits in two after exiting your spine, with one branch going down each leg. If one branch of the nerve comes under pressure, it causes sharp pain and feelings of cramp down one leg.

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain on moving
  • Pain when sneezing or coughing
  • Weakness in one leg
  • Pins and needles 
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling feelings 

Sciatica is more likely to affect people aged between 30 and 50 but could develop at any age.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

If you have sciatica, when Dr. Hua sees you, he can usually make a preliminary diagnosis based on your symptoms and carrying out a physical exam. 

You might also need to have X-rays taken or undergo an MRI scan, as well.

How is sciatica treated?

In most cases, conservative approaches to sciatica treatment work well, enabling you to get back to a normal life free of pain and with mobility restored. A balance between rest and gentle exercise is essential. Other treatments could include:

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) 
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Physical therapies
  • Chiropractic

If these approaches aren’t reliving your sciatic pain, Dr. Hua can give you a steroid injection that helps reduce inflammation and pain.

If, after three months of trying conservative treatment approaches, you still aren’t improving, Dr. Hua can discuss surgical options with you.

What surgeries could help with sciatica?

Dr. Hua is a pioneering spine surgeon who can perform minimally invasive procedures using very small incisions, typically the size of a dime. Minimally invasive surgery reduces pain and keeps tissue damage to a minimum, as well as speeding up recovery.

For sciatica pain, a common approach is to perform a discectomy to remove a herniated disc that’s pressing on the sciatic nerve. The procedure might also involve laminectomy, which removes a section of bone from the back of the vertebra (lamina) or a foraminectomy, which involves taking bone from the foramen, which are the gaps in your vertebrae.  

Dr. Hua can relieve the pain of sciatica using microdiscectomy surgery, making an incision that’s smaller than a dime through which he passes a narrow tube and a microscope. This is comparable to endoscopic or laparoscopic surgical incisions, thanks to Dr. Hua’s expertise in performing microdiscectomy. 

If you have foraminal stenosis, Dr. Hua can approach surgery using purely endoscopic techniques, which require incisions less than half an inch (10mm) long. He also uses laminotomy and foraminotomy techniques that preserve the vertebrae, while still making more room for the spinal cord and nerves.

If you have any symptoms of sciatica, call DimeSpine today or request an appointment online.