Diagnosed with sciatica? Trust Hoag

Sciatica can cause some serious pain; that shooting, burning, tingling pain down one leg that makes it hard to do anything but hurt. But you don't have to suffer from sciatica. For sciatica treatment in Orange County, trust the Hoag Spine Center. At Hoag, our deep bench of world-renowned therapists, pain management specialists and physicians is here to help you find relief from sciatica pain. So don't wait. Leave sciatica behind. Trust Hoag to help you heal.

Sciatica Care at Hoag

While it happens to most of us at some point in our lives, back pain can keep you from family, friends and going out. It can keep you from keeping healthy and doing what you love. That's especially true of sciatica. But at Hoag Spine Center, we've got the tools, the team and the technology to help you come back healthy and strong. Does sciatica-related pain in your back and legs have you halted in your tracks? Hoag can help.

Common Questions

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is the pain, tingling or numbness from an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve, which is formed by the nerve roots from the spinal cord into the lower back.

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc in the spine. However, sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine, such as spinal stenosis, bone spurs caused by arthritis, or nerve compression (known as “pinched nerve sciatica”) caused by injury.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

During a physical exam, your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes.  For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on your back, lift your legs one at a time. Pain that results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities.

Other symptoms of sciatica may include:

  • Pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur

If your pain is severe, doctors may order an imaging test. These may include:

  • X-ray. This may reveal an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) that may be pressing on a nerve.
  • MRI. Using a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your back, this test produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disks. You will lie on a table that moves into the MRI machine.
  • CT scan. As part of this test, a contrast dye may be injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken — a procedure called a CT myelogram. The dye then circulates around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear white on the scan.
  • Electromyography (EMG). This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles, and it can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).

What are the risk factors for sciatica?

  • Age. Most common are age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put undue pressure on your spine, which also initiates or exacerbates sciatica. If you’re above a healthy weight, healing from sciatica takes longer, too.
Common Questions

I’ve been diagnosed with sciatica. Now What do I do?

You don’t have to hurt. When you need spine care in Orange County, trust Hoag. At Hoag, our fellowship-trained team of spine specialists is here to help get you back to doing the things that matter most. We’re committed to treating you like a person, not a chart. Hoag provides the latest technology and treatments, with minimally-invasive techniques designed to help you recover quicker with less pain. Meet the Hoag Spine Center Team.

What treatments are available for sciatica?

Most people with sciatica get better in a few weeks with rest and over-the-counter remedies.  The following are some available treatments for sciatica:

  • Lifestyle changes. This might include stretching and exercise like yoga.
  • Pain management. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help like Acetaminophen and NSAIDs, or hot and cold packs applied for several minutes on the lower back a few times a day.
  • Physical therapy. This rehab plan typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
  • Surgery
Services Offered

Minimally-invasive robotic spinal surgery at Hoag

When your spine is on the line, trust Hoag for spine surgery. Hoag was the first hospital on the West Coast to offer the Mazor X Stealth™   advanced robotic navigation platform for spinal surgery. Combining 3D pre-operative planning tools with robotic precision, the system provides surgeons with advanced visualization of your body’s unique internal structures, and you with the great chance to come back strong from back surgery. Learn more about advanced robotic surgery at Hoag.

Award-Winning Care for the Spine at Hoag

There’s a reason why U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-2023 list of top hospitals ranked Hoag as High Performing — their top distinction — in neurology, neurosurgery and spinal fusion. A higher standard of care. Accurate diagnosis for more successful treatment. A multidisciplinary team of spine-care specialists who are committed to seeing you heal. That’s spinal care at Hoag. Read an essay about a real Hoag patient’s spine-care journey.

Confused about your condition? Trust Hoag Nurse Navigators

Facing a health issue that could involve surgery can be confusing for anyone. That’s why the Hoag Spine Center offers our unique Nurse Navigator program. These trained nurses are there for you, both as a guide and a resource for medically-accurate information about your unique diagnosis. It’s one more way Hoag is here for you through your journey as a patient, every step of the way. Get started with our spine nurse navigator.

Common Questions

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is the pain, tingling or numbness from an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve, which is formed by the nerve roots from the spinal cord into the lower back.

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc in the spine. However, sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine, such as spinal stenosis, bone spurs caused by arthritis, or nerve compression (known as “pinched nerve sciatica”) caused by injury.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

During a physical exam, your doctor may check your muscle strength and reflexes.  For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on your back, lift your legs one at a time. Pain that results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities.

Other symptoms of sciatica may include:

  • Pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur

If your pain is severe, doctors may order an imaging test. These may include:

  • X-ray. This may reveal an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) that may be pressing on a nerve.
  • MRI. Using a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your back, this test produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disks. You will lie on a table that moves into the MRI machine.
  • CT scan. As part of this test, a contrast dye may be injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken — a procedure called a CT myelogram. The dye then circulates around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which appear white on the scan.
  • Electromyography (EMG). This test measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles, and it can confirm nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal (spinal stenosis).

What are the risk factors for sciatica?

  • Age. Most common are age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put undue pressure on your spine, which also initiates or exacerbates sciatica. If you’re above a healthy weight, healing from sciatica takes longer, too.

Common Questions

I’ve been diagnosed with sciatica. Now What do I do?

You don’t have to hurt. When you need spine care in Orange County, trust Hoag. At Hoag, our fellowship-trained team of spine specialists is here to help get you back to doing the things that matter most. We’re committed to treating you like a person, not a chart. Hoag provides the latest technology and treatments, with minimally-invasive techniques designed to help you recover quicker with less pain. Meet the Hoag Spine Center Team.

What treatments are available for sciatica?

Most people with sciatica get better in a few weeks with rest and over-the-counter remedies.  The following are some available treatments for sciatica:

  • Lifestyle changes. This might include stretching and exercise like yoga.
  • Pain management. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help like Acetaminophen and NSAIDs, or hot and cold packs applied for several minutes on the lower back a few times a day.
  • Physical therapy. This rehab plan typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
  • Surgery

Services Offered

Minimally-invasive robotic spinal surgery at Hoag

When your spine is on the line, trust Hoag for spine surgery. Hoag was the first hospital on the West Coast to offer the Mazor X Stealth™   advanced robotic navigation platform for spinal surgery. Combining 3D pre-operative planning tools with robotic precision, the system provides surgeons with advanced visualization of your body’s unique internal structures, and you with the great chance to come back strong from back surgery. Learn more about advanced robotic surgery at Hoag.

Award-Winning Care for the Spine at Hoag

There’s a reason why U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-2023 list of top hospitals ranked Hoag as High Performing — their top distinction — in neurology, neurosurgery and spinal fusion. A higher standard of care. Accurate diagnosis for more successful treatment. A multidisciplinary team of spine-care specialists who are committed to seeing you heal. That’s spinal care at Hoag. Read an essay about a real Hoag patient’s spine-care journey.

Confused about your condition? Trust Hoag Nurse Navigators

Facing a health issue that could involve surgery can be confusing for anyone. That’s why the Hoag Spine Center offers our unique Nurse Navigator program. These trained nurses are there for you, both as a guide and a resource for medically-accurate information about your unique diagnosis. It’s one more way Hoag is here for you through your journey as a patient, every step of the way. Get started with our spine nurse navigator.