Compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back can cause radiating pain in the buttocks and legs. Sciatica is a back injury that causes significant and troubling symptoms that have far-reaching effects on accident victims’ lives, from their health and well-being to their finances. Fortunately, if your accident caused sciatica, an accident settlement in New York can compensate you for these damages.
Buttafuoco & Associates will help you exercise your rights to get compensation for your injury. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the pain caused by compression or pinching of the sciatic nerve. This nerve originates in your lower back and branches out at the tailbone, traveling down your buttocks and each leg. Sciatica usually only affects one side of your body, though injuries to the top of the nerve may cause pain in both legs and lower back.
The most common symptom of sciatica is pain radiating from your lower back, through your buttock, and down the back of your leg. Many people find sitting extremely uncomfortable. The pain may travel all along the nerve path or only manifest in certain spots. Pain is most common on the back side of your thigh and calf.
The degree of pain varies from person to person and depending on the severity of the injury. Some patients experience a dull ache in their entire leg, while others can feel sharp, stabbing pain in specific areas. Others complain of a burning sensation in the affected areas.
Sciatica can also cause numbness or muscle weakness, as well as a tingling sensation. This numbness usually affects the lower leg or foot. Some people have pain in one area of the leg and numbness in another.
Very rarely and only in extreme cases, sciatica can cause loss of bowel or bladder function. If this occurs, especially after an accident, seek immediate medical attention.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica may be the direct result of an accident that injures the sciatic nerve, or it can be the byproduct of another injury. If your sciatica occurs after a fall or car accident, the abrupt impact may cause the vertebra to pinch the sciatic nerve.
Most often, though, sciatica comes with another back injury such as a herniated disc. When the disc ruptures and bulges, it can press on the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.
There are also medical conditions unrelated to accidents that may cause sciatica. Seek medical attention after your accident to identify the source of your pain and other symptoms. If you begin to experience sciatica, talk to your doctor about possible causes. Make sure you mention your recent accident.
Buttafuoco & Associates will help you collect medical and other evidence tying your sciatica and other injuries to your accident so you can collect compensation.
Diagnosing and Treating Sciatica
During your doctor appointment, your doctor will likely test muscle strength, range of motion, and pain response. You may also undergo imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. Electromyography (EMG) can measure the electrical impulses sent by your nerves. An EMG measures the response of your muscles during nerve stimulation.
For mild sciatica, self-care, including rest and stretching exercises, can usually relieve symptoms. If your pain does not improve or your symptoms worsen, your doctor may prescribe medications, such as:
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
Once your pain improves, you may undergo physical therapy to prevent recurring sciatica. You may also require steroid injections to suppress inflammation around the sciatic nerve.
Finally, for severe sciatica and cases caused by herniated discs, surgery may be needed to repair the disc and relieve the pressure on the nerve.
If You Develop Sciatica after an Accident, Call Buttafuoco & Associates
Diagnostic testing and treatment for sciatica, combined with lost wages if unable to work due to symptoms, can create a financial burden for accident victims. You may qualify to recover damages if another party is responsible for the accident that caused your sciatica.
Buttafuoco & Associates is here to help you file a legal claim so you can recover those damages. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT to speak with a New York back injury lawyer about filing a claim.