How is sciatica diagnosed?

Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back, hips, and legs. It is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back into the legs and feet. While there is no single test to diagnose sciatica, there are several methods that can help your doctor determine the cause of your pain.

The first step in diagnosing sciatica is for your doctor to do a physical examination. This will involve questions about your medical history, as well as an examination of your back and legs. Your doctor will also ask about your symptoms, including the intensity and location of your pain.

If your doctor suspects that you may have sciatica, they may order imaging tests to get a better look at your spine. These tests can include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. These tests can show the doctor any abnormalities in the spine that could be putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Your doctor may also use an electromyography (EMG) test to measure the electrical activity of your muscles. This test can help them determine if there is any nerve damage or irritation.

If your doctor suspects that you may have a herniated disc, they may order a discogram. A discogram is an imaging test that uses dye to help the doctor pinpoint the exact location of the herniated disc.

Finally, your doctor may recommend a nerve conduction study. This test helps measure the electrical activity of the nerves in your legs. It can help determine if the sciatic nerve is being compressed.

Once your doctor has determined the cause of your sciatica, they will be able to create a treatment plan to help relieve your pain and other symptoms. Treatment options may include physical therapy, medications, and in some cases, surgery.

If you are experiencing back pain, numbness, or tingling in your legs, contact your doctor right away. They can help diagnose the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan to help you get back to your normal activities.

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