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Sciatica pain can range from a mild ache to excruciating pain. It often affects your ability to perform and enjoy your daily activities. At the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center’s Spine Institute, we offer hope and treatment for patients with mild to severe sciatica.
Sciatica Care at UVM Medical Center
Sciatica is pain that travels along the sciatic nerve, which begins in your lower back and spreads through your hip and buttocks and down your legs. Often, sciatica affects only one side of your body. Because sciatica affects each patient differently, treatment needs to be highly individualized.
Our specialists give you the personal attention you need to find an effective solution for your sciatica. Features of our care include:
- Focused expertise: At the Spine Institute, we focus exclusively on disorders and conditions of the spine. This gives us a unique depth of expertise in managing spinal conditions such as sciatica.
- Accurate, careful diagnosis: We take our time talking to you, discussing your symptoms, reviewing previous tests and discussing treatment recommendations. We make sure you understand and feel comfortable with the next steps in your care. Learn more about sciatica diagnosis at UVMMC.
- Wide range of treatment options: We offer the full spectrum of treatments for sciatica, from physical therapy to orthopedic surgery. We work with you to determine the treatment option that fits best your lifestyle and preferences. Find out more about our sciatica treatment.
- Collaborative care: Our surgeons, physician assistants and nurses meet at a weekly conference to discuss surgical patients and upcoming surgeries. This ensures authentic collaboration among our team, so everyone is on the same page regarding your care.
- Accessibility: There is little wait time for appointments. We are able to set up appointments quickly, often within a week, so you can get the care you need. Our team is always available to you, through email, online with MyChart and over the phone.
Learn more about the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Spine program.
Sciatica Diagnosis and Treatment: What to Expect
When you come for your appointment at our clinic, expect to stay a while: We reserve 30 minutes per patient for returning patients and a full hour if you are new. We believe in taking our time, listening to you, reviewing your case thoroughly and making sure you fully understand your condition and treatment options.
If you have X-rays and MRIs from previous appointments, we will explain how to read the films, so you can see firsthand how the sciatica is affecting your body. Patients often tell us how understand their films empowers them and gives them confidence to be actively involved in their health care.
What you can expect during your appointment:
- X-rays: If you don’t have any X-rays, we will do them at your appointment.
- MRI: If you need an MRI, we will set up an appointment for you. We will then meet with you again to review your MRI results
- Next steps: We will explain and discuss your treatment options.
- Orthopedic surgeon: If we determine that surgery will give you the best outcome, we will schedule an appointment with our orthopedic surgeon.
- Your activities: We will discuss your activity level, including what you can and should not do. We encourage our patients to be as active as they can tolerate
- Other conditions: If we determine that the problem is not sciatica, we can refer you to other specialists within our system, such as hip or knee specialists. We will make the appointment for you as soon as we can, possibly even that same day.
The main symptoms of sciatica is pain that extends from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. The pain can range from a mild ache to an excruciating burning pain. You may also experience:
- Numbness, tingling or muscle weakness
- Worsening of symptoms when you cough, sneeze or sit for too long
- Numbness in one part of your leg and pain in another
If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor or call our clinic to make an appointment.
Learn more about diagnosis for sciatica and sciatica treatment.
You can make an appointment with us by:
- Having your primary care physician send us a referral.
- Calling our clinic directly to make an appointment for yourself.