What Kind of Doctor Treats Sciatica?

Oct 8, 2020

What Kind of Doctor Treats Sciatica

If you have ever suffered from sciatica, you know that it is a different type of pain than normal leg and back pain. For many, the pain of sciatica can be excruciating and prevent them from participating in daily life. While mild pain may be managed at home, most people suffer enough from sciatic pain that they seek medical treatment. But what kind of doctor should you visit? When you look for clinics in Marietta, GA, it is important to look for a spine specialist who can treat all aspects of sciatica.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. This pain is typically felt on one side of the body and can range from a mild ache to sharp, burning sensations or excruciating discomfort. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. The primary function of the sciatic nerve is to connect the spinal cord with the muscles of the legs and feet, enabling movement and sensation.

Common Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions that involve the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Herniated Disc: This occurs when the soft inner gel of a spinal disc pushes through the tough outer layer and presses on the sciatic nerve. It is one of the most frequent causes of sciatica.
  • Spinal Stenosis: A condition where the spinal canal narrows, compressing the nerves within. This narrowing often occurs due to age-related changes in the spine.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Age-related wear and tear on the discs between the vertebrae can lead to inflammation and nerve compression.
  • Spondylolisthesis: A condition in which a vertebra slips out of place, potentially compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttocks, can sometimes irritate or compress the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica-like symptoms.
  • Trauma or Injury: Direct injury to the lower back or pelvis can damage the sciatic nerve or the surrounding structures, leading to sciatica.
  • Tumors: In rare cases, tumors growing within or near the spine can exert pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Infections: Severe infections affecting the spine or its surrounding tissues can lead to inflammation and compression of the sciatic nerve.

Understanding how the sciatic nerve works and the common causes of sciatica is crucial for identifying what type of doctor to see for sciatica relief. Early recognition and intervention can help manage symptoms effectively and prevent further complications.

When to See a Doctor for Sciatica

In mild cases, sciatica may resolve after a few days of simple at-home care. If you believe you might be suffering from sciatic pain, you should decrease your activity levels, particularly anything that worsens the pain. However, it is not recommended to rest completely; instead, gentle movement and stretching are used to relieve nerve compression. When you experience pain, using ice packs for up to 20 minutes at a time can bring relief of early symptoms, while more persistent pain may respond more fully to heat. Over-the-counter pain medicine may also help when needed.

However, if symptoms do not improve or resolve quickly, it becomes important to visit a medical professional. After a few days of self-care methods, residual pain is an indicator that you should begin looking for clinics in Marietta, GA, that offer specialty care for spinal issues. Additionally, if you experience a complete loss of leg movement or sensation or a loss of bowel and bladder control, you should seek immediate medical attention.

What Type of Doctor Treats Sciatica?

When sciatica persists or becomes severe, it may be necessary to seek care from a spine specialist. Different types of healthcare providers can diagnose and treat sciatica, each with their own area of expertise. If you’re wondering, “What kind of doctor treats sciatica?” then check out the following types of sciatica doctors:


Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who treat musculoskeletal disorders through manual manipulation and other non-invasive techniques. Here’s how a chiropractor can help with sciatica:

  • Perform spinal adjustments to improve healthy alignment and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Use therapeutic techniques, including massage, stretching exercises, and ultrasound therapy to reduce back pain and improve functioning.
  • Provide guidance on ergonomics, posture, and stretches for sciatica to prevent symptoms from returning

Pain Management Specialist

Pain management specialists focus on alleviating chronic pain through a variety of techniques and treatments. For sciatica, a pain management specialist can help:

  • Prescribe pain relief medications tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
  • Use interventional procedures such as epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, or other techniques to reduce inflammation and pain.


A neurologist specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. For sciatica, a neurologist may use the following strategies:

  • Conduct detailed neurological exams to assess nerve function.
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests and nerve conduction studies to pinpoint nerve damage or dysfunction.
  • Prescribe medications to manage nerve pain, like anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or anticonvulsants.
  • Provide non-surgical treatment options, including physical therapy recommendations and lifestyle modifications.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons focus on the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In the context of sciatica, they can:

  • Diagnose the underlying cause of sciatica through physical exams and imaging studies like X-rays and MRIs.
  • Recommend non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, bracing, or injections.
  • Perform surgical procedures if necessary, such as discectomy (removal of a herniated disc) or spinal fusion, to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Collaborate with other specialists to develop comprehensive treatment plans that may include post-surgical rehabilitation.

Treating sciatica often requires a multifaceted approach with the expertise of various healthcare professionals. A comprehensive care approach combines the skills and knowledge of different specialists. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of your sciatica, one or more of these spine specialists may be involved in a patient’s care, ensuring a comprehensive approach to managing and alleviating sciatic pain.

All Spinal Specialists in One Place

At AICA Marietta, we offer a network of practitioners dedicated to your spinal health. With neurologists, chiropractors, and orthopedic doctors on staff, we are able to manage sciatic pain no matter the form it takes or the treatment needed. By addressing all aspects of the condition, from pain relief to rehabilitation and lifestyle changes, this approach aims to not only alleviate symptoms but also prevent future occurrences of sciatica. When you visit our clinics in Marietta, GA, you benefit from a range of spinal specialties that treat your pain holistically. Call us today to begin seeking relief from sciatic pain.


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