You were involved in a car accident and over the next few days your lower back starts to hurt. The next thing you know is the pain starts to travel into your buttocks, then down the back of your leg, and then into your foot.
You go to your family physician and she tells you that you have sciatica. She gives you some anti-inflammatory medications, pain pills and tells you to take it easy for a few days.
The medication really doesn't help. You can't find a comfortable position at night so sleep is out of the question. During the day, you have to change positions frequently because you are not able to stay in one position too long. If you sit, your butt starts to cramp. If you stand, the pain or numbness shoots down your leg. What is going on?
The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is a pretty large nerve that gets its nerve supply from the two bottom lumbar (low back) nerves (L4&L5) and two sacral nerves (S1&S2). The nerve travels through the pelvis, into the buttock, down the back of the thigh, into the calf and then into the foot. The sciatic nerve carriers motor information to the muscles of the lower extremity and sensory information from the lower extremity up to the spinal cord and eventually into the sensory cortex of the brain.
How Does the Sciatic Nerve Get Pinched?
Anything along the long and winding route of the sciatic nerve can compress the nerve. The nerve can be injured by the following:
- fracture of a vertebrae
- fracture of the sacrum
- fracture of a pelvic bone
- herniated or bulging disc in the lower back
- spasm of the piriformis muscle
- spasms of other muscles in lower back, pelvis, or thigh
Sciatic Nerve Injury Has Many Names
Your doctor may call your sciatic nerve problem and of the following:
- herniated disc
- lumbar radiculopathy
- lumbar radiculitis
- pinched nerve
Properly treating a sciatic nerve injury
The key to properly treating sciatica is diagnosing the cause of the compression. For instance, if the sciatic compression is coming from muscle spasms, like piriformis spasm, physical therapy, muscle relaxers and stretching can alleviate the condition. However, if the compression is from a herniated disc, then treatment can range from chiropractic manipulation, to epidural injections (injecting a steroid in a space where the nerve runs out of the back) to surgical decompression. Typically, treatment of sciatica from a disc herniation starts with conservative care and then moves to more invasive treatment, if the patient doesn't show a positive response to treatment.
What is a sciatic nerve injury worth?
It is not proper to value a case based on the diagnosis. The question that always has to be asked is “how does the diagnosis impact the client?” Florida car accident law is governed by Florida's no-fault auto law. The value of your sciatic nerve injury case will depend on a number of factors that can include:
- The nature and extent of the injury causing the sciatica;
- The type of treatment that you received for your injuries;
- The amount of your medical expenses;
- How the sciatic nerve injury impacted your life;
- The nature and extent of any future medical needs; and
- Whether your condition resolved
Under Florida no-fault law, in order to receive money for pain and suffering damages, the injured person has to prove that the accident caused on the following: (1) a permanent injury; (2) loss of an important bodily function; or (3) scaring.
If you have any questions about a sciatic nerve injury after an accident, you can always give me a call.