Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Sciatica is pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. The pain of sciatica is sometimes referred to as sciatic nerve pain.
While sciatica is most commonly a result of a lumbar disc herniation directly pressing on the
nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic
nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. This irritation of nerves as a result of an abnormal intervertebral disc is referred to as radiculopathy. Aside from a pinched nerve from a disc, other causes of sciatica include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes. Sometimes sciatica can occur because of irritation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy.
Picture of a herniated disc, a common cause of sciatica
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 1/30/2013
Epidural Cortisone Injections for Sciatica From Herniated Disc...Beneficial?
A majority of patients with sciatica from disc herniation
have resolution of their pain with various conservative measures,
including antiinflammatory and muscle-relaxant medications, exercises,
physical therapy, and time. However, some 10%-15% of affected
patients require surgical procedures to relieve the pain.