Back Pain

Manhattan Orthopedics

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Midtown West, New York, NY & Astoria, NY

Nearly everyone experiences back pain at some point, but the pain in your lower back that radiates into your leg may be a sign of lumbar radiculopathy, also known as sciatica. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist Vikas V. Varma, MD, provides nonsurgical and surgical treatments for back pain at Manhattan Orthopedics, located in Midtown Manhattan, near Central Park and Columbus Circle. To find relief from your back pain, call our office or schedule an appointment online today.

Back Pain Q & A

What causes back pain?

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work or visit the doctor. Most back pain is short term, but back pain that persists for more than 12 weeks is considered chronic. 

A variety of conditions lead to back pain, including:

  • Muscle strains and ligament sprains
  • Herniated discs
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Radiculopathy, also called a pinched nerve, is a common cause of back pain. When radiculopathy affects your lower back, it may irritate your sciatic nerve and lead to sciatica. 

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a type of radiculopathy that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that branches from your lumbar spine and travels down each leg. Sciatica causes pain that radiates from your lower back to your buttocks and down the back of one leg. 

The pain associated with sciatica varies from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation. Sometimes, sciatica feels like an electric shock. Sciatica usually only affects one side of your body. 

In extreme cases, sciatica causes other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness in one leg or foot. You may have pain in one area of your leg and tingling in another. 

What causes sciatica?

The most common causes of sciatica are herniated discs in the lumbar spine or bony growths that develop on the vertebrae, known as bone spurs. If a herniated disc or bone spur presses on the sciatic nerve, sciatica may result.  

How is back pain diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Varma reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. He may perform tests, such as an X-ray or MRI scan, to diagnose the cause of your back pain. 

Dr. Varma then develops an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs. Depending on the cause of your back pain, treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Medications

If nonsurgical treatments fail to improve your back pain, surgery may be necessary. Dr. Varma is a highly trained spine surgeon who has expertise in minimally invasive procedures. He may perform a discectomy to remove herniated disc material and relieve pressure on a nerve. 

For the highest quality care of back pain, call Manhattan Orthopedics or schedule an appointment online today.