A physiatrist, a doctor who focuses on functional movement and proper biomechanics, is the best person to recommend exercises and treatment for your sciatic nerve pain.

About sciatica

What is sciatica?

Sciatica (sciatic nerve pain) isn’t actually a diagnosis, but a symptom. It can strike anyone, but people in their 40s and 50s are more likely to experience this sharp, sudden pain that radiates down one buttock and into the leg, foot or even the toes.

The pain can be described as intense, burning or shooting. For many people it literally stops them in their tracks and they describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever felt.

Radiating pain

Pain from the sciatic nerve is extremely common and likely results from compression on a disc in the lower back (lumbar spine,) a herniated or bulging disc, or from the pressure of a bone spur, which is a bony growth that is often part of the degenerative process of aging.

Other symptoms that you may have with sciatic nerve pain are:

• Numbness
• Weakness
• Difficulty walking or an abnormal gait
• Tingling in the feet and/or toes
• Hip pain
• Lower back pain

What you can do for sciatica (sciatic nerve pain)

Sciatica (neuralgia) often resolves on its own. Here are some things you can try at home::

Cold compress for the first 24 hours (20 minutes on/off)
• Heat compress for the next 24 hours (20 minutes on/off)
• Over the counter medication such as NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve)
• Taking a very brief period of bedrest – no more than a day or so
• Resume walking and other movement as soon as possible to increase blood flow and speed healing of sciatica.

What if self-care isn’t enough?

Sciatica (neuralgia) often resolves on its own. Here are some things you can try at home::

If you find after a few months that you are still suffering, or the nerve pain is getting worse, Dr. Esparza MD will examine you and diagnose your condition.

He may prescribe:

• Muscle relaxants or pain relievers
• Physical therapy
• Gentle exercise (non-weight bearing) as supervised by the doctor or physical therapist

What if I am still in pain?

If non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy and medication do not alleviate your sciatica, Dr. Esparza may recommend:

  • Epidural Steroid Interlaminar Injection (ESI). ESI is used to calm inflammation and reduce pain from a sciatic nerve flare up. Injections are performed in Dr. Esparza’s MD office. The skin and tissue at the injection site will be numbed, then medication is injected into the epidural space around the irritated nerves in your lumbar spine where the sciatic nerve originates. The injection calms the inflammation and reduces pain. It takes 2-7 days to feel the full effects and while every patient is different, you may find relief lasts for months.


  • Sacroiliac Joint Injection. If Dr. Esparza MD determines that your sciatica is caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction, he might recommend a Sacroiliac Joint Injection with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. The procedure is guided by X-ray to insure accurate placement of the medication. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation so that a course of rehabilitation (physical therapy) can begin.

Helping Maintain a Healthy Back


Unfortunately, a great deal of the lower back and sciatic nerve pain we experience is due to the normal effects of aging, but we can blame a lot of our suffering on our sedentary lifestyles.

Keeping fit and moving regularly can go a long way to keeping your back healthy.
If you have the type of job that keeps you at a desk all day, be sure to take hourly breaks. Keeping muscles and joints loose and lubricated help prevent sciatica or low back pain.

If you get a stiff or painful neck or spasms in your shoulders, set your computer at a comfortable height so that your arms are at a 45-degree angle to the keyboard and your eyes look straight ahead or upward slightly when looking at the screen.

Taking care to align your body properly and to move frequently will protect your neck, upper and lower back and help with strain and pain.

Everyone in the office is so nice, and always so helpful. 
When I started being seen in the office I was in a lot of pain. They have helped me feel better, and gave me hope that I would some day be the old me. 
Lala R.

Get in Touch

If you have pain, there is hope for relief. Contact Dr. Carlos Esparza’s MD Office today for an appointment. Most major Insurances and Workers’ Compensation of New Mexico accepted call us at 505-242-1711 and speak with our scheduler for more information



3846 Masthead St. NE Albuquerque, NM 87109