OPA treats a wide variety of back conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is one of the most common causes of lower back and lower extremity pain. Sciatica is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve—the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve runs through the lower back, buttock, thigh, and leg muscles. Symptoms usually only present on one side of the body.

Common Causes:

    • Lumbar herniated disc(s)
    • Lumbar spinal stenosis
    • Degenerative disc disease
    • Spondylolisthesis

In most severe cases:

    • Fractures
    • Herniated Disc
    • Infection

Symptoms you should look for:

    • Sharp, radiating pain
    • Burning
    • Weakness
    • Numbness and tingling
    • Pain increases while sitting or standing

When you arrive for your initial consultation, Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of spine specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing back pain, The OPA Spine Team:

    • Obtain a complete medical history
    • Perform a physical examination
    • Order and analyze X-ray, MRI, and CT Scan

Common Treatments:

At Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA), our Board Certified Spine Specialists receive extensive training specifically in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones and soft tissues of the spine. Our skilled specialists can diagnose, treat, and help prevent common and complex concerns of the entire spine. OPA’s Spine Team can address your condition with our selection of physicians who focus on issues concerning spine and pain management.

Sciatica can be hard to diagnose by yourself to determine its origin. The OPA Spine Team takes special precautions to ensure that your condition is properly diagnosed.


In cases where nonsurgical treatments have not resolved the symptoms of sciatica, our Board- Certified and Fellowship-Trained Orthopedic Spine Surgeons may discuss the option of a surgical procedure. Unlike in years past, most spinal procedures can now be performed using a minimally invasive approach that requires only a small incision and significantly expedites recovery time. 

There are several Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery options for sciatica, the goal for any of these procedures is to remove the herniated portion of the disc(s), spinal bones or other structures to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves.

Surgical intervention is necessary for the sciatica only when other treatments have not provided adequate pain relief or if the condition is severe enough to warrant an operation.

Most symptoms of a sciatica will go away in 4 to 6 weeks. However, severe injuries may take longer to heal completely.


A removable back brace.

Oral medications decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy

One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

Schedule Appointment with Our Spine Team

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