How Your Weight Affects Your Sciatica Pain

If you have sciatica — that shooting pain that starts in your low back, shoots through your bottom, and runs down your leg — you’ve probably tried everything to ease your symptoms. One thing you may have overlooked is your weight.

At Pro Rehab, our team of specialists knows that being overweight or obese can cause a plethora of health problems, even sciatica. Here are three ways the extra pounds you’re carrying can affect your sciatic nerve pain.

Extra weight can increase your risk of sciatica

When you’re overweight, your spine is under considerable stress. The more stress your spine has to withstand, the more pressure it puts on the individual components, such as your vertebrae and discs. Over time, those cushiony discs give out under the weight and bulge out of place, putting direct pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Extra weight can worsen your symptoms of sciatica

Certain things can trigger your sciatica pain, including carrying a chunky wallet or phone in your back pocket, which puts pressure on your piriformis muscle and may pinch your sciatic nerve. Wearing high heels can also lead to sciatic pain, because they force your body forward, making you flex your hips and hamstrings, and potentially compress your sciatic nerve. 

Being overweight, especially if you carry it in your stomach, also pulls your body forward and can have the same effect as wearing stilettos. The difference is that you can take the shoes off and stop the pain. Losing weight will have the same impact, it just takes longer to accomplish. 

Extra weight can impede your recovery from sciatica

Obesity causes inflammation, and inflammation causes pain. One of the first steps in your treatment for sciatica is to reduce inflammation. Our team can help relieve your pain with gentle chiropractic adjustments that can quell swelling, rehabilitative exercises, and pain prevention measures, but if you’re overweight, these will all be more difficult.

If you follow a healthy diet and exercise program and begin to lose weight, you will notice an immediate improvement in your sciatica pain. The inflammation in your body will decrease and your ability to heal will increase.

How chiropractic medicine can help your sciatica

Dr. Nicole Stoessel and our team specialize in noninvasive, drug-free pain relief, and we can help you get a handle on your sciatica pain. As you work toward losing weight to aid in your recovery, we come alongside you with effective physical therapy, massage therapy, manual adjustments, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound technology — whatever you need to stop your pain and address the root of its cause. 

If you’re carrying some extra weight and experiencing sciatica pain, visit us at one of our locations in Wilmington, Newark, Middletown or Lewes or call or book an appointment online today.

Dr. James Sheehan Dr. James Sheehan is an expert in the treatment of neck and back pain.

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