How Your Weight Affects Your Sciatica Pain

Chronic pain from sciatica may develop after an injury to your lower spine or due to a degenerative disease – but did you know persistent sciatica pain can also be the result of your weight?

As a spinal expert and orthopedic surgeon, Gbloahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, understands how disruptive sciatica pain can be in your life and your job. He also understands how your body weight plays a role in your chronic pain.

Understanding sciatica

Sciatica is a type of pain that occurs when there is pressure on or damage to your sciatic nerve. This nerve travels from your lower back, into your buttocks, and down each of your legs.

Pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve can be the result of an infection, direct trauma, or due to age-related changes that cause your spinal canal to narrow, a condition known as spinal stenosis. Sciatic pain is often caused by:

Pregnant women may also develop sciatica during a pregnancy when the fetus presses on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic nerve pain can be persistent or can come and go with certain movements. Often, after a sneeze, cough, or other sudden movement, you’ll experience a sudden jolt of pain that feels like an electric shock. Back pain can also feel like a burning sensation or you may experience numbness or tingling in your legs that affects your mobility.

Why weight matters in sciatic treatment

When you’re overweight or obese, the additional pounds you carry put additional pressure on your entire body, including your spine.

Your lumbar, or lower, spine takes the brunt of the excess weight. The vertebrae in your lumbar spine may ultimately become damaged or collapse under this constant pressure.

People who carry extra weight are also susceptible to developing chronic diseases that cause premature wearing out of your spinal joints, such as osteoarthritis. These types of diseases can lead to spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, and other conditions that put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Being overweight and having sciatica pain can become a vicious cycle. The extra weight and persistent pain make it difficult for you to stay active. Not being able to move limits what kind of exercise you can do, which can lead to additional weight problems and even more severe sciatica-related pain.

Focusing on weight loss in sciatic treatments

Dr. Okubadejo offers customized treatments for sciatic pain, tailoring your plan to address your specific needs. His overall goal is to ease your pain, so you can stay mobile. Your mobility is vital for ensuring you can engage in physical activity and daily exercise.

Initially, medications or epidural injections may be used to reduce inflammation and address persistent pain. Once you’re feeling better, Dr. Okubadejo can provide recommendations and resources to help you effectively and safely lose weight.

Weight loss further amplifies the benefits of your treatment for sciatica. Carrying less weight puts less pressure on your sciatic nerve and your spine in general. By achieving a healthy body weight, you can finally break the cycle of sciatic pain and weight issues, ensuring you find long-term relief of pain while improving your overall health.

If you’re limited in what you can do or find it difficult to lose weight because of chronic sciatica pain, schedule a consultation at The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care today using the online booking feature or by calling the office. 


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