Sciatica is the common name given to the collection of symptoms caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerves. These are the largest nerves in your body, with one running from the lower spine down each leg. An important indirect factor that contributes to or complicates sciatica is your body mass.
Carrying extra pounds adds a disproportionate amount of force on the lower back, right where sciatica symptoms originate, regardless of where you feel the results. The specialists at MidJersey Orthopaedics can help with treatment, and they may recommend that you start a weight loss program to contribute to long-term relief.
Here’s how your weight affects your sciatica pain.
Increasing the risk
Simply carrying extra pounds puts your spine under considerable stress. This puts pressure directly on the individual components of the spine, including both vertebrae and spinal discs. As you get older, these cushiony discs dry out and lose volume, amplifying the effects of extra weight. Discs can bulge or rupture, placing direct pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Aggravating the symptoms
Your sciatic pain could start for reasons unrelated to your body mass. An awkward movement or sports injury could trigger the pain, or your anatomy may restrict the amount of room through which nerve roots can pass.
When you carry extra weight up front in the abdomen, the pounds pull your body forward, changing your center of gravity and adding force onto the spine in your lower back. This is where the sciatic nerves branch off from the spinal cord. So, regardless of the reason for your sciatica, additional pounds can make your symptoms worse.
Impeding your recovery
Obesity creates higher levels of inflammation in your body. One of the first treatment goals for sciatica seeks to reduce inflammation. This weight-related inflammation could minimize the effects of treatment, prolonging your recovery from symptoms.
Losing a pound of body weight can relieve as much as four pounds of pressure on your body, so any amount of weight loss has a beneficial impact. You may notice significant improvements with even five pounds off your frame.
A range of treatments
MidJersey Orthopaedics provides a wide range of treatment options to help you with sciatica symptoms. We often recommend spine injections to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is an emerging treatment with the ability to speed natural healing using an injection derived from your own blood components.
We can help sciatica cases caused by arthritis or by sports injuries. While the vast majority of sciatica cases will heal naturally with conservative care, we can also provide surgical solutions in those rare cases where other techniques fail to produce sufficient relief.
Every patient has their optimal treatment solution. Schedule your appointment with the nearest location of MidJersey Orthopaedics by phone or online to discover your best options. Relief starts with your first session, so book your visit today.