How Your Weight Affects Your Sciatica

You stand up and there it is: Sharp pain strikes your lower back and radiates down your thigh. It tingles a bit, you shake it off, and move on. If this happens often, you might be dealing with sciatica — and if you’re overweight, your own body weight might be a primary cause. 

Our experts at Integrated Body and Medicine in Highland, Indiana, treat patients with sciatica on a regular basis. They’ve seen it all, and they want you to know that losing weight could be the simplest (and least invasive) way for you to get rid of sciatica pain for good. 

What is sciatica? 

Sciatica is a type of neurological pain that occurs when your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed. The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in your body: It starts in your pelvic region (your sacrum, to be specific) and travels all the way down your legs and into your feet. 

You technically only have one sciatic nerve, but it branches into both legs. 

When this large nerve becomes inflamed, irritated, or compressed, it can cause an array of unpleasant symptoms, including radiating pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness. Sciatica typically only affects one side of your body because of the nature of the nerve. 

How weight affects sciatica

Excess body weight is just one of many unsuspecting causes of sciatica pain. 

Being overweight may directly contribute to sciatica pain because the excess weight puts more pressure on your spine. Too much pressure on your spine may cause compression or irritation of your sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica. 

Being overweight might indirectly contribute to sciatica-like pain by causing herniated discs, radiculopathy, piriformis syndrome, or pinched nerves in your pelvic region. 

Can losing weight help with sciatica?

Yes, losing weight can certainly help with sciatica. In fact, losing weight can resolve sciatica in some cases. Because excess body weight puts so much pressure on your spine, it makes sense that losing this excess weight relieves some pressure, thus alleviating pain. 

How to start losing weight 

The two main components of successful weight loss are physical activity and diet. To lose weight and keep it off, you should eat fewer calories than you burn (put yourself in a calorie deficit) and exercise regularly. 

Staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels can also help with your weight loss efforts.

If you’re ready to get rid of sciatica for good, schedule an appointment with us at Integrated Body and Medicine today by calling our Highland, Indiana, office or by booking an appointment through our online system.

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