How Obesity Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

How Obesity Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

When it comes to pain, few things are as debilitating and disruptive as back pain. In fact, back pain is the top cause of disability worldwide, and in the United States, it affects an estimated 31 million people at any given time.

Back pain can often be chalked up to a muscle strain or ligament sprain. However, at other times, what we refer to as back pain can really be a nerve issue in the lower spine, as is the case with sciatica. And, unfortunately, being overweight or obese can cause sciatica pain and exacerbate it.

In this blog, the highly experienced providers at Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora break down what sciatica is and explain the role weight can play in ramping up sciatica pain.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica isn’t as much of a medical diagnosis as it is a description of a collection of symptoms of an underlying medical condition. An estimated 40% of Americans will suffer from a bout of sciatica during their lifetime, and its frequency tends to increase with age.

The term sciatica is typically used to define radiating pain that moves along the length of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and largest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve starts in your lumbar region — which is your lower spine — and branches down both sides of your body through your buttocks, down the backs of your legs, to the soles of your feet, and finally to your big toes.

Since the sciatic nerve covers such a vast area, it’s no wonder that sciatica and back pain can be confusing to diagnose and treat. What further complicates matters is that sciatica can manifest differently from patient to patient.

Some people can feel radiating pain, while others can have shooting pain or numbness in a leg or hip. Still others can experience debilitating pain. A majority of people suffering from sciatica have symptoms on only one side of the body, but that’s not true for everyone.  

The link between sciatica and body weight

The human spine is truly remarkable. It consists of 33 stacked vertebrae, 23 intervertebral discs, 120 muscles, 100 joints, and about 220 ligaments. When your body is healthy, all the pieces and parts work together beautifully to support pain-free movement, proper balance, and flexibility.

However, if your body carries excess weight, this can lead to excess pressure on your spine and affect your spine’s ability to support you. And these factors, in turn, can cause sciatica and exacerbate its symptoms.

Excess pressure on the spine

Many of the underlying medical conditions associated with sciatica, such as herniated discs, are caused by stress and pressure on the central or ependymal canal, which is a fluid-filled space that runs through the spinal cord.

If you carry excessive weight, it can cause increased pressure along the central canal. As a result, this pressure can push your body’s intervertebral discs — which are the spine’s natural shock absorbers — out of place.

And if this occurs, a disc can pinch the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica pain. This scenario sets up a perfect storm for sciatica pain, as the heavier you are, the more pressure and pain you may suffer.

A reduction in spinal support

If you’re overweight, your spine may tilt and unevenly distribute stress throughout your back. As a result, your back may lose its ability to provide proper support.

This, then, may ultimately lead to an unnatural curvature of your spine. And, the heavier you are, the more dramatic the impact may be to your spine and sciatica symptoms. 

Addressing spinal realignment with corrective chiropractic care

Losing weight and releasing stress and pressure on your spine can greatly improve your sciatica symptoms. However, corrective chiropractic care can also play a leading role by restoring spinal balance and stability.

Here at Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treating sciatica and addressing the complications related to being overweight or obese. We create personalized treatment plans that use an advanced level of corrective chiropractic care called Chiropractic BioPhysics® or CBP, also known as the Ideal Spine Protocol.

Using CBP, we can bring your spine back into a healthy alignment. This, in turn, can allow for better spinal stability and a release of pressure on the affected nerve tissues. In short, advanced chiropractic care can give you relief from your sciatica pain and improve your spine’s functional mobility.

If you have sciatica and are overweight, contact us to learn more about how we can help you get back to feeling better again. We offer a number of natural and noninvasive treatments that can give you relief, such as corrective chiropractic care, massage therapy, functional exercises, and K-Laser treatment. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora today.

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