Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, so it stands to reason that it could cause you some problems. In fact, 40% of people have to deal with sciatica — pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve — at some point during their life.
If you’re overweight, that pain is more intense. At Beeson Wellness Center in Portland, Oregon, we care about your overall wellness, and we want to help you overcome your pain. In that light, here’s a look at what causes sciatica, how your weight affects your pain, and what you can do to get better.
What is sciatica?
Your sciatic nerve branches out at your lower spinal cord and runs down through each of your hips and buttocks, down your legs, and out to your big toes. Sciatica most commonly happens when a herniated disc or narrow spot in your spinal canal (a condition called spinal stenosis) presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain, inflammation, and numbness.
The pain usually only affects one side of your body. It can occur anywhere along the path of the nerve, and it can even be mixed, such as pain in your back and numbness in your legs.
How does your weight affect your sciatica?
This is basic physics: Any force that applies more pressure to your back, pelvis, and legs causes your pain to be more intense. Every extra pound of weight you carry adds four pounds of compression force to your joints. For instance, if you’re 50 pounds overweight, that’s an extra 200 pounds of pressure pushing down on you.
The conclusion is clear. The more you weigh, the worse your sciatica symptoms are. The more weight you can lose, the greater your relief from symptoms.
How can you relieve the pain of sciatica?
If you’re overweight and have sciatica, you face a difficult dilemma. The more weight you lose, the more your pain subsides, but it’s hard to exercise to lose weight because you’re in pain. The best way out of this vicious cycle is to get on a program of pain management and therapy so you can gradually lose weight and relieve your symptoms.
At Beeson Wellness Center, our team of experts has years of experience helping people of all shapes and sizes with sciatica. We want to treat the underlying cause of your pain, not just the symptoms, so the first step is a comprehensive evaluation, including diagnostic imaging, to determine the cause.
Once we have this information, we create a custom treatment plan to relieve your pain and restore you to full function and better overall health. Our holistic treatment approach may include chiropractic adjustments, trigger point injections, physical therapy, exercise routines to help you lose weight, naturopathic medicine, and more.
Don’t let your sciatica claim one more day of your life. Fight back by calling Beeson Wellness Center to set up your initial consultation and begin your journey to becoming pain-free.