How Your Weight Affects Your Sciatica Pain

Medically Reviewed by NJ Spine & Orthopedic on October 28, 2023
Extra weight is a common cause of sciatic pain. The link between obesity and sciatica becomes a real concern when you factor in that 34% of the U.S. adult population is obese.
If you’re struggling with sciatica pain and you believe your weight may be contributing to this pain, it’s in your best interest to sit down with a skilled pain specialist who can tailor a treatment plan based on your individual needs. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you treat your sciatica pain, and our Concierge Team can streamline your appointments.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition where your sciatic nerve, the long nerve that passes down your spine into your bottom and legs, becomes irritated. This irritation leads to numbness, weakness, and pain. When it comes to sciatica pain, chances are the symptoms you experience will come from your lower back and spread down your legs. Joint inflammation and irritation may accompany these symptoms.

Excess Weight’s Effect on Sciatica Pain

No matter what the cause of your sciatica is, compressed nerves are the common denominator. If your spine condition clamps down on your sciatic nerve, you’ll feel a radiating, burning pain through your bottom straight down your leg.

The heavier you are, the more pressure this weight will place on all parts of your body, including your spine. Your spine and joints are actually subjected to four extra pounds of force for each excess pound of weight that you carry. What this means is your sciatic nerve won’t do well and it may be hard to alleviate your nerve pain.

Surgical and Non-Surgical Sciatica Pain Treatments

Surgery is frequently used as an effective sciatica pain treatment approach. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Many individuals find relief with non-surgical treatment options, while others require surgical interventions to provide them with relief from sciatic nerve compression.  A highly-trained pain specialist will find the best treatment option for you.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Sciatica Pain

Pain specialists generally have patients first try non-surgical treatment options to ease their sciatica pain before recommending surgery. These treatment options may include:

  • Medication: The doctor might prescribe you a pain reliever to help alleviate your pain and decrease inflammation. This solution is short-term and is meant for immediate pain relief.
  • Physical Therapy: A physiotherapist will evaluate the different factors that contribute to your pain. They’ll then provide a recommendation for stretches and exercises that may help reduce inflammation and strengthen your muscles.
  • Exercise and Diet Changes: Your doctor can help you determine the best exercise and diet routine to become healthier while reducing pain. 
  • Massage Therapy: You can get some pain relief with a combination of massage therapy and chiropractic treatment. These treatments help to loosen your muscles and improve spinal function.

There are countless sciatica treatment options without the need for surgery. However, surgery may become the only viable solution after non-surgical options have proven to be ineffective or your pain becomes worse. Your doctor will diagnose your condition and identify the cause behind your pain before they determine the best possible intervention.

Surgical Treatment Options for Sciatica Pain

Once non-surgical approaches have been found to be ineffective, surgery will then be considered. There are a number of surgical procedures that can help effectively treat sciatica pain, including:

  • Laminectomy: This surgery helps relieve sciatic nerve pressure by removing the lamina.
  • Microdiscectomy: With this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon removes a small portion of the herniated disc that is pressing on your nerve. They’ll suggest surgery if your sciatic pain is due to a lumbar disc herniation.
  • Laminoforaminotomy: This procedure is a minimally invasive approach where the surgeon performs both a foraminotomy and a laminectomy. 

The type of surgery you receive will depend on the cause and location of your pain. Your doctor will help decide on the best possible procedure for your symptoms.

Contact NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today to Speak with One of Our Sciatica Pain Specialists

Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our pain surgeons will pursue all possible non-surgical approaches before we consider surgery. Severe cases of sciatica pain will likely require surgery. However, since surgery for sciatica pain isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy, our pain specialists will create a highly individualized surgical plan for your sciatica pain.

Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, not only will we provide you with a diagnosis of your condition, but we’ll also take your specific needs, pain, and goals into consideration to ensure that we customize a treatment plan that is specific to you, which could include losing excess weight that is affecting your sciatica pain. Call our office today at (866) 553-0612 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment with a highly-skilled sciatica pain specialist.

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