Are You at Risk of Developing Sciatica?

Sciatica, the collection of symptoms caused by sciatic nerve compression, is a common spine issue. In fact, up to 40% of Americans experience sciatica at some point during their lives. Do you know the risk factors for sciatica? Many of them are under your control.

At Spine & Pain Institute of Florida in Lakeland, Florida, Dr. Navdeep Jassal, our board-certified pain management specialist, offers expert diagnosis and treatment for sciatica. We can relieve your sciatica pain and other symptoms and help you get back to your regular activities. We can also help you reduce your chances of developing this painful condition. 

Sciatica risk factors

Sciatica occurs when something compresses your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and splits to descend down both sides of your buttocks and into your legs, ending near your ankles. 

Some of the common risk factors for sciatica include:

Excess weight

Your spine supports your upper body weight. If, like more than 70% of Americans, you’re overweight or obese, those extra pounds put additional stress on your spine. This can increase your risk of lower back injuries and other problems that contribute to sciatica. 

By making some lifestyle adjustments to lose weight, you can reduce several risk factors for sciatica.

Sedentary lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle also increases your risk of sciatica. Spending all of your time sitting down increases pressure on your lower back and hips. More active people are less likely to develop sciatica than sedentary people. 

Getting up and moving around throughout the day and aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can help reduce your risk of sciatica. Exercise can also help you lose a few pounds, lessening other risk factors. 

Certain occupations

Your job can also contribute to your risk of sciatica. If you spend hours sitting at a desk or behind the wheel of a vehicle every day or if you have a physically demanding job, you create stress on your lower spine, which can lead to injuries that trigger sciatica. 

Having diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes is a common cause of nerve damage. Additionally, continuously elevated blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels that supply your nerves with oxygen and nutrients, which contributes to nerve damage. While diabetic neuropathy usually starts in your feet, it can also affect your sciatic nerve. If you have diabetes, work with your trusted physician to get your condition under control with diet, exercise, and medication.

Getting older

As you age, your body changes. For example, the discs that cushion and support your vertebrae become thin, dry, and vulnerable to injury. You’re more likely to experience osteoarthritis as the cartilage that protects your joints wears away, which can lead to bone spur growth and inflammation. Herniated discs and arthritis are common causes of sciatica.

While you can’t stop the passage of time, you can take steps to protect your spine health at every age. Eat a nutritious diet to maintain a healthy weight, drink plenty of water, and stay active. These simple lifestyle habits reduce many of the risk factors for sciatica. 

If you notice back pain, make an appointment to talk with Dr. Jassal right away. Often, when you start treatment early, you can reduce the pain and disruption to your life. 

If you’re concerned about your sciatica risk or you already have symptoms, give our office a call or make an appointment online today for personalized treatment and advice.

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