Back pain combined with sciatica is the number one cause of temporary disability all over the world. The spine is a complex interconnected system that supports the entire body. Being overweight does not help. Losing weight can help relieve sciatica and prevent future episodes. It can be done through chiropractic health coaching. According to research, overweight individuals have a higher risk of developing sciatica. The more weight the body carries the more stress is placed on the spine and joints, which can irritate/inflame the sciatic nerve.
Causes and Symptoms
To understand how sciatica is affected by the weight of the body one needs to understand how it works. A breakdown of the causes and symptoms.
- The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine, through the glutes, down the back of the thigh, and is attached under the foot.
- The nerve becomes compressed or irritated where it exits the lower spine. This can be caused by a bulging or herniated disc, narrowing of the spinal canal, or bone spurs.
- Symptoms include a sharp pain that spreads out from the low back and down the back of the leg. It also causes tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Indirect Cause Being Overweight
Being overweight can indirectly cause sciatica. When the body has to support added/extra weight it can cause problems. That extra weight also places tremendous stress on the joints, especially those in the spine. The lower back takes most of the force from this stress, which is how sciatica develops. The stress slowly pulls the spine out of alignment and compresses the discs between the vertebrae, which then compresses the sciatic nerve, causing pain and discomfort.
Sciatica and Weight Loss
Keep in mind that weight loss is not a cure for sciatica. Weight loss will surely help relieve sciatica pain but there are other issues at work that are combined with excess weight and are causing sciatica. Weight loss is only a step in the right direction. The most recommended and effective ways to lose weight and relieve sciatica pain is having a healthy diet, exercise, and chiropractic health coaching. Other things that can be done to relieve sciatic nerve pain include:
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- Home remedies
Exercise With Sciatica
Regular exercise will help reduce the symptoms and strengthen the body’s core and leg muscles. There are a variety of things that make sciatica worse like:
- Sitting too much
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Wearing shoes with no support
- Lifting, bending, twisting, reaching, overuse
Exercise is the best antidote to sitting too much and living a sedentary. Exercising with sciatica does not mean a full gym routine but doing the right exercises that will not worsen the condition. The important thing is staying active. Avoiding exercise will only make sciatica worse. For example, yoga is great for sciatica and health in general. A 30-minute session of yoga 3 times a week combined with another form of exercise twice a week can produce optimal results.
Weight training will work with sciatica with certain adjustments and avoiding specific exercises that can cause pain and should be discussed with a doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist depending on the individual’s sciatic condition.
Form and Posture
Weight training form is essential. Practice slow repetitions with special attention to physical form. Proper posture, maintaining a neutral spine, and avoiding rounding the lower back will help avoid worsening sciatica, and prevent further injury/s.
Avoid Overhead and Straight Leg Exercises
Not until the sciatica pain reduces avoid overhead lifting exercises and straight leg exercises, as these can cause flare-ups. Also, avoid intensive abdominal exercises that require doing crunches.
Know The Limits
When sciatica is present, the body is in healing mode, the key is to not overdo it. This exercise is minimal, to help in the recovery process, and strengthen the muscles. Too much exercise can prolong the recovery.
Losing Belly Fat
Losing belly fat with sciatica is possible. But it will take a sustained effort that will be well worth it when sciatica. Losing the fat needs concentration on three things:
Eating whole nutritious foods with plenty of vegetables, and staying away from processed and sugary foods. This is where a health coach and nutritionist can offer the greatest recommendations and develop a customized diet/health plan.
Weight training, yoga, cardio, or a combination of all is probably best. Whatever regimen is chosen the objective to stick with it.
This includes improving posture, workstation set up, adjusting sitting routines, and limiting activities that cause back pain/sciatica.
Chiropractic Health Coaching
The full-body approach outlined is how chiropractic treats sciatica. Chiropractic can relieve the pain quickly with massage, spinal adjustments, and physical therapies. This is why chiropractic health coaching is ideal for those who have a hard time making nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes on their own. Numerous studies show that chiropractic promotes weight loss, reduced pain, improved posture, and increased well being. And it is done in a safe, non-invasive, medication-free way.
Eating Out A Significant Contributor For Weight Gain
When eating out, there is a tendency to consume excess empty calories and increase fat storage. This is why preparing food is so important. It gives the individual direct control over what is being consumed and allows trying out different dietary approaches to see which one works best for improving body composition and gut health. Even for those that don’t enjoy cooking, consult a chiropractic health coach to see what options are available.
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The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2020.) “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet.” www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet
North American Spine Society. (2012.) “Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Lumbar Disc Herniation with Radiculopathy.” www.spine.org/Portals/0/assets/downloads/ResearchClinicalCare/Guidelines/LumbarDiscHerniation.pdf