Sciatica is a painful condition that affects your lower back, buttock, and leg on one side, limiting your daily life activities. While up to 80% of adults in the United States report dealing with back pain at some point in their lives, there are several factors that make you more vulnerable to developing sciatica.
Here is a list of five factors that can increase your risk of developing sciatica and ways to reduce your risk.
- Prolonged Sitting with Bad Posture – Prolonged sitting with bad posture can compress your sciatic nerve, especially in the lumbar region, making you more vulnerable to irritating the sciatic nerve roots in the area. This prolonged sitting can cause alignment problems in your spine, particularly at the lower end, which bears most of your sitting weight. A slumped posture or favoring leaning in one direction over the other can also cause nerve compression and sciatica. Sitting up straight and taking frequent breaks to stretch and move your back throughout the day can reduce your risk of developing sciatica.
- Being Overweight or Obese – Being overweight or obese places pressure on your musculoskeletal structure, which wasn’t made to handle the load, causing your spine to compress and irritate the nerves in the area, including the sciatic nerve in your lower back. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can reduce the load on your spine and reduce your risk of developing sciatica.
- Wearing High-Heeled Shoes – High-heeled shoes can affect the alignment in your hips and back, compromising your sciatic nerve by throwing your balance forward. Lowering your heels and wearing shoes with good cushioning and support are great ways to stave off back pain and reduce your risk of developing sciatica.
- Heavy Lifting at Work – If your work involves a fair amount of lifting and rotating, you need to do everything you can to protect your lower back. Unduly taxing this area, day in and day out, can lead to inflammation that irritates your sciatic nerve. Wearing a back brace, getting your knees more involved, and strengthening the areas you’re stressing can help handle the workload and reduce your risk of developing sciatica.
- Aging – As you get older, your bones lose density, and the discs that separate your vertebrae lose moisture content, causing them to rupture or deflate, leading to a herniated or ruptured disc, which is the leading cause of a pinched nerve and sciatica. Although there is little you can do about aging, you can maintain good overall health by noting the other four factors above, reducing your risks of developing sciatica.
Sciatica is a debilitating condition that can significantly limit your daily activities. Knowing the factors that increase your risk of developing sciatica and taking steps to reduce these risks can help prevent the condition.
If you experience sciatica, please don’t hesitate to call KB Chiropractic at (518) 380-2432 to learn more about the tools and treatments we offer to provide relief.