It’s well-known that obesity is a culprit related to numerous serious health conditions, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. It might surprise you to learn that obesity is also a factor related to the debilitating lower back and leg pain associated with sciatica.
Sought-after integrative medicine expert Dr. Richard Firshein has earned accolades for his balanced approach to treating patients for a wide range of conditions. He believes in whole-patient care and strives to take the best from both Eastern and Western medicine.
His approach to treating your sciatica starts with doing a deep dive into your medical history, examining your lifestyle, and putting together an effective holistic treatment plan that’s designed for you. He can treat your pain, and if you’re carrying extra weight, he can help with that, too.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful condition that affects your sciatic nerves, which connect your spine to your foot and leg muscles. These nerves run all the way from your spinal cord through your buttocks and legs and right into your feet. There’s a sciatic nerve on each side of your body.
Sciatic pain puts many out of commission because it affects so much of your back and lower body due to the location of those nerves. Pain from an aggravated sciatic nerve can radiate from your back all the way down to the bottom of your foot, and it can be excruciating.
An inflamed sciatic nerve imparts many types of pain that you feel on one side of your body. The pain can:
- Follow the sciatic nerve
- Be sharp and sudden or shooting
- Present as leg or foot numbness and tingling
Sciatica can also worsen if you sit for long periods, are generally sedentary, or move your body improperly or suddenly.
Sciatica risk factors
Sciatica occurs when pressure is put on your sciatic nerve, and that can happen for multiple reasons. For some patients, sciatica emanates from a herniated disc, bone spur, or other condition that’s related to performing some types of physical labor, injury, or simply aging, but this unique pain can also be linked to completely controllable lifestyle practices.
Weight, for example, fuels sciatic nerve pain for many patients. If you’re obese or even just overweight, those excess pounds put undue pressure on your spine, which also initiates or exacerbates sciatica. If you’re above a healthy weight, healing from sciatica takes longer too.
The perils of untreated sciatica
Sciatica is difficult to ignore, and there’s definitely a point at which you can start to experience symptoms that are quite serious and medical intervention becomes a must. If sciatica isn’t treated properly or worsens quickly, you may experience:
- Marked leg weakness
- Affected bladder or bowel functions
- Permanent nerve damage
- Severe pain
Ideally, your sciatica does not progress to this point, but for every level of sciatica severity, there are treatment options.
A holistic approach to treating sciatica
Dr. Firshein often prescribes a blend of treatments based on your sciatica’s origin that may include hot and cold compress therapy, anti-inflammatory injections, and osteopathic manipulative treatment.
When weight contributes to your sciatica, however, Dr. Firshein prioritizes realistic lifestyle changes that allow you to shed weight. He employs advanced strategies that might include detox therapy, supplements, and nutritional counseling to help with weight loss, as well as adding physical therapy or low-impact exercise into your routine.
Don’t suffer unnecessarily with sciatica. You can find relief and benefit from Dr. Firshein’s 25-plus years of treating patients with diverse conditions successfully. Please call our office to arrange a consultation, or simply request an appointment online.