Ah, sciatica risk factors! Aren’t those just lovely? Just another thing you wanted to add to your pregnancy worry list! Although sciatica risk factors are almost as unpleasant to talk about as the sciatica itself, it is important that you learn whether your odds of having a sciatica pregnancy are greater than most. Why, oh why would you want to know ahead of time that lower back and buttocks pain is just around the corner of your pregnancy? Ignorance is bliss, is it not? Let me put it this way: if you know that you have a greater chance of experiencing sciatica before that baby is on its way, you may be able to prevent a sciatica nightmare. Stay back, sciatica!
Prior medical conditions, age, occupation, general inactivity, smoking, the amount of babies you are having and if you’ve experienced sciatica in a previous pregnancy all put you at risk for sciatica. While that list of risk factors cover many of the bases, one question remains: can obesity cause sciatica? Take a look for yourself.
Can Obesity Cause Sciatica?
Obesity can lead to a sciatica pregnancy. Here’s what happens:
- Obesity can damage your spine, as the extra weight may put too much stress on your spinal discs thus weakening them and making spinal injury more likely (herniated discs, osteoarthritis of the spine, lordosis, etc.)
- Pregnancy only adds more weight exactly where your spine does not want it (frontloading! oh, that baby bump!), straining the spine even more
- An already stressed spine that becomes more stressed from your pregnancy pounds only predisposes you for sciatica even more: one side effect of many spinal injuries is that they put pressure on the sciatic nerve
Obesity-Related Medical Conditions that Affect the Spine
Excess weight puts you more at risk for these medical problems:
- herniated disc
- pinched nerves and piriformis syndrome (the spaces between the bones in your back can become filled with your extra weight)
- osteoarthritis of the spine