What are the risk factors for sciatica?
Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, beginning in your lower back before branching off and running down each of your legs. If the nerve gets impinged at any point along this path, it can lead to a host of symptoms including pain, numbness, decreased range of motion and an inability to walk with a normal gait. If you’re cognizant about some of the risk factors that can increase your risk of sciatic nerve impingement, you can take some steps to mitigate your risk of sciatica. We highlight those factors from kings park chiropractic clinic near me.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle or sitting for extended periods each day can increase your risk of sciatic nerve impingement. When you’re seated for long periods, a large amount of static pressure is expressed on your lumbar spine, as this can lead to inflammation and tissue degeneration. Stay active and break up long periods of inactivity to decrease your sciatic nerve compression risk.
Lack a strong core
Your “core” are the muscles of your back and abdomen. The stronger your core, the more support you’ll have for your lower back. Unlike your chest area, where your rib cage provides support, the only support for your lower back is your muscles.
Unfortunately, your sciatica risk may be tied to your genetics, which you can’t control. That said, you’re also not destined to have sciatica simply because your mother or father suffered from the condition. A number of spinal conditions like degenerative disc disorder and spinal stenosis that can increase your risk of sciatica have a genetic component, but you can work to counter this genetic risk by living an active lifestyle and working to improve your overall spine health.
Have an active, physical job
Jobs that require heavy lifting may increase your risk of low back problems and use of your back, or jobs with prolonged sitting may increase your risk of low back problems.
If you are obese or overweight, more pressure will be dispersed on your lumbar spine when you’re seated. Over time, this pressure can lead to inflammation that affects the sciatic nerve or vertebral degeneration that causes bone shifting and nerve impingement. Losing just a little weight can take a lot of pressure off your lumbar spine and sciatic nerve.
The nicotine in tobacco can damage spinal tissue, weaken bones, and speed the wearing down of vertebral disks.
Here’s one of those factors that despite your best efforts, you’re not going to be able to control. Sciatica is much more common in individuals over the age of 50 because by this age, many people have experienced natural spinal degeneration. When spinal discs lose their height due to normal wear and tear, they are more prone to shifting and nerve compression.
Diabetes increases your chance of nerve damage, which increases your chance of sciatica.
Have an injury/previous injury
An injury to your lower back or spine puts you at greater risk for sciatica.
Osteoarthritis can cause damage to your spine and put nerves at risk of injury.
With normal aging comes a natural wearing down of bone tissue and disks in your spine. Normal aging can put your nerves at risk of being injured or pinched by the changes and shifts in bone, disks and ligaments.
The presence of these risk factors alone does not establish the cause for sciatica development. However, these factors combined with an individual’s age and general health may play a role in causing sciatica to develop.
It is advisable to see a doctor from kings park chiropractic clinic if sciatica symptoms are experienced. Sciatica typically improves considerably if treated early and may become chronic or more severe if left untreated for a long time.
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