How Your Weight Affects Sciatica Pain

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest one in your body, and extends from your lower back, through the buttocks and down into each leg. Many people describe any low back pain as sciatica, but it’s a very specific condition that involves the sciatic nerve being pinched or pushed on. The pain can be so debilitating and intense that you’ll do anything you can to stop it. Losing weight needs to be part of your plan.

At Failed Back Surgery in Weatherford, Texas, we’ll look at all the possible causes of your sciatic pain. It’s important to remember that sciatica is not a condition itself, but a symptom of other issues. Scott Smith, MD addresses those problems, conservatively at first, and gives you a healthy plan to lose weight. Unfortunately, if your pain continues and you get no relief, surgery will be the next option.

Extra weight means extra sciatic pain

When the sciatic nerve is compressed, often due to a herniated disc, bone spur, or stenosis, you’ll have pain that radiates into your buttocks and legs. You may also experience burning, inflammation, sharp and shooting pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs and feet. While age and sitting too much can impact sciatic pain, being overweight and especially obese puts a lot more stress on your spine.

Sometimes you have no control over weight gain. An average size woman gains 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and this puts immense pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve. 50-80% of women who are pregnant experience back pain.

Exercise and weight loss can alleviate your back pain

Dr. Scott will do everything to prevent you from having back surgery. We’ll start conservatively with pain management, spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and physical therapy. We’ll advise you on weight loss and the proper way to stretch and exercise.

Getting rid of your belly takes pounds of stress off your spine. Regular exercise strengthens your core (abdomen and low back muscles), which helps avoid injury and can eliminate or lessen sciatic nerve issues. Being overweight affects your posture and body mechanics,  which can also put stress on your spine and sciatic nerve.

If you sit a lot, get up and stretch often and be constantly aware of your posture. If you lift heavy weights at work, or while you doing chores around the house, make sure you use your legs and not your back.

When sciatica is the sign of something more serious

Come in to see us if your back pain isn’t getting better with at-home treatments or if it’s lasted for over a week. Sciatica can be mild and go away if you receive care, but if you don’t, it can become a chronic condition. No one wants to live with constant pain.

If the pain is sudden and severe, and your legs or feet go numb, or if you’ve been in a serious accident and your pain is extreme, you need to get into the office right away. If back pain is accompanied by losing control over your bladder or bowels, this is an emergency.

There are things you have control over, and things you don’t. Don’t let extra weight or obesity be the cause of more health issues like sciatic pain. Lose weight and help your back. Call us or use the handy request online tool so we can get you on a treatment plan, and get you the relief from sciatica you so desperately need.

What Our Patients Say

He did an awesome job on my husbands back who had back pain for yrs from a previous bad back surgery. I would highly recommend this Dr!


Dr Smith did my fusion surgery on L5,S1 in 2007..what was supposed to be a 2 Hr surgery ended up being 5 - 6 Hrs. You see first of all my bone unexpectedly broke and also he found I had a rare bouble set of nerves that he said that any other Dr would have cut them off..but he stuck in there and re routed those nerves around my new hardware. What a great decision he made because he did wonderful. He went that extra mile for me and probably save me from more debilitating pain in yrs to come. I'm seeing him again for a surgery consult on my neck and thoracic spine next month. I know I'm in good hands. My bones are brittle and he knows this I'm hoping he can help me again. Great Dr.

Lisa P.

"Dr Smith took as much time as needed to explain and discuss every question and concern I had. I recommend him highly for both bedside manner and surgical skills."

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