Sciatica risk factors

Sciatica risk factors refer to the specific circumstances that make a person more inclined to develop pain in the lower body as a result of sciatic nerve compression. One of the most common sources of sciatic nerve compression is age-related degeneration of the lumbar (lower) spine. Conditions like arthritis or degenerative disc disease can cause constriction of the nerve space in this area and potentially compress the sciatic nerve.

When this nerve becomes compressed, a number of symptoms — known collectively as sciatica — can occur, causing muscle pain, tingling and weakness throughout the lower body, usually on one side. These symptoms can severely impact your life if they become chronic, making it difficult to do everyday activities like cooking or working in the yard. If you have dealt with sciatica symptoms and want to know how to prevent another flare-up, knowing about the lifestyle choices that are related to this condition can be a great first step in getting back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Sciatica risk factors you can avoid

While sciatica is related to the natural aging process, which cannot be avoided, there are a number of activities that can increase the likelihood that a person develops the condition. Sciatica risk factors include:

  • Smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol excessively
  • Engaging in a sedentary lifestyle
  • Participating in high-impact sports or exercise
  • Engaging in repetitive physical activities, like lifting boxes
  • Carrying excess body mass
  • Injury

Taking steps to avoid or cease these behaviors can lead to tangible improvements in your spine health that can relieve pain and improve mobility. For example, a diet and exercise plan designed to help a patient lose weight while strengthening core muscles can take pressure off the lower spine and potentially relieve sciatic nerve compression.

Treatment options

If sciatica pain is still affecting your life despite the addressing risk factors like the ones above, there are many treatment options available. In many cases, patients find relief through a course of doctor-prescribed conservative methods, including pain medication, physical therapy and massage.

Surgery can become an option when conservative methods have been exhausted without the improvement in symptoms you need for a good quality of life. For an alternative to traditional open spine procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery. Because we can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ and less risk of complication compared to traditional surgery.

Call today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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