The Link Between Obesity and Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can be a disabling disorder that causes pain that radiates down the lower back and into your buttocks and legs. It is technically called lumbar radiculopathy. It is caused by a pinched nerve along your spine that causes connected nerves to be affected.

Although it is a very common ailment, many people don’t know much about sciatica. It is estimated that 40% of people will get sciatica in their lifetime. 

Blue Ridge Pain Management Associates is a leading center for sciatica treatment. We have offices in Salem, Christiansburg, and Roanoke, Virginia, to serve you. Our team of pain-management physicians, Dr. Anthony Dragovich, Dr. George Baylor, Dr. Marc Swanson, and Dr. Andrew Crichlow, are compassionate doctors who can help you get relief from sciatica pain.

What is sciatica?

Nerves located all over your body are an essential part of your nervous system. These nerves communicate with your brain and spinal cord about what your body is experiencing. They allow you to feel pain, cold, heat, and other sensations.

Radiculopathy means that a root nerve in your spine has been compressed or pinched, affecting the nerves that connect to it. There are three main types of radiculopathy that are named based on where the root nerve is located: lumbar, cervical, and thoracic radiculopathy. Lumbar radiculopathy is also known as sciatica, after the sciatic nerve that travels down your back. 

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The symptoms of sciatica vary from person to person but often include the following:

Typically with sciatica, only one side of the body is affected, and symptoms can come and go over a period of time.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica can be caused by a number of injuries and conditions, including:

Our team of pain-management physicians determines the cause(s) of your sciatica and finds treatment options that relieve your symptoms while addressing your underlying condition.

The link between obesity and sciatica pain

Obesity is connected to sciatica because the excess weight on your body puts extra stress on your spine, which can cause pressure. This pressure can result in compression of your nerves, which can cause sciatica. Losing weight reduces this pressure on your spine, decreasing the chance that you will develop sciatica, or relieving some of the discomfort of this condition.

A weight-management plan combined with other treatment options can provide you with relief from your sciatica symptoms. Other treatments your provider may recommend include physical therapy, stretching, epidural injections, and nerve blocks.


Sciatica can be a very painful and debilitating condition. To set up an appointment at Blue Ridge Pain Management Associates, call one of our three offices and talk to our friendly staff. We look forward to seeing you!

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