SCIATICA: LIGHTENING THE BURDEN

Posted on December 9, 2009, under Pain Relief-Muscle Relaxers.

It stands to reason that being at all overweight is not going to help your sciatica or back problems one bit. As we’ve seen, the spine’s design is such that it all too often has difficulty in coping with even the normal, ordinary demands put upon it through everyday living. If the burden it has to bear becomes even greater because you’re overweight, then it’s obviously more likely that something is going to give sooner or later.

There’s an additional point to take into account: most overweight people carry their extra pounds in the abdomen area, the hips and the thighs. Extra weight in the abdomen is particularly bad news for back sufferers because its presence not only puts extra strain upon the spine while you’re erect – such as standing or walking – but even when you’re sitting. And, of course, bending over or lifting anything creates even greater demands upon the spine when there’s excess baggage hanging out in front of it.

Keeping your weight down to a reasonable level can make a major difference in both preventing and easing back problems and sciatica. What’s more, of course, keeping to a healthy weight will also pay rich dividends in other health benefits. Additionally, many of the exercises that are so important to maintaining a flexible and trouble-free spine will be a great deal easier to do if you’re not carrying too many extra pounds- and a lot more fun, too! It’s a fact that the overweight – the very people who would perhaps gain the greatest benefits from frequent and regular exercising – are often those who exercise the least, part of the reason for this obviously being that exercising is all that much harder and therefore less appealing for them. This lack of exercising often imposes a double penalty upon the back: firstly, it is likely to contribute to the putting on of ever more extra weight; secondly, because the back muscles are not exercised, they’re likely to be in poor condition, lacking strength and flexibility, providing less efficient support for the back and the spine as a whole.

Faced with an obese patient with recurrent sciatica or other back problems for which no other obvious treatment is indicated, doctors will often recommend a weight-loss programme. Good though that advice is, most doctors unfortunately do not have the time to provide specific guidelines about how best to shed the pounds. Following are some of the things your doctor might suggest if he had the time.

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