3 Factors That Could Have Provoked Your Sciatica

Mar 21, 2024
3 Factors That Could Have Provoked Your Sciatica
Whether it’s your first round with sciatica or you’re all too familiar with this back pain, you want relief. A great way to prevent sciatica is to understand your risks. Keep reading to learn more.

All it takes is one bout of sciatica to make you understand it’s a condition you’d rather not face again. This back pain can be all-consuming as the discomfort travels from your back and down into your leg, making even small movements agonizing.

The lifetime prevalence of sciatica ranges between 10% and 40%, so you’re in good company if you’ve dealt with the issue (or you’re dealing with it now). If you don’t want to be part of this company, addressing your risks for this common back problem is an excellent step.

To get you started, our team at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC, including Dr. Peter Fernandez and Dr. Amanda Fernandez, pulled together a few modifiable risk factors for sciatica.

1. Overstressing your back

Sciatica typically occurs when one of the discs in your lower back herniates or bulges and presses against your sciatic nerve. In fact, 90% of sciatica cases can be traced back to a lumbar herniated disc.

Disc herniation is often the result of degenerative disc disease. In this progressive condition, your discs become flatter and more brittle.

While age and wear-and-tear are the leading drivers of degenerative disc disease, you can develop the condition prematurely if you place too much physical stress on your lower spine through bad posture when you're sitting, heavy lifting, or prolonged standing.


So, we suggest maintaining excellent sitting posture (no slouching!), using your knees when lifting, and taking breaks if standing too long. Be mindful of your back at all times, and do what you can to protect your spine.

2. Carrying too much weight

Another way your discs can weaken is by carrying too much weight. Unfortunately, this risk factor affects many Americans — 1 in 3 are overweight, and 2 in 5 have obesity.

When you’re carrying too many pounds, your spine can compress. This added pressure makes your discs far more vulnerable to herniation. As a result, you’re more susceptible to lower back conditions like sciatica.

3. Smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for this common lower back problem.


When you smoke, you slow the delivery of oxygen in your body because nicotine damages blood vessels. This can affect the health of your discs, rendering them weaker and less able to resist damage.

We want to underscore that the sciatica risk factors we’re reviewing here are those within your power to change. There are other risk factors, such as age, that you can’t change.

If you have more questions about your risk factors for sciatica or you’d like help with your lower back pain, please contact our Sarasota, Florida, office to schedule a consultation. Call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking request form.