Adele opens up about suffering from 'really bad' sciatica. What is the condition?

The "Easy On Me" singer shared some personal details about her health during her Las Vegas residency.

Adele shared some personal details about her health with her fans over the weekend during her Las Vegas residency. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AD)
Adele shared some personal details about her health with her fans over the weekend during her Las Vegas residency. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AD)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Adele got candid about her health over the weekend during a performance at her Las Vegas residency.

The 34-year-old singer told her New Year's Eve "Weekends With Adele" audience on Saturday that her ability to walk has been affected, as she handed out merchandise T-shirts to her fans.

"I have to waddle these days as I have really bad sciatica," she said as she moved across the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, according to Cosmopolitan.

It's not the first time the "Easy On Me" and "Hello" singer has opened up about her health issues.

In an interview with The Face published in November 2021, the U.K.-born singer explained some of the health problems she's experienced since she was a teenager.

"I slipped my first disc when I was 15 from sneezing. I was in bed and I sneezed and my fifth one flew out," she told the London-based publication. "In January [2021], I slipped my sixth one, my L6. And then where I had a C‑section, my core was useless. I've been in pain with my back for half of my life, really. It flares up, normally due to stress or from a stupid bit of posture."

What is sciatica?

My Health Alberta explains sciatica as "pain, tingling or numbness" caused by an irritation of the root nerves that lead to the sciatic nerve.

More specifically, the sciatic nerve is formed by the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord into the lower back, radiating through the buttock and then branching down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot.

The two sciatic nerves — one on each side of the lower body — are the longest in the human nervous system, though people with sciatica usually only feel pain on one side.

Sciatica causes and risk factors

The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc — also called a herniated disc — in the spine.

However, sciatica can also be caused by conditions such as:

  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

  • Bone spurs (small growths along joints due to arthritis)

  • Degenerative disc disease

  • Trauma

  • Tumours

  • Pregnancy

Several conditions and lifestyle habits can increase your risk for sciatica. Being overweight, lacking strong core muscles, smoking, leading an inactive lifestyle and diabetes can all increase your risk.

Jobs that require heavy lifting or sitting for prolonged periods can also lead to lower back problems, which may increase your risk of sciatica.

Careers that require heavy lifting or prolonged periods of sitting can lead to lower back problems, which can increase your risk of sciatica. (Photo via Getty Images)
Careers that require heavy lifting or prolonged periods of sitting can lead to lower back problems, which can increase your risk of sciatica. (Photo via Getty Images)

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The main symptom of sciatica includes pain that radiates through the buttock and down the back of the thigh and leg. That pain can also change from a shooting or burning sensation, to a sharp or dull feeling, as well as a non-stop or intermittent throb.

Numbness and weakness in your lower back, buttock, leg or feet may also occur when you have sciatica. You might also feel "pins and needles," or pain that worsens with movement.

Sciatica treatment and prevention

Many cases of sciatica will go away with time. Treatment of the condition should focus on alleviating pain and increasing mobility, whether that's with medication, physiotherapy, massage therapy or stretching.

To prevent sciatica, it's recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach, stand whenever possible, sit in chairs with firm back support and ensure your feet are flat on the floor while sitting. You should also exercise regularly and practice proper posture while lifting objects.

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