Can a young person get sciatica? (Spoiler: Yes, and we’ll explain why)

can a young person get sciatica

Sciatica most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 50, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune if you’re still in your 20s — young people can get it too. If you feel pain, numbness or weakness that stretches from your back down your leg, it could be sciatica, no matter your age.

So if you came here wondering if a younger person can get sciatica, you’re in the right place. We’ll explain why sciatic nerve pain occurs, how to identify it and what you can about it.

What is sciatica, and why does sciatic nerve pain mostly affect people over 30?

Sciatica is a type of pain that starts at your sciatic nerve, which is the nerve that runs from your lower back past your buttocks and down each leg. The pain can take that same course, radiating down the backside of your whole lower body. It can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Sciatic pain usually occurs when one of your spinal discs presses up against the sciatic nerve. Several things can cause this to happen, including obesity, poor posture or nerve disorders.

Age-related bone degeneration can cause the spine to press up against the sciatic nerve, too. This is why sciatica typically appears in people over the age of 30; that’s roughly the age when the bones start to degenerate. However, as we’ve mentioned, younger people can get sciatica too.

What causes sciatica in younger people?

Yes, sciatica is most commonly found in people over 30, but there are a few reasons why someone in their teens or 20s can experience sciatic nerve pain:

  • Sports or workplace injuries — Active people who lift a lot or twist their lower body may experience herniated discs that lead to sciatic pain.
  • Pelvis, gastric, intestinal inflammation — Inflammation can cause the organs near the sciatic nerve to push up against it.
  • Poor posture Walking, sitting or standing with poor posture can lead to sciatic pain.

Genetics may be a factor, as well. Each person’s body is shaped differently, and some people’s natural build may leave them more susceptible to herniated discs.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

Now that we’ve determined that, yes, a young person can get sciatica, it’s time to determine whether that pain in your lower back is related to your sciatic nerve.

To answer that question, you should call a specialist. If you live in a state with direct access, you can call a physical therapist without a referral, including our clinicians at Whatcom Physical Therapy. They will take a look at your back, determine whether you have sciatica and determine an appropriate course of treatment.

Don’t suffer in pain any longer. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.