During the winter months, do you often find that your pain worsens as the temperatures drop? People who suffer from sciatica may notice that pain seems to worsen in the cold and a recent study has found that these feelings are more than anecdotal.
Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve begins in your lower spine, traveling down under your buttocks, and through your hips into each foot. Colder temperatures cause muscles to tighten and become tense due to a decrease of blood flow. Stiff muscles, especially those in the low back and sciatic nerve area, can lead to muscle strains and pains.
Common sciatica symptoms may include the following:
- Pain varying from mild aches and tingling to sharp, burning sensations that occur in one leg.
- Numbness in parts of the leg and hip
- Muscle weakness
- Pain triggered by prolonged sitting or standing
- Worsening pain from coughing or sneezing
- Pain beginning in the lower back or buttocks and continuing down the back of the thigh into the lower leg or foot.
Reduce Sciatic Pain
If the cold is causing you pain and discomfort, find relief with these tips:
- Hold/Cold Therapy: Try icing the area for the first 48-72 hours, followed by a period of heat to relieve pain and tension where you need it most.
- Stay Active: While we often want to stay indoors during the winter, make sure to maintain a regular exercise routine. Staying active helps keep sciatica pain away by relaxing away muscle stiffness and increasing circulation.*
- Stretch: Simple, gentle stretches done daily will help keep your muscles loose and warm. Try an Inversion Therapy Table to find relief at home.*
- Sleep well: Find total comfort with a Bed Wedge System. A bed wedge will provide support and reduce excessive pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve to help you sleep easier.
*Be sure to talk with a medical professional before starting any new exercise routines.