Spring is upon us, and the days are getting longer and warmer. The green shoots of daffodils are promising to bloom into golden cheer and new buds are upon the trees. So why, for some of us, does the advent of spring not bring the promise of a little welcome relief from sciatica?
Many sufferers of sciatic pain report that the aches and pains in their body are as accurate as the Met Office when it comes to forecasting the weather. The rapid changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure and humidity associated with spring days can really test the sciatic nerve. Seasonal change and the threat of stormy fronts can affect some people’s chronic pain conditions, and sciatica is no exception.
The reason springtime can affect sciatica
Research suggests that there is a link between weather change and pain. The exact reason is unknown but one idea is changes in barometric pressure and how it affects blood flow in our bodies and muscles.
Dramatic changes in weather are common in spring. We all know the old adage about April showers. Springtime storms are common and often give way to fleeting periods of warming sunshine. When there is such a rapid change in atmospheric pressure, muscle blood flow may be affected triggering an increase in pain.
Some people appear to be far more sensitive to rapid changes in weather than others. Indeed, many report a period in which their sciatica worsens whenever there is a change in season. Yet there is often no medical explanation to explain exactly how we experience this increase in pain.
Take it easy – at least at first – as you venture out
It’s natural to feel reinvigorated by a return to warmer weather, but this may also be the reason your sciatica feels that little bit worse in spring.
Sufferers of sciatica are all too familiar with how cold winter weather can affect their pain levels, and most take precautions to minimise its effects. But after weeks of semi-hibernation as the days grew chilly and dark, remember our bodies may not be entirely ready for a gung ho approach to gardening, walking or simply getting ourselves outdoors for a weekend break.
Over doing it without reconditioning our bodies and warming up properly can trigger an increase in sciatic pain, as can sitting for long periods as we travel to our favourite springtime destinations.
Whatever the weather brings, and whatever the doctors may say, you know your body better than anyone, so give your sciatica a little thought and build up steadily as you get more active with spring in the air.