Do your sciatica symptoms get worse whenever the mercury drops? Increased sciatica pain is associated with tense muscles, which are caused by cold temperatures and inactivity.
These symptoms can be managed. If you want to cope better in cold weather, follow these 7 tips.
1. Keep your home warm
This should be obvious but do keep your home as warm as possible during the winter months to help keep your muscles stiffening in the cold. If your spine’s muscles become tight and tense, your sciatica symptoms may get worse. At night, extra blankets on your bed and or an electric blanket to pre-heat your bed can keep you warm and toasty.
2. Dress well
During winter, wear layers. Several thin layers keep you warmer than a single thick layer. Don’t just cover the areas affected by your sciatica. A low core body temperature can cause your muscles to tighten.
Keeping your body temperature regulated will help maintain good blood circulation. Do protect your lower back by tucking your shirt into your trousers (pants) to prevent a cold draught on your spine when you stretch for something.
When you’re planning to head outside, wear gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Wear thick, wooly socks and waterproof shoes with good treads to prevent slipping on the ice and snow.
3. Prepare before you leave the house
Before you go outside, perform a few stretching exercises to warm your muscles. Several yoga poses have proved good for stretching and relieving sciatica. You could ask a certified trainer about this.
Before you drive anywhere, run your car awhile to warm its interior.
4. Ask for help with outdoor work
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your sciatica is causing you pain, ask someone else to clear the snow from your path or other outdoor tasks you’re finding hard to handle.
If you must clear your own driveway, prepare beforehand. Loosen your muscles and stretch before walking out into the cold. Go slowly when you shovel snow and don’t overload your shovel. It’s better to move two small shovelfuls than one big one.
Keep your back straight and lift using your legs. Try not to twist your back while lifting. Face toward where you’re throwing the snow. The same principles apply to scattering rock salt.
5. Keep active
This is the most important thing to do. Keeping your body healthy overall is the best way to improve your sciatica symptoms. Also, stress and anxiety are sometimes linked to increases in sciatica symptoms. Medical research has proved that regular exercise helps to alleviate anxiety and stress.
If you remain stationary for too long, your muscles stiffen and you’re more likely to suffer spasms. When it’s cold, you’re tempted to stay in bed or sit in front of the fire. But it’s much better for you to get out and about for regular, short walks.
However, in your bid to stay active, try to avoid sudden movement without preparation. Do warm-up stretches before exercising. When exercising, aim to do exercises that place less pressure on your joints. For example, using a recumbent stationary bicycle or gentle walking on a treadmill.
If you swim during the summer for your health, you should continue to do this during the winter. But in the colder months, ensure you only swim in a heated pool. If you don’t, the cold water could aggravate your condition.
Being more active will also help keep down your weight. If you’re overweight, this can put more pressure on your sciatic nerve and aggravate your symptoms. As well as being active, a healthy balanced diet will help you maintain your ideal weight.
6. Try to avoid stress
During winter, the long winter nights can affect mood, which can be stressful. Try to avoid any extra tasks that could cause your sciatica symptoms to increase. Do ask for help when necessary.
7. Keep doing what you’re doing
There are things you should be doing throughout the year to help alleviate your sciatica symptoms. You must continue these through winter.
Your muscles and joints require plenty of water to function efficiently, so stay hydrated. People who suffer from sciatica are recommended to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water every day.
If your doctor or a healthcare professional has recommended a topical cream, you should continue to use this. Ointments containing salicylates can make your muscles feel warm and help them stay limber.
We hope these tips help…
but if your sciatica symptoms continue to get worse during the winter months, you should seek expert advice from your doctor or a healthcare professional. Please don’t leave it too late before asking for help!