Treating Sciatica During the Winter

Sciatica, or sciatic neuritis, is back pain that runs down the sciatic nerve.  This pain occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, usually caused by a herniated disk.  Sciatica typically only affects one side of the body and will send feelings of pain, tingling, and weakness from your lower back down to your toes. 

Sciatica in the Winter

As the temperature begins to drop, the pain you experience as a result of sciatica can increase.  Cold weather causes your muscles, joints, and ligaments to tighten up, leaving you more prone to injury.  Once manageable sciatic pain can become a nightmare to deal with when more force is required to move your now tightened body.   

Barometric pressure can also affect your sciatica. When dealing with this condition, your sciatic nerve is faced with irritation due to compression.  The drop in barometric pressure that accompanies storms or drastic changes in temperature can make nerves of your lower back more sensitive, increasing the severity of your symptoms. 

The physical activities that come along with the winter months can also worsen your sciatica. Slips and falls are amongst the most common winter injuries and can make an already compressed spine worse.  Additional winter activities such as skiing or shoveling snow also play a role in the exasperation of this condition.  

Treating Sciatica in the Winter

At Block Sports Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, our staff does not want you to spend the entirety of winter dealing with sciatica.  To keep you healthy, our team would like to point out the below methods that can be used to deal with this condition:

  • Wear appropriate clothing: Be sure to wear the appropriate amount of layers for the weather taking place outside. Staying warm will keep your back loose, which can help to mitigate sciatic pain.
  • Check your footwear: When traveling outside in treacherous conditions, always wear shoes and boots that offer proper traction.  Doing so will keep you upright while avoiding dangerous slips and falls. 
  • Shoveling snow properly: When you have to shovel snow, make sure you get a good stretch in before doing so. Stretching will loosen up your muscles and help to avoid strains. Also, always lift with your legs and not your back when shoveling. Using your legs will prevent excess stress from being placed on your back, limiting the chance of injury. 

Staying active in the winter is essential when you’re trying to treat sciatica. While it may seem counterproductive, moving around will loosen up the muscles in your back, which helps to prevent pain.  Sitting around all winter is one of the worst things you can do, as this will allow already tight muscles to become even more stiff, making pain free movement next to impossible.

When you experience back pain that lasts for more than a few weeks, it may be time to visit a chiropractor. At Block Sports Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, we aim to reduce your pain and regain your health. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit our website.