You may have thought you were imagining it, but your sciatica really does get worse in winter. As the temperature cools, your blood flow decreases, causing your muscles to tighten up. Not only does this increase stiffness in muscles and joints, it means more pain when you assert pressure on sciatica-affected areas. Here are some tips to keep sciatica at bay this winter.
Before you step into the cold, a few easy stretches will help prepare your body. Gentle hamstring stretches are excellent, as are back extensions and gluteal stretches. There are also yoga poses specifically designed for relieving sciatica. Have a chat with your chiropractor before embarking on any new exercise.
Apply a Topical Cream
Depending on the severity of your sciatica, topical counter-irritant creams, and those containing salicylates, can produce a
feeling of warmth. This will keep things limber, although you may want to see your chiropractor for more severe cases.
Hit a Heated Pool
If your summertime sciatica routine includes a swim, there’s no reason to stop because winter has come on. Hitting a heated pool will keep your body warm while you perform one of the best sciatica reliefs of all. The rest of your body will feel better for it too.
Avoid Sudden Movement
Now is probably not the best time to try out those Bruce Lee moves. Even a quick reach for the biscuit tin could reward you with sharp, shooting pains. Similarly, ensure all stretches and exercises avoid bouncing or bursts of action.
Layer on the thermals, pile on the woollies, and get warm before you step outside. Don’t just focus on the areas affected by
sciatica, as a generally cool body temperature will still cause your muscles to tighten up. This means hats, gloves, scarves, and anything else that will keep you toasty.
Even if you don’t have sciatica, muscles and joints need water. It removes waste, carries nutrients, and dilutes acid build-up. It also helps you maintain an even body temperature. If you have sciatica, it’s recommended you drink between 8-10 glasses of water a day.
Watch Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight puts less pressure on your sciatic nerve, and this means less pain. A healthy diet is a great place to start, as it will help you maintain your weight while feeding nutrients to your joints and muscles.