Sciatica is a common pain in one or more of the five sets of nerve roots in the lower back caused by an injury or irritation. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, running along both sides of the lower body, through the buttock and back of the leg. Sciatica begins to trigger during the colder months due to the stiffness in the muscles and joints. This stiffness can cause the muscles in and around the sciatic nerve to tighten up causing severe pain. This type of sharp pain descends down the legs and throughout other body parts.
Sciatica may also be triggered by a rise in humidity during the winter months, physical stress, and a drop in barometric air pressure. For instance, loading luggage into the car for holiday travel is an activity that could cause physical stress on the body resulting in severe pain in the back. Rises in humidity and changes in barometric air pressure are examples of how weather can adversely affect the sciatic nerve.
Tips to prevent Sciatica
Stretching before performing physical activities will stimulate the muscles causing them to loosen. Frequent massages will produce heat in the area allowing the tightened muscles to relax. Taking a hot bath helps increase the warmth, and improves blood circulation in the affected area alleviating the pain. A couple of tips to keep muscles warm in cold weather include: tuck your shirt in making certain the lower back doesn’t catch a cold draft, dress in layers, keep your home as warm as possible, use a couple of blankets at night or an electric blanket, and preheating your car before you get in.
If your back pain becomes severe do not ignore it. Visit your physician and if he thinks it is merited, request a referral to ECPC Pain Specialists. If pain is left untreated, it may worsen and cause irreparable damage to the sciatic nerve.