Winter & Sciatica

Suffer from low back pain? You are not alone, by Bethany Elliott

It is estimated that 60% to 80% of the general population will experience an episode of low back pain in his or her lifetime. Low back pain is one of the top reasons why an individual may decide to come and visit an osteopath or physical therapist.

Most low back pain has an acute onset and can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. In most cases it is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption to the normal way the; bones, muscles or joints function and move together.

While low back pain can have many causes, when it is experienced with tingling, numbness or weakness in the thigh, leg and/or feet, it is usually an indication that there is compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back and buttocks all the way down to the feet. Without the sciatic nerve we wouldn’t be able to move or feel sensation in our legs or feet.

The main symptoms of sciatica are pain, tingling, numbness and or weakness in the low back and buttock. Depending on the severity there may be also symptoms into the legs and feet. Laughing, sneezing and coughing can make sciatic pain worse along with sitting or walking for a prolonged period of time.

Osteopaths see an increase in low back pain and sciatic complaints over the winter. So here’s 3 top tips to look out for this winter when it comes to your back pain and sciatica:

1. Working out in the cold – if you work outside in the cold conditions makes sure you wrap up
warm to avoid injuries such as muscular strains or irritation to underlying joint stiffness or arthritis. If you are out in the garden be aware of the hard ground conditions especially if you are digging.

2. Slips and falls in the cold – you are more at risk of slipping and falling during the winter,
especially when it’s icy underfoot. Proper footwear and taking care when you are walking will help you to maintain your balance and avoid unnecessary injuries. If balance is a problem or if you are currently injured then don’t be afraid to take a walking aid out with you (a walking stick or a ski pole).

3. Lifting in the cold – during the season of goodwill be careful while shopping, carrying and lifting all those heavy and awkward sized gifts. Same goes for those travelling abroad with heavy luggage this winter to see family during the festive period or even to get out of the cold and into the sun. Make sure you are lifting properly and using a carry case to ease the load off your back.

Want more information about sciatica? Read our sciatica blog post here or book in for a free 15 minute consultation with one of our osteopaths to find out how we can help you.

bodytonic clinic
10-11 Dock Offices
Surrey Quays Road
SE16 2XU
and other clinics in Stratford and Wapping

t: 0203 606 0490


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