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How to manage back pain and sciatica in winter?

Even younger population are suffering from sciatica due to improper posture, prolonged sitting and work from home, disc problems.

Winter is here, and you will feel like the cold is seeping in your bones, worsening your back pain and sciatica. Read on to know more about the essential tips to manage these conditions during those chilly days.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : December 21, 2020 8:58 AM IST

Winter can be pleasing! But, as the season changes there is a sudden drop in temperature, and you will encounter sudden back pain or even sciatica. Your muscles start developing tension owing to the temperature changes and this adds pressure on the nerve roots and the spinal cord. Hence, back pain increases, and even there is the stiffness of the back during the morning. Moreover, skipping exercise is also a disastrous recipe for back pain. If you fail to exercise and keep yourself active, then you are sure to suffer from that notorious backache.

Follow these vital tricks to keep back pain at bay during winter

  • You will have to warm-up your muscles. Stretch your upper and lower back shoulder, and knees to strengthen them. This will help increase blood supply to your paraspinal muscles. You must do it under the guidance of your fitness trainer.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects. Even if you are supposed to then maintain a correct posture and bend at your knee while lifting.
  • Wear warm clothes and then only step out in winter.
  • If you are required to work from home or are doing household chores then stand up in between and take frequent micro
  • Stretch out your back, neck and shoulder frequently to release any muscle tensions, back stiffness.
  • Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water. Try using a warm compress or heating pads in the affected areas to reduce inflammation. Avoid overeating which can make you pile up those excess kilos and aggravate your back pain.
  • Get your daily dose of vitamin D by exposing yourself to sun for atleast 45 minutes to hour daily.
  • Use appropriate mattress and pillow as not doing so can also invite back pain.
  • You can modify your sleeping position by using pillow below knee while sleeping in supine position or in between the knees in one side lateral position
  • This will help you say goodbye to your back pain during those chilly days.

Everything you need to know about sciatica during winter

Sciatica can be described as a type of radiculopathy caused owing to the compression of one or more of the five sets of nerve roots in one's lower back (the lumbar region of your spine). These nerves tend to run from the lower spine down under your buttock and then down through each hip into your legs. Several conditions can be responsible for compressing these nerves at one or more spots causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back, buttock(s), or leg(s) on one or both sides. This condition is commonly seen in elderly people who do manual work or lift heavy objects, leading to degenerative changes in spine. Nowadays, sciatica is seen even in the younger population due to improper posture, prolonged sitting and work from home, disc problems.

How to tackle sciatica

Youngsters must opt for core strengthening exercises that will strengthen their lower back.

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Visit an orthopaedic or a spine specialist, if the pain doesn't go away with medication, lifestyle changes and regular exercise. You may require to undergo certain radiological investigation such X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, spinal injection if the pain hampers your daily activities, if there is a tingling sensation, numbness, loss of bladder control or you are unable to walk significantly smaller distance . A keyhole or Stitchless Spine surgery in daycare setup can be helpful in reducing compression at pinched nerve roots, inflammation. Lifestyle changes, posture correction and regular exercises plays an important role in recuperating from back pain.

(This article is written by Dr Om Patil, Consultant Spine Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Mumbai.)

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