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Does sciatica get worse in winter?

jsirabellajjsirabella Posts: 311
Hello All,

Today in NYC with wind chill in the low teens and honestly been on a good path but today it just seems nasty the pain on my left side. Much more than usual and I always heard stories about how during the cold weather the sciatica get worse, is that a myth or true?

I am a bit worried as for some reason yesterday too my legs were itching crazy and when reading gweenie how the itching was a sign before the rupture worried for the worst.



  • Our minds are one of our worst enemies when it comes to pain, injury and illness. It can be more difficult at certain times of the year to keep on top of or ahead of the pain we experience. Unfortunately or fortunately during the colder darker months, we tend to spend more time inside as well as have more idle time. That allows us to be alone with our thoughts a bit more. It is proven, that if a person focuses on how much discomfort they have, then that discomfort can increase and consume them. Add into the mix a forum like this where others are asking and discussing the same questions and like magic, everyone starts to hurt more or feel more discomfort.

    If you are experiencing new symptoms, don't rely on non-professional help to diagnose yourself. Contact your doc and get a hands on diagnostic exam for your own peace of mind and comfort.

  • Yeah sometimes I wonder if maybe the time I am spending here and reading all these posts is just consuming so much of my mind that it is putting me in pain.

    The pain is really not different just more intense today. If it was a new one I never had than I would definitely take some stronger steps. I will give it a few days and see what happens.

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  • No, I didn't say itching. I said my husband had a very tight quad muscle, like he had pulled it running. He kept absently rubbing it like you do when something is bothering you. It doesn't hurt really badly, but it is bothersome. He did not have any itching!!

    Second, I have done quite a bit of research on why we feel worse when the weather changes -- cold and damp seem to bother most of us the most. While I can find several explanations of why this is the case, they all say there is NO scientific proof why this should be the case. Many speculate that since the joints in the spine are synnovial joints (there is fluid in them that helps them to move)when there is a change in the barometric pressure, the pressure in the joints fluctuates too. This makes it harder to move the joint and thus, causes pain...OR, this change results in tissue getting somewhat inflamed, making the body use more effort to move, which results in pain. I think there were a couple more theories, but they all stem from changes in barometric pressure.

    It has been my experience with sciatic pain, which I've had since 2005, that it can be very changeable. Sometimes a certain activity aggravates it more than at other times. I think it fluctuates due to how much surrounding tissue is inflamed, which presses more or less on the spinal nerve.

    My pain hurts least in the morning and I can walk or be on my feet the longest. As the day progresses, the pain begins sooner after sitting, and it becomes stronger. I think most people have changes in their sciatic pain. Don't assume something is worse.

    I find that a warm bath helps and I use a heating pad a lot when it is cold. We had our first zero temps the past two days and I could not get warm. The first cold days of the season are always the worst. Our bodies forget from year to year how to deal with it, I think! I also have started wearing one of those camisole-type underwear tops, one that is long enough to tuck in. It keeps my torso warm where I had my surgery. Or, maybe we should all move to a warm, dry climate! ;)

  • Thanks for clearing up the itching thing. I actually love the fall here in NYC but the winters are terrible.

    I believe there is something to the weather changes and the pain increases but that may be just me. The best I felt was when I was in Vegas. I believe the weather had something to do it. Or maybe the fun?

    Lately I continue to increase what I do in the gym but the discomfort is still there. I believe the discomfort is much better than the pain and I am doing so much more but it just continues to change. Lately the treadmill is really squeezing my calves. As I keep walking though it goes away. But it is on the side where I had the ankle plates from a fall in 2001. I just learn to deal with it and keep pushing the mobility and the strength.

    I noticed though today that I tried to light jog and as soon as I started with each step I noticed the nerve shoot a small pain so immediately stopped. Atleast now I can tell which is nerve. Fast walking seems ok...I can go up to 4 miles per hour. But nearly got into a bit of a fight as I was just walking and the other folks were waiting so ofcourse they talk to me that I can only use it for 30 minutes at a time. Was a bit upset as they pick me cause I am walking.

    Maybe I will give the elpitical a try but last time seemed tough a couple months ago. Maybe it is time to give another try and see if it generates the same discomfort.

    Doc said January should be the big change and March even bigger. I will be patient and than may try that procedure if no luck.


  • Hello I would appreciate any advice. I was hit by a car direct hit to back at 25. I was fine after had hips reset. In 2010 I was pain free shortly after moving to AZ my feet started to swell (desk job). Then numbness in feet and burning legs and extreme back pain. The pain got work till I couldn't work. I lost weight tried everything but I have 5 herniated on right one on left and spine curling to right. I'm depressed and want my life back. My question is did the cold weather in Illinois keep my back n legs from hurting. I cannot do any heat it's horrible pain! So I'm wondering if cold weather would help me so I can work. I'm educated and just want to work and be productive. Please help anyone!
    Lia Lovelace
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