Among the many aches and pains that could come along with a pregnancy is that of sciatic pain. It is not unusual to develop sciatica during pregnancy – as the pressure in the abdomen grows it could be that either the sciatic nerve comes under pressure or there is damage to one of the spinal discs resulting in inflammation and pain.
Sometimes sciatica in pregnancy could be simply coincidental (since it is common to develop this condition at times other than when pregnant) and sometimes the pain could be a direct result of a woman being pregnant.
Sciatic pain is usually characterized by a shooting pain down the back, buttock and down the leg, numbness or the pins and needles kind of sensation in the legs, or a combination of these symptoms.
Seeing that most women prefer to avoid pharmaceutical interventions during pregnancy, it is best to treat sciatica in pregnancy using pain management techniques such as –
Physical therapy for sciatica in pregnancy
- A trained and licensed practitioner or a physiotherapist will be able to help relieve the pressure and the pain of sciatica and also help to teach other exercises that may help to make the process of labor and childbirth easier.
- Many women find that massage can greatly help to relieve sciatic pain in pregnancy.
- Chiropractic manipulation and care can also help with managing the pain, though it is important to locate a practitioner who is experienced at dealing with pregnant women.
- A cold or hot compress applied to the painful areas could help ease the pain as well.
Exercises to help with sciatica during pregnancy
- Though rest may be indicated in a number of sciatica cases, exercise can help improve blood circulation and help make ease the pressure in the pelvic region by stretching the muscles there. A doctor should be consulted about the best kind of exercises during pregnancy.
- Yoga is recommended during pregnancy in any case, since it is gentle and low impact exercise that helps to work out the entire body. Many of the yoga poses or asanas can help with sciatic pain as well.
- Swimming for managing sciatica pain is recommended by the American Pregnancy Association.
- Specific stretching exercises can help to ease the pressure on the sciatic nerve and therefore help in easing pain.
Other tips for managing sciatica during pregnancy
- Changing one’s posture or maintaining a good posture can help to ease the pressure on the sciatic nerve, since a bad posture or slumping can actually contribute to sciatica discomfort.
- Lifting heavy things (even such as an older baby) should be avoided because this can contribute to the sciatic pain.
- Standing for long periods should also be avoided since standing can exacerbate the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Consider how that pressure can get worse as you go around the house with a baby on the hip.
- Pay attention to how you sleep and use a firm mattress for this. When getting out of bed, roll to the side, then dangle the feet to the ground and use the arms to sit up before rising.
- High heels are best avoided when pregnancy, and this is particularly important for women who have sciatica during pregnancy.