Pressure exerted on the back or other injury could cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back radiating down the leg and to the feet. This can cause sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy and many women find that they suffer not only pain but also feelings of numbness or weakness in the surrounding areas.
So what causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy? It is often assumed that the growing weight of the baby and the uterus exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve causing that peculiar pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down through the buttock and the thigh and lower into the leg.
However this is not necessarily the only reason for sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. Often the pain and discomfort owes itself to a spinal disc that has slipped out of place. Or the pain may be due to some damage caused to one or more of the spinal discs causing inflammation and hence sciatic nerve pain.
Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy include pins and needles in the lower back and/or the affected leg; perhaps even the food on that side of the body. The characteristic shooting pain that radiates from the back, through the buttock and down the leg or the back of the pelvis and numbness in any of these areas is also noted.
Conservative treatment is usually recommended for management of sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. When fixing upon a management technique one should remember that for the most part this pain and discomfort tends to disappear after delivery of the baby.
- Physiotherapy from a trained professional will help relieve sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy since this can help reduce some of the pressure that the sciatic nerve is under. The aim is to maximize mobility and a physiotherapist, particularly one experienced in treating pregnant women may help greatly.
- Surgical removal of lesions is sometimes done for sciatic pain, however this is not suitable for treatment during pregnancy.
- Pain medication that is suitable for taking during pregnancy can be prescribed for managing the pain.
- Alternative treatments such as yoga, chiropractic care and acupuncture can help with managing this pain. Massage by a qualified person who is well versed in pregnancy massage can also help.
- Applying heat to the affected area in the appropriate manner can also help – this should be done in consultation with a doctor however.
- Sometimes just changing the sleep position or the kind of mattress being used, may help in managing sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy.