Along with the exhilaration of bringing a new person into the world, pregnant women too often feel many aches and pains, including sciatica — the shooting pain caused by a stressed or pinched sciatic nerve. Though sciatica can be difficult to live with for 6 months or more, there are several steps you can take to relieve this pain.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors specialize in relieving all sorts of back pain and successfully treating sciatica regularly. This blog is designed to help you understand what sciatic pain is and how it can be alleviated during pregnancy, both in and outside of our offices.
What causes sciatica? Where is it felt?
Sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, the longest and widest single nerve in the human body. When sciatica occurs during pregnancy, it is related to the position and the increasing weight of the fetus and may be intermittent or fairly constant.
Sciatic pain travels down the nerve’s pathway from its point of origin (just outside the base of the spine) to the hip, buttocks, thigh, and down the leg. The pain can range from mild to severe but can be relieved in several ways.
If there is anything positive to be said about sciatica during pregnancy, it’s that, although it may worsen during the third trimester, it is time-limited, and will almost always disappear once your baby is born. Also, sciatica does not affect your baby.
Relieving Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy without Medical Intervention
Sciatic pain can often be relieved by sitting or lying down. Lying on the unaffected side of your body can be particularly helpful. Other measures that may lessen sciatic pain include:
- Taking warm showers
- Using a heating pad
- Applying an ice pack
- Practicing yoga
- Getting a gentle prenatal massage
- Stretching and moderate exercise
- Avoiding heavy lifting (remember, you’re already carrying excess weight!)
- Using good posture, keeping your weight balanced when sitting or standing
- Going swimming: the feeling of weightlessness will decrease pressure on your spine
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication as your obstetrician recommends
- Using cushions to correct your posture & increase your comfort level
- Wearing flats or low-heeled shoes
- Wearing a pregnancy support belt
Most important, listen to your body. If your pain increases when you engage in a particular activity, stop.
Remedies for Relief by Our Skilled, Compassionate Doctors
While it is expected that you will have to put up with some discomfort during pregnancy, you should not have to endure serious pain before labor. If you are having painful sciatica despite your use of home remedies, contact us so we can help to make your pregnancy more comfortable. Our physiatrists are holistically oriented and will be able to provide you with several minimally invasive treatments to minimize your pain, including:
- Customized physical therapy, including instruction on exercises to do at home
- Acupuncture that is risk-free and lessens sciatic pain by reducing inflammation and releasing endorphins
Contact Our Experienced Sciatica Pain Specialists Today
Your pregnancy is a vital and exciting process and we want to help make it as pleasant as possible. You can depend on our accomplished physicians to be responsive to your needs and to provide you with the most effective treatments for sciatic pain available. Contact us today to begin feeling less sciatic pain and even more joy.