Sciatica is a lot rarer in pregnant women than what you would think. It typically accounts for only about one percent of the cases of back pain during pregnancy.
Sciatica is caused by inflammation or pressure from your back that causes the sciatica nerve to become painful. This can send sensations of pain down your thigh and into your leg. Contrary to popular belief, this specific type of back pain during pregnancy is not caused by your baby pressing on the sciatic nerve.
If you have back pain and think that it might be sciatica, then you should review all of these common symptoms below and check which ones you’ve got and write it down so that you can tell your doctor.
The Most Common Sciatica Symptoms Are:
Lower Back Pain
Pain in the back during pregnancy is the most prominent symptom of sciatica. It hurts as a sharp, stabbing pain and is usually triggered as easily as bending or even coughing.
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The pain on the leg is usually accompanied with a tingling feeling of needles poking at your muscles. You can also feel numbness and a slight lost for control of your aching leg. For most pregnant women, the shooting pain in the leg is much worse than on the lower back and it lasts longer too.
Constant butt pain
You might have noticed that only 1 side of your butt hurts. Getting up (every time) from your sitting position hurts a lot, doesn’t’ it? If so, you have 1 symptom of sciatica.
This is the pain which starts at the lower back and rapidly progresses to hurt your butt and the back of your thigh, leg and foot. It hurts when you try to stand from your previously sitting position and when you’re sitting on a hard chair.
What Causes Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy?
- Lifting Heavy objects – When you bend to pick it up and then lift the object, your muscles on the back to down to your feet will tighten, triggering the compression of your sciatic nerve roots. Also back pain occurs when your sweat will dry up on your back.
- Standing for very long periods – During pregnancy, your legs and feet will be strained from standing and most likely you are bound to put your weight on one side of your body thus triggering sciatica.
- Sitting for long periods – You will be putting much pressure on your butt muscles, compressing the nerves. Even sitting on a hard bulky wallet all day long causes compression of the nerves.
- Lying on a hard mattress – The hard surface will put pressure on your back and other areas which is bad for the muscles during pregnancy.
- Bad Posture – If you have a bad sitting posture, your spine will curve and the intervertebral disc will be compressed.
- Wearing Tight Jeans – This is commonly overlooked by most pregnant women. You too probably, right? Well, the tightness of the jeans on the hips pinches the nerves and causes pain overtime.
Natural Ways to Relieve Sciatica Pain
Natural is the Way to Go! The more natural a therapy is the better because it will have lesser chemicals and lesser side effects leaving your liver and kidneys unharmed. Some of the natural remedies that have helped a great many women reduce sciatica and other types of back pain are:
Acupuncture proponents assert that when needles are inserted along the chi pathway, the flow of life energy is then restored to the correlating organ or function in the body. Acupuncture is based upon philosophy and is not scientifically proven. Many who promote the use of acupuncture claim that it will either (a) provide symptomatic relief or (b) actually treat disease such as cancer, hypertension, etc.
In addition to these claims, there are a few who have altered from the original philosophy of acupuncture and claim that it can be used to bring pain relief by releasing endorphins through stimulating the nerve. Although this frame of thought is plausible, there is no proven evidence to support this theory.
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Ice and Heat
Ice and heat are time tested standard treatments for pain, swelling, inflammation and consequently, healing. There is a cycle of pain, then muscle spasm that occurs repeatedly whenever there is injury involving tissue and muscle. Heat relaxes the nerves that send pain signals and cold causes the nerves to become numb.
Heat actually cools the muscle by increasing blood circulation. Conversely, the body’s natural response to ice is to warm the area, by sending more blood to the area in which ice is applied. Increased circulation also provides nutrition and oxygen to the affected area and speeds removal of waste material from the cells.
In essence, both ice and heat increase blood flow and promote healing. By properly applying heat and ice consistently over a period of time, the cycle of spasm and pain is broken, after which, healing begins.
With hypnosis, the patient is placed in a mental state that allows the subconscious mind to receive suggestions easily. This is known as the Alpha state. The Alpha state occurs naturally just before sleep. During this state of mind, the patient experiences deep relaxation and is able to be taught how to respond to pain messages. Sometimes patients learn self-hypnosis for the purpose of pain reduction.
While in a hypnotic state, the patient is able to hear and receive suggestions regarding how to handle pain. Hypnosis works to address mental and physical causes of pain by training the body and mind appropriate responses to pain.
While under hypnosis, a patient can instruct the brain to release endorphins, which alleviate pain. This is similar to the feeling of euphoria that athletes experience during intense workouts. Hypnosis has actually been shown to expose emotional causes of pain, thereby providing ways in which healing can begin.
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The purpose of Yoga is to balance the spirit, mind and body. Some have received great relief from sciatica pain by using Yoga. The exercises are gentle and are designed to strengthen and stretch the muscles while creating body awareness.
Yoga is an ancient practice for promoting relaxation through breathing and meditation exercises. Again, as some exercises may not be appropriate for every type of sciatica pain, a patient should always discuss this option with a physician prior to starting.
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Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Herbal Medicine
There are many herbal and homeopathic treatments that claim to relieve pain and there are many books and other publications to help a person become knowledgeable and enable him or her to make an informed decision. There are also topical ointments, salves and gels that may provide relief, when directly applied to the affected area. If, however, the cause of pain is structural, these products may only bring short-term relief, at best.
Since massage promotes the release of endorphins, it may be therapeutically beneficial to patients suffering from sciatica pain. Massage can also increase range of motion in the joints.
If you are interested in learning more about the correct methods of massage therapy, then you should read my article about how to cure sciatica naturally.
Depending upon the root cause of the sciatica during pregnancy, in some cases, some natural remedies may help to alleviate pain. If, however, the root cause of your pain is not diagnosed and resolved, any pain relief may only be temporary.