Sciatic Pregnancy & How To Relieve Its Symptoms
Sciatica During Pregnancy
You may not have heard about sciatica, neither have you been aware of its close relation with pregnancy. Even if you are pregnant or have been pregnant before, the term may not necessarily be familiar to your ears, particularly if you are more comfortable visiting your local, traditional midwives instead of making a trip to the medical doctor. But, you certainly have heard of some of the common issues encountered by pregnant women whose pregnancy is coming to its second or, especially, third trimester. Lower back pain, buttock pain, pins and needles, or tingling sensation on the thigh and feet, and even up to numbness of these lower limbs of the body, you name it!
While, out of ignorance, you may have thought that all these problems are of completely different causes, on the contrary, they originate from compression or pressure on the sciatic nerve of the body—hence the name “sciatica“! Why has such seemingly trivial incident caused so much pain?
Well, first and foremost, you need to know that the sciatic nerve is extended from the muscles of the lower back of our body, through the buttocks and back of the thighs, and all the way to our feet. During pregnancy, prolonged sitting—for example in the office, when riding or driving—usually results in pressure to the sciatic nerve, especially with the added load of the fetus and womb onto the muscles around this nerve. So, now you can begin to imagine why your back and lower limbs become extremely uncomfortable.
Relieving Sciatic Symptoms
Sometimes, the problems related to sciatic pregnancy last only a few hours to one or two days. In worse scenario, they may disrupt your daily activities quite significantly, up to six weeks or so. Since you can’t possibly allow such issues stop you from “living”, it is definitely wise to consult your midwife or doctor for some reliefs.
The simplest prescription your pregnancy expert may give you is to have enough bed rest and apply hot/cold therapy onto the affected muscles. In most cases, they work just fine. Our muscles simply need to loosen up to relieve the pressure around the sciatic nerve. Often this advice is accompanied with a little dosage of pain killer or muscle reliever, which helps to relax the tense area of the body.
If the symptoms are considered severe, your specialist may refer you to medical professionals who perform manual therapy such as physiologist, chiropractor or pregnancy masseuse to help improve your spinal, muscle or blood circulation functions by regular exercise or special body treatment.
If you go to a physiotherapist to help you overcome your sciatic pains, he or she may show you just the right exercises to help you manage your symptoms. Not only will this set of movements minimize, and slowly eliminate, your reoccurring pains, but they will also strengthen your lower body muscles—including abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles—facilitating smooth delivery and easy recovery after child birth.
Massage therapy, on the other hand, focuses on relieving muscular tension and improving blood circulation, especially around the affected parts of the body. To ease off sciatica, for example, a masseuse may perform massage on the muscles of your lower back and buttock so as to remove muscle strain that has been pressurizing the sciatic nerve.
Last but not least, chiropractic therapy is also available as an option if your sciatic symptoms are actually originating from joint dysfunction. A chiropractor usually conducts spinal adjustment by applying sudden force manually onto a patient’s body so as to improve his or her joints’ range of motion. More flexible joints will certainly release some tension in the muscles and, hence, remove compression from the sciatic nerve.
Nevertheless, although all manual therapies may sound promising, you have to be aware that exercises and body treatments applied to normal, non-pregnant people may not necessarily be similar to those that are safe for pregnant women. Therefore, please make sure that your handler is a prenatal specialist.
Prevention is better than treatment!
Instead of enduring and curing sciatic symptoms, why don’t you learn to perform some simple, home exercises that will help strengthen the muscles of your lower back, buttocks and lower limbs? Performed every day, these exercises will certainly increase your resistance towards sciatica by giving core muscle support to your spine.
Video: Exercises for sciatic nerve pain relief
Among the simplest routines are squatting and chest lift exercises. You can learn the basic movements from any prenatal therapists or local midwives before performing them daily at home or in your office.
The squatting exercise requires you to stand, holding on to chair handles, with both feet opened and squat in front of the chair until your hands are on the same level as the chair, supporting your weight. The chest lift exercise, on the other hand, requires you to get on your knees and lay down on your face and chest, almost like in prostration, placing your palms on the side of your chest to readily support your chest while lifting it upwards. Performed in repeated cycles on daily basis, these simple home exercises are proven effective to strengthen the muscles, minimizing the risk of sciatica and, at the same time, conditioning the passageway for normal child birth.
In short, while indeed various methods of relieving sciatica are available out there, wouldn’t you want to get your body up and ready preventing sciatic symptoms to happen to you instead?
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