6 effective ways to manage sciatica pain during pregnancy
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 19, 2023
Pregnancy is a time when women prioritize their health for the well-being of their baby. However, expectant moms often experience aches and pains in various parts of their bodies. If you’re feeling a sharp shooting pain in your buttock or lower back that radiates down to your leg, it could be sciatica. Let’s explore some effective ways to manage sciatica pain during pregnancy and find relief.
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What is Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to intense pain that originates from the buttock or back and travels down the leg. It occurs due to compression of the sciatic nerve by bulging discs, irritation from the piriformis muscle, or during pregnancy, according to Dr. Latha Balasundaram, Head of Physiotherapy at Fernandez Hospital in Hyderabad. This pain is typically one-sided and can range from mild to severe, affecting daily activities and making it difficult to lift heavy objects.
Understanding Sciatica during Pregnancy
During pregnancy, factors such as the growing uterus, lax pelvic ligaments, altered biomechanics, and fluid retention can contribute to sciatica pain. Additionally, in later stages, pressure from the baby’s head directly on the nerve can trigger sciatica. It’s crucial to address and manage this discomfort effectively.
Tips to Handle Sciatica during Pregnancy
Place a Hot Water Bag on the Painful Area:
Applying a hot water bag to the affected area can increase blood flow, relax muscles, and reduce inflammation. This simple remedy provides relief from sciatica pain.
Avoid Prolonged Sitting:
It’s essential to frequently change positions and maintain good posture to reduce the risk of muscle strain. Extended periods of sitting can lead to aches and pains, so make an effort to move regularly.
Try Nerve Flossing:
While sitting in a chair, straighten the painful leg at the knee and move the foot forward and backward at the ankle. This technique, known as nerve flossing, can help alleviate sciatic nerve discomfort.
Engage in Piriformis Stretching:
In a sitting position or while lying on your back, place the foot of the painful leg on the knee of the painless leg. Keeping your back straight, bend forward from the hips. This stretching exercise can provide relief from sciatica pain.
Incorporate Back Bending Exercises:
Back bending exercises activate the spinal extensor muscles, which support proper posture. These exercises, such as Cobra Pose, Sphinx Pose, and Upward Facing Dog Pose, can be beneficial for managing sciatica pain.
Restrict Forward Bending:
Avoid excessive forward bending, as it can increase stress on the discs and muscles in the spine, potentially worsening existing pain or causing new injuries.
If these self-help measures do not alleviate your sciatica pain or if the pain becomes unbearable, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide further guidance and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Remember, pregnancy is a delicate phase, and taking care of your health is crucial for your well-being and that of your baby. By effectively managing sciatica pain, you can enjoy this special time with less discomfort and more joy.