A woman’s pregnancy is a unique and memorable moment in her life. Many report feeling energized and excited about becoming a mother and carrying their kid to term. Despite this, pregnancy is a physically challenging experience that brings a distinct set of aches and pains. However, the good news is that most of these pregnancy symptoms are entirely normal. However, it is still beneficial to understand the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, how they may change from one trimester to the next, and how to deal with them more effectively.
Studies suggest that first pregnancies often cause pelvic pain. “Pelvic pain” is lower abdominal and hip discomfort (pelvis). Sharp or cramping menstrual-like pain is possible. It might be agonizing, dull, or a combination of the two.
“50% of the pregnant women will suffer from lower back pain (LBP) while one-third of this ratio is recorded to suffer from severe pain, which disturbs their quality of life.”
The body produces the hormone relaxin’ during pregnancy. However, a pregnant woman’s shifting center of gravity and loosened ligaments can pinch the sciatic nerve, causing excruciating leg pain. In addition, pregnancy-related spinal compression impacts the sciatic nerve. This exercise aims to loosen your ligaments and prepare your pelvis for birth.
What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?
An irritated sciatic nerve can cause discomfort down the leg. The sciatic nerve emerges in the lower back, traveling down the buttocks and legs. The bottom half of your back, legs, and feet can feel sensations such as pressure, warmth, and, yes, pain because of a very long nerve that runs down its length.
Pressure on the sciatic nerve during pregnancy can lead to inflammation, discomfort, and pain due to increased blood flow and an enlarged uterus. Pain that radiates from your lower back down both legs is a tell-tale sign of sciatica. As your baby grows, the added weight strains the sciatic nerve, making sciatica more frequent later in pregnancy.
Causes of Sciatica Pain in Pregnancy
Most of the time, issues with the lumbar spine, such as a bulging or herniated disc, are the root cause of sciatic pain. Bone changes, such as spinal narrowing or osteoarthritis, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or another condition called spondylolisthesis, can also bring about this symptom. These circumstances can potentially put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which might result in discomfort.
It is unusual for a pregnant woman to experience sciatica because of a herniated disc. However, symptoms similar to sciatica are common in pregnant women who experience back pain. Somewhere between fifty and eighty percent of pregnant women experience back pain.
Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain
The most obvious symptom is a pain in the lower back that extends down the legs. There are, however, a few more indications that could lead to sciatic nerve pain:
- Leg discomfort
- Poor bladder control
- Legs that feel numb, tingly, or like they have pins and needles in them
- A sensation of burning across your lower extremities
- A pain that is made worse by activities such as coughing, moving, or sneezing
Make sure to inform your primary care doctor about any of these symptoms at your appointment if you experience any of them. They can recommend non-harmful techniques to alleviate your pain in addition to some pain medications available over the counter. In the meantime, here are some excellent stretches you may perform at home to relieve discomfort.
Helpful Remedies for Sciatica
In a medical sense, no treatment can completely alleviate sciatica symptoms other than childbirth. However, several alternatives are available to help with sciatica discomfort while pregnant. Some require the assistance of professionals like chiropractors, yoga teachers, and massage therapists. Nevertheless, you can take matters into your own hands by performing simple exercises daily at home.
Chiropractic care for Subluxation
What causes the nerve to become irritated? Bones that are not in their proper alignment might put a strain on the sciatic nerve.
To chiropractors, this is known as a subluxation. Causes behind misalignment can be physical reasons (such as regular activity, exercise, or trauma), physiological factors (such as vitamin deficiency or drug use), and mental factors (such as worry or anxiety) (like stress and depression.)
For your developing child, your body will go through several shifts. Your body’s natural production of the hormone calming may help with this. On the other hand, this makes it much easier to lose your way and get off track.
Pregnant women who receive chiropractic care report significant improvements in back pain, sciatica, and overall health. Realigning the pelvis usually leads to shorter labor, a more favorable fetal position, and successful natural births. Chiropractors help to correct the pelvis and relax the related soft tissue so that labor and delivery are more manageable and safer for the mother and baby.
- Seated piriformis stretch – You’ll find the piriformis muscle deep within the buttocks. This stretch will assist in releasing tension that has built up in the muscle and may help reduce the amount of pain caused by sciatica. When pulled too tightly, it can aggravate the pain in the sciatic nerve.
- Pigeon Pose – This well-known yoga position helps reduce discomfort similar to sciatica that might occur during pregnancy. As long as you make a few minor modifications, you can keep doing it even if you’re pregnant.
- Table Stretch – This is a calming experience for pregnant women. Thanks to this exercise, the hamstring, back, and buttock flexors all get a stretch.
- Hip flexor stretch – The hip flexors are a batch of muscles around the front of the hip that aid in protracting the thigh and knee when doing activities like walking. Numerous women experience a tightening of the hip flexors during pregnancy which causes problems with pelvic alignment and posture.
- Glute and hamstring foam rolling – A foam roller is a low-priced tool for massaging sore muscles. Tight muscles and connective tissue benefit from the roller’s massaging action. Tight muscles, which may be a source of pain, can be relaxed and soothed with foam rolling.
How to prevent the triggering of sciatica?
In addition to massage and stretching, other self-care activities that moms can do to reduce or prevent sciatica pain in pregnancy include:
- Get up and move around every once in a while to avoid sitting too long.
- Put heating pads on your buttocks and lower back.
- Try soaking in a hot tub.
- Acetaminophen and similar pain medications are available without a prescription to use by pregnant females.
- Use a foam roller to massage your hamstrings and glutes. Customers have a selection of foam rollers from online vendors.
- Sit up straight, especially when using a computer. Put a pillow behind the chair’s back for extra support.
Sciatica pain in pregnancy can be unbearable and upsetting for expecting mothers. Pay heed to the signs your body sends you, and refrain from performing the things that aggravate your sciatica. Stretching can alleviate the discomfort associated with sciatica by reducing the tension in surrounding muscles and facilitating movement in the hips, lower back, and legs.
Since it may exert direct pressure on the sciatic nerve, the piriformis muscle is one of the muscles responsible for sciatica symptoms most of the time. Chiropractors have successfully treated sciatica by realigning the spine and massaging the muscles surrounding the spine and buttocks, which helps restore their normal function.
Contact your Scottsdale Chiropractor, Dr. Abbas Khayami, D.C, at Better Health Solutions to learn how to Manage Sciatica Pain in Pregnancy.
What Is Sciatic Pain & What Causes It?
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