How Can I Tell If I Have Sciatica While Pregnant
The people I work with often describe sciatica as being “stabbed with a hot poker.” So, as you can imagine, pain from this can be severe at times.
Sciatica pain can be confusing, as aches and pains all over the body are so common when you’re carrying the extra weight of a growing pregnancy! However, you can usually tell that what you are experiencing is true sciatica by the sheer severity of the painif it’s bad pain, there is a good chance it is sciatica.
You may also feel pins and needles or numbness along with the pain. This is another indicator of “true” sciatica. The pins and needles and numbness usually occur in the feet or toes, but you might notice your calf going numb, too.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your provider for diagnosis, and of course, treatment options.
What To Do If You Have Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatica takes time to heal and requires rest. Discomfort is common, but severe pain is not. If the pain is excruciating, certain over-the-counter medications may help. Talk to your doctor before you take any medication to ensure it won’t harm your baby.;
Dealing with constant body aches can be exhausting, but there are some simple home remedies you can try to help ease the pain:;
Take a hot shower or use a heating pad. Heat relaxes tight muscles, which are often aggravated as a result of carrying around extra weight. Putting a cold pack on your lower back and rear pelvis can also help.
Keep moving. Rest is important, and it’s tempting to curl up into a ball when your body hurts. However, gentle movement is often more helpful in the long run. Sometimes simply going for a walk can help. A prenatal yoga class is also a great way to soothe your muscles and mind. Try to limit too much bending or twisting, though. Low-impact activities like swimming may also be beneficial.;
But pay attention to the pain. Listen to your body and take note of any activities that irritate your sciatic nerve. Avoid heavy lifting and take frequent breaks if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time.
Get a massage. There’s some evidence that prenatal massage can reduce stress, improve blood circulation, and even regulate hormones.
Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy
Lumbar radiculopathy, commonly called sciatica, is a term that describes symptoms of pain, numbness, and/or weakness that originate in the lower back and radiate along the sciatic nerve into the buttock, thigh, and leg, sometimes including the foot. Sciatica is uncommon in pregnancy and usually does not occur as a result of the growing fetus or bodily changes that take place at the time. However, the symptoms may be experienced due to other underlying medical conditions.
Sciatica pain is fairly common during pregnancy. Watch:Sciatica Causes and Symptoms Video
Read on to learn how sciatica may occur in pregnancy, common types of pregnancy-related pain that may mimic sciatica, and tips for effective sciatica relief while pregnant.
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Why Do You Have Sciatica During Pregnancy
50 to 80% of women get lower back pain during the duration of their pregnancy. So if youre having sciatica like symptoms, youre not alone!
During pregnancy, there is an increase in the hormone called relaxin. This hormone is specifically responsible for relaxing ligaments. Without relaxin, your pelvic area during pregnancy would not stretch and loosen to accommodate your growing baby.
Relaxin is especially helpful for when it comes time to give birth. Without it, birth would be much more painful. Thank you relaxin!
But, with loosened ligaments comes pain with one or multiple muscles in your lower back and buttocks.
Since the sciatic nerve is located under the uterus and extends down to your legs, your growing uterus and baby can put pressure on it. Sciatica during pregnancy is literally a pain in the butt!
Throughout 9 months of pregnancy, sciatica pain will worsen in severity as your due date approaches. Once you give birth, the pressure your baby puts on your sciatic nerve will be released and hopefully the pain will significantly improve.
Symptoms Of Sciatica During Pregnancy
Theres no denying sciatica when it pops up! These are the most common symptoms of sciatica during pregnancy:
- Pain on one or both side of your buttocks;or leg;
- Numbness or pins and needles
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Burning sensation down the leg
- Difficulty walking or sitting for long periods of time
- Trouble lowering yourself down to a low seat, such as your car
- Pain when rolling over in bed at night
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Other Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain
A gentle massage over the lower section of your back can do a lot to help relieve inflammation and discomfort around your sciatic nerve. Its best to go to a professional masseuse, whos experienced in pregnancy-specific massages. A lot of spas even offer special mom-to-be massages to help relieve all of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, while also making sure you and baby are safe.;
You can also use a tennis ball to give yourself a massage at home. If youre early on in your pregnancy, you can lay on your back with the tennis ball under your lower back to roll out the tension. As your pregnancy progresses, we recommend you do this while sitting against the back of a chair.
Make sure you avoid sitting for long periodsif you have a desk job get up and take a walk regularly. Its also a good idea to use heat packs on your lower back or buttocks while youre sitting, to help keep tension from forming in those muscles. Being mindful of your posture while sitting will also help reduce irritation around your sciatic nerve. Taking a warm bath, using over-the-counter pain relievers, or using a foam roller on your buttocks and lower legs are all great ways to ease the pain.;
Do Pregnancy Pillows Help With Sciatica
Sort answer is yes. Placing a pregnancy pillow between your legs will help keep pelvis in better alignment and take some pressure off the sciatic nerve. Finding a right pillow and pillow arrangement will help you relieve stress on your sciatic nerve and will make it easier to get some good night sleep.
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What Does Sciatica Feel Like
It can be a deep, dull pain or a shooting, sharp pain. Sciatic pain can range from mild to severe. It often goes away with treatment.
How will I know if I have sciatica during pregnancy?
You will have a shooting, burning pain that comes and goes, and often affects just one side. You may feel pain in your lower back, at the back of your thigh and down the back of your leg to your foot.
Sciatic Pain Relief During Pregnancy
Relieving the pressure that has caused the pain can help in treating and preventing sciatica. The pressure can be relieved in the following ways:
- Hiring a massage therapist is the optimal choice. The massage therapist has a clear understanding and knowledge about the exact location of the sciatic nerve in the body. They help to relieve the pressure by applying some additional pressure of a therapeutic nature on the same point of pain.
- Other things which can help are chiropractic doctors , physical therapists, exercise , swimming and walking.
- Pain can also be controlled by using heating pads and making some changes in the way the pregnant mom sits or walks. Ice and heat pads can be made easily available, and are inexpensive too. They are quite effective in treating sciatica on many cases. A cold pack or ice application can help reduce inflammation and numb sore tissues. This can help reduce some of the pain in the sciatic nerve during pregnancy.
- Try Yoga and Stretching: Stretching exercises can be quite effective. This helps stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and causing pressed sciatic nerve, which causes pain.
- Avoid sitting or lying for long periods
- Chiropractor spinal adjustments
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Ways To Treat Sciatica During Pregnancy
How to treat sciatica during pregnancy? See a chiropractor. A chiropractor will check the alignment of your pelvis and spine which balances your posture and takes pressure off the sciatic nerve. A chiropractor may also be able to show you exercises you can do at home that help relieve pain.
Try the following to bring relief:
Get off your feet and lie on the side of the body that doesnt hurt. If the right leg is experiencing sciatic nerve pain, rest on your left side.
Apply warm compresses to the area.
Certain exercises such as swimming may temporarily relieve the belly of pregnancy weight and offer relief.
Ask your doctor about taking an anti-inflammatory.
See a chiropractor. A chiropractor will check the alignment of your pelvis and spine which balances your posture and takes pressure off the sciatic nerve. A chiropractor may also be able to show you exercises you can do at home that help relieve pain.
The good news is that any leg pain youre experiencing will go away once you deliver and your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
Leg pain during pregnancy:
Most pregnant moms get used to the ebb and flow of random aches and pains. Leg pain in pregnancy is tough enough.; If the sciatic nerve gets aggravated, that leg pain turns into a searing constant ache.
Unlike normal pregnancy pains, sciatica feels like a sharp, shooting, or tingling feeling that radiates from the buttocks down the back of the leg to the feet.
Cause of sciatic pain during pregnancy:
What Can Cause It
Sciatica related to age is the most common form. Herniated disk and bone spurs can occur with increasing age.;
Obesity can also affect the sciatica nerve due to the increased weight and pressure on the nerve.
During pregnancy, especially in the later stages, the weight of the baby can put pressure on the sciatic nerve which can cause sciatica pain. ;
It can also be caused by Trauma, Tumor, Spinal Stenosis, Piriformis Syndrome, or Spondylolisthesis. Risk factors that can contribute to getting sciatica are degenerative arthritis to the lumbar spine.
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What Is Sciatica Nerve Pain
Sciatica nerve pain is pain from the lower back through your hips and buttocks to your lower leg. Its an irritation of your sciatic nerve which is located around your lower spine and ends in the thigh.
The sciatica nerve is the largest in your body. It makes you feel sensations like pressure, heat, and pain in your lower back, legs, and feet. Its primary function is to send signals to and from your thigh muscle.
You can experience sciatica pain on the outside of your leg in the back or front. It usually affects only one side of the body but in some cases can affect both. Patients often describe it as shooting pain which can range from mild to severe.
What Is Pregnancy Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It runs through the back of your knees and the muscles in your lower leg. When your sciatic nerve gets pinched, bruised, or injured, it can cause pain in your lower back, legs, pelvis, and heel. This pain is known as sciatica. Sciatic pain can be triggered by:
- Injury, such as a pelvic fracture
- Cold weather
- Herniated disc with nerve root compression
Sciatica pain usually only occurs on one side of the body at a time, although some people feel sciatic pain on alternating sides. If you have an injury that affects only one side of your body, you will most likely feel the pain on that side.
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What You Need To Know About Sciatica During Pregnancy
Sciatica will most likely occur during the third trimester, when both you and your baby are bulking up . Most women typically experience pain just on one side, though you may feel it in both legs.
Sciatica can be constant or intermittent, depending on the amount of pressure placed on the nerve. Pain may increase as you put on more weight and retain more fluid.
And it can stick around for a few months or so after youve given birth, until youve shed the excess weight and fluid pressing on the nerve.
Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy
If you have sciatica pain during pregnancy, you are not alone. Sciatica and pregnancy go hand in hand. About two-thirds of all women develop sciatica during pregnancy.;
Once you have determined that you have sciatica, you can try different remedies to relieve the pain. Some simple sciatica remedies include stretching, gentle exercises, and massages.;
Try these gentle exercises for sciatica pain relief during pregnancy after youve discussed them with your doctor:
Be sure to talk to your doctor before doing any exercise while youre pregnant. Every pregnancy is different, so your doctor may want you to avoid certain things for your health. Swimming can be especially beneficial because the water allows your body to be more buoyant, which can remove strain and pressure on your joints and bones while exercising.
Gentle massages can help relieve sciatica during pregnancy. Try these methods:
- Tennis ball on the floor: Lie on your back and place a tennis ball under your lower back. Roll the ball around, massaging your back muscles. This is a good massage while you are in the early stages of pregnancy.
- Tennis ball on the wall: Place a tennis ball between your back and the wall and roll the ball around. This massage works great for women who are in their third trimester.
- Massage therapist: Light strokes on and around the lower back can do wonders for an inflamed and painful sciatic nerve.;
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How To Sleep With Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and motherhood can bring many new blessings. That doesnt mean they dont come with their share of hardships, as well. In fact, pregnancy can quite literally be a pain in the backside, with many expecting women experiencing persistent discomfort in their lower back and tailbone area. This pain, caused by a condition known as sciatica, can often be one of the most serious pregnancy complaints. Dont worry, were going to cover exactly what sciatica is and what you can do to prevent it and lessen that pain.
Symptoms Of Sciatic Nerve Pain
The primary symptom, as mentioned above, is pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your legs. Some other symptoms could point to sciatic nerve pain, though:
- Leg pain
- Numbness, tingling, or pins and needles in your legs
- Burning sensation in your lower extremities
- Pain that worsens with coughing, moving, or sneezing
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should let your doctor know at your next appointment. Theyll be able to provide some safe ways to relieve your pain or some over-the-counter pain medicine. Until then, here are some great stretches you can try at home to ease the pain.;
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Top Tips For Preventing And Treating Pregnancy Back Pain From Jennifer Bright
Back pain is the bane of many female pregnancies. With weight gain, hormonal fluctuations, and a shift in focus, back pain is pretty inevitable.
If the pain is in the tailbone, it may help to sit on a donut pillow. This will give some space between your tailbone and the seat. Movement can help, especially walking. Besides exercising, take a rest whenever you can. A prenatal massage can often also relieve the pain.
One particular type of back pain is particularly bothersome. Sciatic nerve pain is excruciating pain that you feel in your buttocks and that radiate into the back of one or both of your legs. Sciatic pain can be caused by your uterus pressing on your sciatic nerve. The nerve can become inflamed, causing pain; Needles and pins; and even deafness.
You can try hot or cold compresses to relieve the pain. But the good news is that it should go away after your baby is born. If you try to prevent back pain now, you can feel good later.
Heres what our mom doctors doctors who are mothers too do to prevent and treat back pain during pregnancy.
During my pregnancy, I saw 35 patients a day, says Mary Mason, MD, a mother of two, internist, and chief medical officer of a multi-state managed care company that cares for about 70,000 pregnant mothers on Medicaid coordinates a year. I had some problems with back pain and thought that swimming helped a lot.
When to call the doctor
Causes Of Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy
The major culprit of sciatica pain in pregnancy is an enlarged uterus.;
You may already know that as your uterus grows larger, it becomes harder to wait between restroom visits. This is because the uterus puts pressure on your bladder, making it hard to hold a normal amount of urine like you used to.
A growing uterus also puts pressure on your pelvic bones, spine, and hips, affecting your sciatic nerve, which can cause sciatica. If youre pregnant and experiencing symptoms of sciatica, your pregnancy is probably the cause.
If you have poor posture or already have an injury that would affect your sciatic nerve, then you may already be experiencing sciatica; pregnancy may make the pain worse.
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What Is Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy
Sciatica is caused by irritation of your sciatic nerve which starts in the lumbar or lower spine and ends in the thigh. With sciatica you may have pain in your buttocks and hip that travels to your thigh.
Sciatica is one of those less commonly spoken about pregnancy symptoms. But when you get it, you know it, and it can really cause you pain and inconvenience. Some women have such severe sciatica when walking and also while sleeping.
Sciatica is also known as lumbosacral radicular syndrome.