Is The Weight Of Pregnancy The Reason Why So Many Pregnant Women Get Sciatica
Its true that sciatica is common in pregnancy but increased weight is not the main reason why pregnant women get sciatica. A better explanation is that certain hormones of pregnancy cause a loosening of their ligaments. Ligaments hold the vertebrae together, protect the disks and keep the spine stable. Loosened ligaments can cause the spine to become unstable and might cause disks to slip, which leads to nerves being pinched and the development of sciatica. The babys weight and position can also add pressure to the nerve.
The good news is there are ways to ease sciatic pain during pregnancy, and the pain goes away after birth. Physical therapy and massage therapy, warm showers, heat, medications and other measures can help. If you are pregnant, be sure to follow good posture techniques during pregnancy to also ease your pain.
Relief Strategy #: Take A Stretch Break
Tight muscles can also aggravate the sciatic nerve, says Dr. Dhanani. Doing a few targeted stretches can help open up the muscles surrounding the nerve, in turn relieving some of the pressure.
Two stretches to try:
Knee to Chest: Lie on the floor, either with your legs straight or with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, whichever is more comfortable. Raise one knee toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your hip. You can place your hands on top of your knee or behind your thigh. Hold in this position for 30 seconds. Release, switch legs and repeat.
Seated Figure 4: Sit tall in a chair and cross one leg on top of the other, placing your ankle over the opposite knee. Place your hand on the knee of the crossed leg. Lean forward, keeping your back straight, and gently press on the crossed knee until you feel a stretch in your hips and butt. Hold for 30 seconds. Release, switch legs and repeat.
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What Does Sciatica Feel Like
Sciatic pain is a familiar sensation for many up to 40% of people experience it at some time in their life, and frequency increases with age. It differs from other types of back pain in that it often feels like burning, tingling or numbness, low in the back and down the backs of the legs. It might feel like a shooting pain from deep in the buttocks downward. Some patients describe a dull, constant ache rather than a sharp, shooting pain.
The sensations can manifest down the legs because the sciatic nerve travels from the lower back down to the toes. In most cases, sciatic pain occurs on only one side of the body. It happens when any of the nerve roots that exit from your lower spine become irritated or pinched. Many different scenarios can result in sciatic pain.
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Why Is This Happening
As we mentioned earlier, sciatica is a symptom and not an actual health condition. Sciatica simply means that the sciatic nerve is being compressed or irritated in some way, resulting in pain. The root cause of sciatic pain needs to be diagnosed by a professional, such as a chiropractor. Some of the more common causes of sciatic pain include:
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- Spinal tumor
There are other possible causes, but those are rare. Before your sciatic pain can be relieved, the root cause needs to be determined and addressed.
The Best Exercises For Sciatic Nerve Pain
Youll notice that most of these exercises are either yoga poses or pilates-based moves.
Both of these forms of exercises are great for sciatic pain especially yoga due to their ability to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve through stretching, while simultaneously strengthening the surrounding muscles that hold everything in correct alignment.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
Tight hamstrings combined with a weak core and back is a recipe for sciatica aggravation. Downward dog stretches the hamstrings and engages the stability muscles of the core and lower back, which can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Begin on the floor with your knees directly under your hips and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
- Turn your toes under, spread your fingertips, exhale, and raise your knees off the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone to the sky, letting your gaze fall between your arms.
- Gently work toward touching your heels to the ground. Dont worry if it takes a while to develop enough hamstring flexibility to do this.
- Hold this pose for one to three minutes.
2. Cobra Pose
Spending too much time with your body folded forward while sitting is one of the most common causes of sciatic pain, as it helps pinch the nerve.
Cobra pose opens your chest and shoulders while stretching out the front of the hips and hip flexors, relieving pressure between the disks.
3. Low Lunge
4. Seated Groin Stretch
5. Dead Bug
7. Kneeling Arm and Leg Reach
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The Best Sciatica Pillow
Among the finest methods to sleep with sciatic nerve ache is to spend money on a selected pillow. What sort of pillow works best for sciatica ache? On the subject of discovering the most effective sciatica pillow, there are a variety of things that must be thought of.
Youll wish to contemplate your physique kind and sleeping place with the intention to discover whats going to give you the results you want. For instance, if you happen tore a abdomen sleeper or again sleeper with sciatic ache on one facet, then getting a selected contoured pillow may assist relieve some stress factors throughout sleep time which might make signs worse when waking up.
A preferred pillow kind for sciatica ache is the wedge pillow. These pillows are pretty straight till reaching the tip, which is then angled in the direction of your again to assist maintain you in a extra upright place and relieve stress factors that sciatica ache victims expertise when resting on their abdomen or facet.
You may additionally wish to contemplate going with a reminiscence foam contoured pillow for sciatica because its in a position to conform round your physique whereas nonetheless offering assist and aid.
A firmer mattress might be nice too if you happen tove been experiencing ache throughout sleep time as a consequence of a very comfortable mattress being unable to offer enough assist.
Chiropractic Massage And Acupuncture Treatments
Alternative treatments for sciatica can also provide some pain relief. A chiropractor can adjust your spine in a way that increases spinal movement, which improves spine function and decreases pain. Chiropractic treatment can also relieve lower back pain caused by sciatica, but is less effective for radiating pain.
You may have tight muscles as a result of sciatica pain. Massage can help loosen up your muscles, alleviating some pain and improving mobility and flexibility.
Some research suggests that acupuncture can help relieve sciatica. If youre interested in acupuncture, be sure to visit a licensed practitioner.
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Bonus Tip: Get More Restorative Sleep
The quantity and quality of your sleep can directly affect pain and inflammation in your body. When you sleep, several inflammatory substances peak in your bloodstream and stay active throughout the night. When there is poor sleep quality, these inflammatory agents continue to circulate in the body through the dayâresulting in pain and fatigue.8
A full night of deep, restorative sleep can help decrease inflammatory pain and make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
If your sciatica pain gets worse and/or severely disrupts your daily life, check with your doctor about additional pain relief options, which may include medications, manual manipulation, epidural steroid injections, and more.
Is Bed Rest Good For A Pinched Nerve
If your pain is severe, one or two days of bed rest is fine, but prolonged rest may worsen sciatica. Muscle stiffness and weakness often accompany sciatic pain, and immobility will only intensify these symptoms. Getting in some low-impact exercise as soon as you feel ready will loosen and strengthen the affected muscles and aid your recovery, says Dr. Bhavik Sheth, Physical Therapist.
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What Helps Sciatic Nerve Pain
If you experience a shooting or piercing pain in your lower back that radiates down to your legs, you may be suffering from sciatica pain. The sciatica nerve is the longest in the body, running from the buttocks down to the toes. Sciatica, or impingement of the sciatic nerve, affects more than 3 million people in the United States every year, and symptoms can vary greatly, depending on the individual. Academy Injury & Health Centers team of well-trained and dedicated chiropractors are sharing what causes the sciatic nerve to flare up and how to get some relief.
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.
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What If I Just Wait For The Pain To Go Away
Unfortunately, sciatica pain is so common that many people have come to believe that they can either just wait it out, self-treat the problem, or take advice from non-qualified persons about how they fixed their sciatica.
While most people have similar pain sensations, everyone is different. Some describe the pain as intermittent and annoying, while others find it intense and absolutely debilitating.
Sciatica rarely goes away on its own without some type of medical assistance and healing program.
Damage to the nerves can happen if the problem is not addressed. Nerve damage can lead to a permanent loss of sensation or even a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Seeing your chiropractor to determine the cause of your sciatic pain is the best possible option to avoid complications and to prevent a small problem from becoming more severe.
How To Do Acupressure For Sciatic Pain Relief
Sciatic nerve relief is what you want when you experience the extreme pain due to sciatica. Acupressure can give you this relief. Acupressure can be understood as an alternative medicine technique just like acupuncture. The difference is just in the means of applying pressure on the points over your body. While acupuncture uses needles, acupressure uses physical pressure over the body points for clearing the blockages that might be causing pain and other discomforts in your body. Pressure can be applied by hands, elbow, or other devices. For example, the acupressure technique for sciatic nerve relief that you are going to read below can be done with your fists or with the help of a tennis ball.
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Best Sciatica Exercises To Do At Home
Sciatica pain can be painful and debilitating but there are some great sciatica exercises to do at home that you can start using today to relieve your pain. The radiating pain that travels from your back down through your hip and into your leg is the signature pain associated with sciatica which impacts about four in ten people at some point. If youre currently experiencing sciatica pain, these home sciatica exercises can help you to start feeling better today.
In this video, Dr. Blake, Jane, and Ashley will demonstrate and explain exactly how to do the 4 best sciatica exercises to do at home for pain relief. These sciatica exercises wont take much time at all and theyll provide you with instant pain relief.
How To Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
Has radiating, shooting sciatic pain in your low back and legs got you down?
I mean, literally, on the couch, in pain?
You may be tempted to stay down. After all, who wants to get up and get moving when theyre in pain? But I urge you to give movement a chance.
First, because not moving can actually worsen sciatic nerve pain, especially if youre sitting in the wrong position .
Second, because we want not only to relieve your sciatic pain, but also start on the road to strengthening areas of your body that may help prevent further pain.
Im going to outline specific exercises that will show you how to relieve sciatic nerve pain. But before we get into them, lets spend some time talking about the sciatic nerve and what can cause it to flare with pain.
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What Is The Sciatic Nerve
Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating and debilitating that you dont even want to get off the couch. Common causes of sciatica can include a ruptured disk, a narrowing of the spine canal , and injury.
Certified physical therapist Mindy Marantz says that sciatica pain can occur for a variety of reasons. She says, Identifying what doesnt move is the first step toward solving the problem. Often, the most problematic body parts are the lower back and hips.
Dr. Mark Kovacs, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, adds that the best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.
Here are six exercises that do just that:
- reclining pigeon pose
What Is The Treatment For Sciatica
Bed rest has been traditionally advocated for the treatment of acute sciatica. But how useful is it?
To study the effectiveness of bed rest in patients with sciatica, a research team in the Netherlands led by Dr. Patrick Vroomen randomly assigned 183 such patients to bed rest or, alternatively, to watchful waiting for this period.
The results, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that after two weeks, 70% patients in the bed-rest group reported improvement, as compared with 65% of the patients in the control group. After 12 weeks, 87% of the patients in both groups reported improvement. The results of assessments of the intensity of pain, the aggravation of symptoms, and functional status revealed no significant differences between the two groups. The extent of absenteeism from work and rates of surgical intervention were similar in the two groups.
The researchers concluded that “among patients with symptoms and signs of sciatica, bed rest is not a more effective therapy than watchful waiting.” Sometimes, conventional wisdom is not as wise as research!
Other treatment options for sciatica depend on its cause and include addressing the underlying cause.
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You’ll Learn Tips To:
Stand & walk longer without sciatic nerve pain
Sleep better at night with less pain and stiffness in the morning
Sit in the car more comfortably
Get on & off the floor to play with kids or grandkids
Sit at a desk without sciatic nerve pain
Work in the house, yard, or garden without âpaying for itâ later
Relieve pain AND stress naturally without relying on medications
Eat healthier to fuel your body for recovery and maintain a healthy weight
Keep your sciatic nerve pain from coming back again in the future
Cold Therapy For Treating Sciatica Pain
Cold therapy is one of the recommended treatments for sciatic pain. Cryotherapy, such as ice packs and cold gels, are viable options for non-invasive and non-surgical therapy. Still, cold water immersion, in the form of ice baths, is a deeper level of treatment that positively affects the body and its different systems.
Ice baths work because they may help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which could influence inflammation and its effects on the body. The low temperatures are known to soothe the burning and swelling that occurs in the legs and back.
Taking an ice bath is a recommended technique for various aches, including back pain. In this instance, the cold treatment may help reduce the back pain associated with sciatica.
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Exercise #: Knee To Chest Stretch
Do 3 sets of 10- to 30-second hold per side
How to do it: Lie on a mat with your legs straight or knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Raise your right knee toward your chest, then gently pull the back of your thigh to draw the knee even loser to your chest. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds. Release, switch to other leg, and repeat for a total of three sets per side.
Make it easier: If you have trouble getting onto the floor, you can perform this lying in bed or seated in a chair.
What Are The Recommendations In Clinical Guidelines
Although in many countries clinical guidelines are available for the management of non-specific low back pain this is not the case for sciatica. Box 4 shows the recommendations for sciatica in clinical guidelines recently issued by the Dutch College of General Practice.w4 After excluding specific diseases on the basis of red flags, sciatica is diagnosed on the basis of history taking and physical examination. Initial treatment is conservative, with a strong focus on patient education, advice to stay active, continuing daily activities, and adequate treatment for pain. In this phase imaging has no role. Referral to a medical specialistfor example, neurologist, rheumatologist, spine surgeonis indicated in patients whose symptoms do not improve after conservative treatment for at least 6-8 weeks. In these referred cases surgery may be considered. Immediate referral is indicated in cases with a cauda equina syndrome. Acute severe paresis or progressive paresis are also reasons for referral .
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