I started to have Sciatica during my 2nd pregnancy. The symptoms started to creep out towards the end of the 2nd trimester and persisted until Sherilyn was born. As the baby grew bigger inside my womb by the day, the sharp shooting pain I experienced on my leg also intensified. I couldn’t stand or walk too long, otherwise the pain would be more intensed. I thought I would not suffer from Sciatica during my 3rd pregnancy as the pregnancy was quite trouble-free but I was wrong and I got the attack towards the beginning of the 3rd trimester.
With Alycia, I was spared from Sciatica during my pregnancy as I was on partial bed-rest almost throughout my pregnancy.
So what exactly is Sciatica? Here is some information on Sciatica taken from Women’s Healthcare Topics.
What is Sciatica and How Can It Affect Pregnancy?
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs from the lower back to the back of the legs and feet. Typically this nerve allows feeling in the muscles of the legs and feet. There are times however when the sciatic nerve can become inflamed, whether from pressure in the back or injury. When this happens people experience sciatic pain. Sometimes persistent or chronic pressure to the sciatic nerve can result in weakness in the leg or surrounding areas, numbness or even tingling. Some women describe the sensation as similar to the feeling of pins and needles you get when your leg falls asleep.
Many women develop sciatica during pregnancy, though sciatica isn’t a result necessarily of being pregnant. Pressure on the sciatic nerve during pregnancy can lead to backache or other discomfort. Some women assume that the baby presses on the sciatic nerve resulting in pain or discomfort. This is not necessarily however the case. Many times sciatic pain during pregnancy results from damage to a disc in the spine. This can cause inflammation in the tissues surrounding the never or result in direct pressure to the nerve (if for example, the disc has slipped out of place and is compressing the nerve). Women who are pregnant are more prone to disc injury, hence the relationship.
Many women will have developed sciatica at some point or another whether pregnant or not. It may be coincidence that they experience pain and discomfort during their pregnancy. Some women will feel pain or tingling in their back and leg while others will only notice discomfort in one or the other area. Some women experience pelvic pain during pregnancy which is sometimes mistaken for sciatic pain.
Typically the symptoms of sciatica in pregnancy include the following:
Pins and needles in the lower back or leg, possibly the affected foot.
Shooting or burning in the leg, buttock or lower back.
Pain in the lower back or back of the pelvis that may extend into the foot.
Numbness in the leg or feet.
Treating Sciatica During Pregnancy
Many times sciatica pain or discomfort disappears on its own. Sometimes this can take as much as six weeks or more however. Routine visits to a physical therapist may help relieve some of your symptoms. Manual therapy can often help relieve pressure and discomfort associated with pregnancy back pain.
A therapist can also provide you with a list of beneficial exercises to not only improve your comfort but also strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles and back muscles. These will prove beneficial for labor and delivery, and the time after.
Still others find chiropractic care helpful for relieving sciatica pain. If you do choose to see a chiropractor or other manual therapist, be certain they have experience working with prenatal patients.
Some women find massage therapy helpful for relieving inflammation and symptoms associated with sciatica. A massage can certainly help reduce muscle tension. Some theories suggest that gluteus or psoas muscles that are too tight can help contribute to sciatic pain. Massage therapy may help relieve some of this tightness and reduce the symptoms associated with sciatica.
If you do develop sciatica during pregnancy be sure to consult with your health care provider regarding possible treatment options. Your doctor may recommend applying heat to the affected area and getting as much rest as possible. Postural corrections or changes may also help alleviate some of the pressure on your disc and the affected regions of your body.