What is Sciatica?
In your body, you have a nerve called the sciatic nerve. This nerve supports the lower part of your body. This nerve might get irritated during pregnancy causing sharp lower back pain that runs through your back to your leg.
What are the causes of Sciatica?
This condition happens due to some other problems in your spine such as disc disease, osteoarthritis, or joint problems. These diseases may cause the nerve to get irritated leading to sciatica. Other causes of sciatica are related to increased pressure on your nerve that is caused by the expansion in your uterus and the growth of your belly.
What are the symptoms of Sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica include the following:
- Sharp, shooting, burning pain.
- The pain is occasional which means it comes and goes.
- Pain starts in your lower back and runs through your buttocks and down to your thigh and foot.
- You may feel numbness or weakness in your affected foot.
- You may feel difficulty while sitting, standing, or walking.
How to treat Sciatica?
This pain can be managed by some simple remedies and stretches that you can do at your home. However, if your pain is unbearable, your doctor may recommend you some medications, physical therapy, or surgery. The following list includes medications that can help with your pain:
- Over-the-counter pain killers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
- Muscle relaxants
- Steroid injections
Sciatica in Pregnacy?
Lower back pain is common in pregnancy.
Not all lower back pain is the same. There are different conditions that may cause your back pain. One of these conditions is sciatica.
I am Pregnant. How to know this is Sciatica?
It is common to experience lower back pain during pregnancy. Actually, it happens in up to 50% of pregnant women.
Sciatica is less common, affecting only 1% of pregnant women.
You know it is Sciatica if:
- The pain is sharp and shooting to the side and downward
- It is sudden pain
- It runs through the butt or leg on one side usually.
What are some things I can do to relieve my Sciatica in Pregnancy?
When your pain is mild, you can manage it at home. Here are some approaches to ease your pain that you can do from the comfort of your house:
- Apply hot and cold packs by doing the following:
- Start the first 2-3 days by applying cold packs on your lower back only for up to 20 minutes several times a day.
- After the first few days, apply a heating pad first then cold packs several times a day.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects
- Avoid standing for long times – this is also a cause for water retention in pregnancy!
- Try wearing a maternity support belt.
- Stretching helps! (see the next section).
What exercises can help relieve the pain of Sciatica in Pregnancy?
There are some stretching exercises for your low back area that can help with your pain such as the following poses:
- Seated Piriformis Stretch
- Table stretches
- Child’s Pose
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Pigeon Pose
- Hip flexor stretch
- Glute and hamstring foam rolling
What is the best sleeping position if I am Pregnant and have Sciatica?
When it comes to sleeping with this pain during pregnancy, some doctors recommended trying side sleeping and using a full-body pillow that supports your pelvis.
Can Acupuncture help with Sciatica?
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective method to relieve sciatic pain. This method is beneficial because it is a safe, non-surgical treatment, and does not carry the risk of side effects that comes with other medications.
According to a systemic review and meta-analysis by ZS Qin et al (2015), acupuncture is able to alleviate the pain of sciatica better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In other words, acupuncture can be more effective than the use of painkillers in the treatment of sciatica.
Can Acupuncture help with Sciatica in Pregnancy?
Yes! Acupuncture is an under-rated by viable TCM Pregnancy Treatment that can really help with Sciatica.
Acupuncture points are chosen so as not to stimulate points that are contraindicated in pregnancy.
Instead, strategic points are chosen in your lower back, buttocks and leg to help alleviate the pain of sciatica.
The result of acupuncture include the following:
- Pain relief
- Clearance of trigger points
- Reduction in muscle tension
- Improvement in micro-circulation
- Release of endorphins
You will usually find relief after the first session.
What to expect after getting Acupuncture for Sciatica in Pregnancy?
If your pain is acute, and you find relief after the first session, it is a clear sign that you may improve even more in subsequent sessions.