Pregnant? Here's a Safe Way to Deal With Sciatica

Dec 11, 2023
Pregnant? Here's a Safe Way to Deal With Sciatica
Sciatica is a collection of symptoms generated by compression of the sciatic nerve. When you’re pregnant, the load on your lower spine and other changes make back pain all but unavoidable. You’ll need a safe way to deal with sciatica. 

Your sciatic nerves run down each leg after branching off your spinal cord in your lower back. When one of these nerves becomes compressed or irritated, it produces a collection of symptoms called sciatica

Sciatica is a common problem across the entire population and the numbers climb for pregnant women. Some estimates predict that as many as 80% of women may experience lower back pain during pregnancy. 

Your options for pain relief change when you’re pregnant since you have your baby to consider as well, which rules out some typical sciatica care therapies. Fortunately, pregnancy sciatica responds well to rest and gentle exercise, so focused self-care may make your life more comfortable. 

At Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia, Dr. Rudy Malayil and our team can safely move your pain relief efforts to the next level when home care fails to produce results. We specialize in treatments for back pain and sciatica, so we can keep you pain-free throughout this special time in your life. 

Causes of sciatica

Spinal disc problems often trace back to the origins of sciatica symptoms. Bulging or herniated discs can compress or irritate your sciatic nerve. This isn’t a common problem during pregnancy, but it can occur. 

Sciatica can also happen from muscle issues and joint instability caused by changes in your body during pregnancy. Common conditions of this type include piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac (SI) joint issues. 

Recognizing the symptoms

Sciatica is known for its characteristic referred symptoms. While you can feel lower back pain at the location of nerve compression, you’ll also experience symptoms along the path of your sciatica nerve itself. Some of the common signs of sciatica include: 

  • Constant or intermittent pain 
  • Symptoms on one side only, but can be on both in rare cases
  • Pain in your buttock and back of your thigh
  • Sharp electric-shock-type pain or burning sensations
  • Pins and needles sensations
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

Sciatica is mom’s problem. You don’t need to worry about the baby being affected by the discomfort and pain you experience. 

Safe ways to deal with sciatica

While sciatica can strike at any time during your pregnancy, it’s most common during your third trimester. If there’s a point in your pregnancy that invites resting, it’s those final months, and that also serves you well if you’re living with sciatica. 

Complete rest, though, isn’t the best approach to sciatica symptoms. Your body thrives on motion. Walking at a gentle pace helps keep your muscles loose, so walk as much as you can without aggravating your pain. 

Swimming is also an excellent way to keep in motion, since the water supports part of your baby’s weight, giving your spine a rest. Pay attention to what your body tells you, and don’t push yourself past points of comfort. 

Hot and cold therapy can ease muscle aches and tissue inflammation. Cold packs may be more effective in the first 24 hours after sciatica symptoms emerge. After that, heat works best on muscle pain and cold may be better for calming inflammation. Go with what works for you. Warm showers and baths are therapy, no matter how luxurious you make them. 

Dedicated piriformis muscle stretches help when sciatic nerve irritation originates in your buttocks. Other muscle stretches and yoga poses may address different aspects of your sciatica condition. 

You can request an appointment with Pain Management 360 through our online link, or you can call one number to book with any of our three locations. We’re ready to help when you need treatment beyond the care you can provide for yourself at home. Don’t hesitate. Your comfort is key to an enjoyable pregnancy.