Up to 40% of people experience sciatica at some point in their lives, which is why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes many changes to help support the weight and needs of the baby. However, this can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sharp pain in the legs and hips.
Here at Advantage Spinal Dynamics & Innovative Medicine in Meridian, Idaho, our team of experts can accurately diagnose sciatica and work with you to develop a management protocol to help you get through your pregnancy with minimal discomfort.
The sciatic nerve is the largest in your body, spanning from your lower spine down into your legs. Sciatica refers to the radiating pain that travels down this nerve, and includes other symptoms such as:
- Tingling and numbness in one or both legs
- Weakness and poor muscle control
- Pain that worsens while sitting down
The pain can be described as a constant, burning ache, jolts of electrified pain down the legs, or throbbing that radiates into your hips and buttocks.
Sciatica during pregnancy
Excess weight is a common cause of sciatica, but that weight isn’t always extra pounds. Up to 80% of pregnant women experience lower back pain, including sciatica symptoms, as their babies grow and take up more space in their bodies.
Hormones also play a part in worsening sciatica symptoms. During pregnancy, hormones like relaxin are released to loosen and stretch ligaments in the pelvis. That prepares pregnant women for the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
However, these changes can also lead to sacroiliac (SI) joint problems and piriformis syndrome, conditions that put additional pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Treatment options for sciatica during pregnancy
Pregnancy limits your options for traditional pain relief, but that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it.
Bedrest during pregnancy is important, but sometimes getting up and moving is the best thing for your body. Gentle exercises like stretching can release endorphins, and following it up with a hot shower or heating pad can soothe tight muscles.
If you find that stretching reduces sciatica symptoms, consider signing up for a prenatal yoga course to learn more moves and manage your condition.
If you still find yourself struggling with sciatic nerve pain, it might be time to consult a specialist.
At Advantage Spinal Dynamics & Innovative Medicine, our providers can help determine what factors are worsening your sciatica symptoms and suggest treatment options that are safe for you and your baby. Your treatment plan may include:
- Massage therapy, to stimulate blood flow and reduce physical and mental stress
- Physical therapy, which can sometimes help more than yoga
- Spinal decompression, to relieve pressure on the SI joints and sciatic nerve
- Acupuncture, which can help with sciatica and stress
- Biofeedback therapy, to help you gain control over your body and the pain
If you’re having trouble sleeping, walking, or sitting due to persistent sciatica symptoms, don’t wait until your baby is born to seek treatment. To schedule a consultation, call 208-213-7963 or request an appointment online.