Unbearable Sciatica Pain Pregnancy 2nd Trimester

I suffered with unbearable sciatica pain in the second trimester of my pregnancy. It was so bad that I could not walk, sit or lie down for more than a few minutes at a time, and I had to be carried up and down stairs. If you’re suffering from sciatica pain during pregnancy, you may find the information on this page and our other pages helpful. You can also check out Top 10 Sciatica Treatments For Pregnancy. Millions of women have suffered with sciatica during pregnancy, but now science can help relieve that pain fast.

The pain from sciatica is hard to imagine—and if you’re pregnant, it’s even worse. But there are treatments for pregnancy sciatica that can help ease the pain and reduce the risk of complications. Sciatica is a condition that causes pain anywhere from the buttock down to the sciatic nerve. It usually starts with a sharp pain that travels along the path of this nerve, which runs from the lower back area to the feet. The pain might not be constant, but it can be quite severe and make it difficult to do your daily activities. Before I found relief, I was in incredible pain and couldn’t walk or sit properly. Sciatica is very common in pregnancy due to changing hormone levels and growing baby.

Sciatica is a condition of the back that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the leg. It can occur in any part of the body, but is most commonly found in the lower back sector between the buttocks. The sciatic nerve travels front to back and passes below each buttock as it exits at the spine.

What To Do For Severe Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

In the case of severe sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy, you need to be very careful. A bad condition can lead to complications, even miscarriage. According to studies, there are many exercises that can help you relieve this pain during pregnancy. These are the top 10 exercises that will help you deal with sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy:

Many women experience sciatica during pregnancy, because the growing baby puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is the name of this pain, which typically runs from your lower back all the way down your legs. Not only does it hurt, but it can also be a major distraction and become really dangerous if you don’t take care of it quickly. If your sciatic nerve is giving you a lot of pain, it can be hard to cope with. The good news is that you can reduce pain and discomfort by making some simple lifestyle changes to relieve stress on your back. Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy is common, but there are ways to manage this condition.

There are several things you can do to reduce your sciatic nerve pain. One of the first things is to limit your movements. And when you do move, avoid pinching and hitting the nerve. It may help to lie flat with your knees pulled up slightly. You can also try heating pads as well as cold packs for pain relief. Another way to alleviate sciatica is by keeping up with physical therapy exercises such as those prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist, which can help stretch out those tight muscles around your spine and relieve pressure on your lower back

Sciatica is a common medical condition that causes pain in the leg and buttocks area, which has its origin in the lower back. Sciatic pain often radiates down through the limbs and can potentially impact on mobility and quality of life. When sciatica occurs during pregnancy it can be very uncomfortable and reduce your ability to do normal daily tasks, like walking or carrying out your daily chores….

What Helps With Sciatica Pain While Pregnant

What helps with sciatica pain while pregnant? I know, right?! It sounds so simple and cliché. One little push and a baby is here—like they just come out on their own! But in reality, your body is going through quite a lot of hard work; muscular, physical and emotional to bring your bundle of joy into the world.

What can help with your sciatica during pregnancy? While the pain of a sciatica attack can be scary, rest assured that you have options to help ease your discomfort and even shorten recovery times. Exercise is a great way to combat sciatica symptoms because it increases blood flow through your body, which encourages healing. What helps sciatica pain while pregnant? In most cases of Sciatica, it is caused by a pinched nerve. This may be due to inflammation of the surrounding tissue bed, herniation of a disc, or caused by a condition called piriformis syndrome. The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep moving and try not to remain in any one position for too long. It is also important that you try to maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy so as not to cause added pressure on your back or hips.

Sciatica pain can make standing, sitting or even walking hard during pregnancy. Not only does it change how you normally function, it also makes even getting out of bed a complicated ordeal. Some women experience sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy and it can range from a mild irritation to severe pain in your legs, back and hips. Sciatica during pregnancy has different causes so the best thing you can do is avoid those things that trigger it. As with anything else research what can help relieve sciatica during pregnancy so that you don’t have to suffer through pain in your legs, lower back and hips just because you are carrying a baby inside.

Sciatica during pregnancy is a common complaint because of the changing of the body shape. Sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from your lower back down the back of each leg. It controls sensation and movement in your hips, buttocks, legs, feet and toes. Normally sciatic pain seems to be a one-sided pain in the lower back or buttock, or can progress down through your buttock or leg into your foot. A lot of pregnant women experience sciatica during pregnancy due to the changes happening in their uterus. Sciatica is a major cause of pain for pregnant women and can make movement difficult, especially during the second and third trimesters. Back pain may be caused by tightness in the hip flexors, which help in shifting weight from back to front. Sciatica, which is also referred to as a pinched nerve, occurs when there is an inflammation or injury in your spine/spinal cord. Your spine protects vital blood vessels that run through it and supplies nutrients to your body parts.

What Helps Sciatica Pain While Pregnant

Pregnant women experience a wide range of pains and problems, but sciatica is one that’s often ignored. You may have been relegated to bed rest, or you might still be hoping for the best. Either way, sciatica pain during pregnancy can be debilitating. If getting out is an impossibility and you feel there are no treatment options, you’re wrong. We’ve found 5 secrets to help relieve pregnancy pain and sciatica.

A grouping of issues that commonly occur when there is either compression or pressure put on the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. This ailment can manifest due to many reasons that range from injuries to herniated or dislocated disks in the spine.

Responsible for sending sensation to the thighs, sole and the lower part of your back, the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. Sciatica, which is also known as a lumbosacral radicular syndrome can cause throbbing pain throughout the back of your legs and lower back.

What is Sciatica in Pregnancy?

Researchers estimate that fifty to eighty percent of women have lower back pain during pregnancy. Although lower back pain is a common occurrence, sciatica during pregnancy is not extremely common. The statistics show that less than five percent of pregnant women are actually diagnosed with sciatica. To be diagnosed with sciatica, you must have some form of damage to the disk of your spine around the sciatic nerve causing swelling and compressing the nerve.

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Lower back pain or pain in the thighs and feet is only considered sciatica if there is some form of damage caused to the sciatic nerve. It is important to note that the first step towards overcoming the challenges of sciatica during pregnancy is correctly getting diagnosed. Unless the sciatic nerve is identified as the cause of the pain the ailment is not considered sciatica. This is the reason it is important to understand sciatica through its symptoms.

Symptoms of Sciatica During Pregnancy

Identifying symptoms of sciatica is the first step towards managing and treating this condition. Although the symptoms may vary in intensity, they do not change. Here are some of the most common symptoms of sciatica to look out for.

  1. The most common symptom of sciatica is a throbbing pain in the lower lumbar area. This extends down to the back of the thighs and the soles of the feet.
  2. A burning and stabbing pain that can be present on either one side of the body or both and comes in intervals.
  3. Minor cramping along the muscles of the buttocks and back.
  4. Minor spasms along the lower back.
  5. On occasions, some pain in and around the groin region.
  6. Numbness in the leg and foot that is caused by prolonged periods of tingling along the same regions.
  7. An extremely irregular curvature of the lower back.
  8. Extreme weakness due to pain along the sciatic nerve path.
  9. Difficulty in walking, sitting and standing.

Disclaimer: Most of the mentioned symptoms can be symptoms of other conditions as well. Please consult a doctor for a more accurate diagnosis for sciatica.

Causes of Sciatica Pain in Pregnant Women

It is important to remember that there is no reason to panic when diagnosed with sciatica. If the symptoms match, then it is vital to understand what the causes of sciatica are. Commonly, sciatica during pregnancy occurs around the second or the third trimester. There are numerous reasons why you could develop sciatica during pregnancy. We have listed a few below.

  • Piriformis syndrome – This is a condition caused when there is a problem in a muscle in the buttocks. It can be a common cause of sciatica in pregnant women
  • Muscle tension – When there is heavy tension in the muscles during pregnancy you can face sciatic like symptoms.
  • Unstable joints – The instability in joints can also manifest symptoms that are sciatic like.
  • Pelvic bone pain – With the added pressure placed on the pelvic region during pregnancy, especially in the later stages of pregnancies, sciatic symptoms can manifest. This is especially common during pregnancies due to a hormone called relaxin, this hormone can cause ligaments to stretch and loosen throughout your body but does so, especially in the pelvic area.
  • Baby’s weight – Your baby’s weight can add to the symptoms and causes of sciatica. This is due to the pressure the baby adds on the sciatic nerve directly, as well as on the pelvic bone and hip joint.

Disclaimer: This is an extremely rare circumstance. Most women with sciatica do not face an issue with the infants’ growth spurts. On the rarest of circumstances, the infant’s growth can cause bulging of the spinal disk which puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  • Problems along the sacroiliac joint- This is also a known cause for sciatica amongst pregnant women.
  • Increased fluid retention – It is common for women to retain excess fluid during their pregnancy. This can at times put pressure on an exposed sciatic nerve that runs through the pelvis. The pelvic region may act as an access path to sciatic nerve compressions in this case.
  • Growing uterus adding pressure – If the growth of the uterus is abnormally high, it can put excessive pressure on the spine, leading to the disk herniating. This means the spinal disk dislodges and allows the spinal gel to leak out. This can put a lot of pressure on the sciatic nerve causing it to compress.
  • Change in the centre of gravity – The development of a woman’s belly and breasts can alter their centre of gravity. This, in turn, leads to the tensing of muscles around the region like the hamstrings and quadriceps as well as muscles in the pelvic and buttocks regions. Additionally, this can cause an abnormal curvature of the Lordotic curve – the arch right above the dip of the buttocks leading to a lot of pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Diabetes during pregnancy- This can lead to sciatica in rare cases
  • The baby’s positional shift– During the third trimester, the baby shifts into a birthing position. This means the baby’s body is positioned in a manner where the head rests close to the sciatic nerve, in some cases the head rests upon the nerve leading to sciatica.
  • Tumours and Abscesses– During pregnancy identifying a tumour or an abscess in the regions of the sciatic nerve with the addition of the baby’s weight can add immense pressure on the nerve.
  • Excessive bleeding– Always a risk during pregnancy, excessive bleeding can be a root cause of sciatica.

Knowing the causes and symptoms of sciatica will help identify and start a routine towards managing the condition, it is also critical to know who is susceptible to sciatica during pregnancy

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Women Who are at Risk of Getting Sciatica

Since sciatica is not extremely common among pregnant women, it is an important aspect of fighting this condition to understand who is at risk of getting sciatica and why.

  • Being overweight– Being overweight before pregnancy and during pregnancy can lead to a huge amount of pressure being put on the disk and spine. This can cause the disk to herniate and swell. This swelling can lead to a compression of the sciatic nerve. It is important to maintain weight standards recommended by doctors to avoid this from happening. Consult doctors during the pregnancy period and follow their weight recommendations.

Disclaimer: Self-diagnosing and overcompensating by losing excessive weight should be avoided at all costs, this can deprive the baby of essential nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy. It is important to stick to weight guidelines, being underweight during pregnancy can lead to dangerous outcomes for both the mother and baby. Rapid reduction of weight and an imbalanced diet can cause blood sugar and blood pressure problems.

  • Pre-existing lower back issues– Having a pre-existing lower back issue can increase the chances of getting sciatica. This is due to the lack of stability along the lower back and the increase of pressure along the pelvic region during the pregnancy. It is important to keep in contact with your attending physicians and get accurate reports during this time to help quickly identify sciatica. When a pre-existing condition already exists in the region of the lower back it can also make the sciatic nerve sensitive and the added pressure on the nerve during pregnancy can cause sciatica.
  • Tobacco– It is believed that there are links to the consumption of tobacco and sciatica during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women venture away from tobacco due to its ability to interfere with the pregnancy cycle.
  • Osteoporosis– This condition is known to have adverse effects on the sciatic nerve, and during pregnancy may cause sciatica.

Can Pregnancy Cause Sciatica?

Sciatica is not limited to pregnancy but can be found in women who are pregnant, this brings us to the important question: Can sciatica be caused due to pregnancy? The fact is that pregnancy is not a primary cause for sciatica and while pregnancy can add to a condition or add to other factors that lead to sciatica, it cannot cause sciatica by itself. Pregnancy in most circumstances does not put intolerable amounts of pressure on the sciatic nerve nor does it directly cause any bulging or damage to the disk surrounding the nerve. Pregnancy cannot damage tissue surrounding the nerve directly even if the baby grows in an abnormal manner.

It is important to note, that pain relief for sciatica during pregnancy is a different routine than sciatica pain relief techniques when not pregnant. Sciatica is not preventable as such, but most specialists recommend that mothers-to-be follow a regime where:

  • A healthy and balanced diet with sustainable nutrition is maintained so that the baby gets proper nourishment while the mother keeps her energy levels up and stays well-nourished, ensuring a safe delivery.
  • Overeating during the first trimester is avoided so that the body doesn’t put too much unnecessary pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • A safe and fluid exercise routine is followed so that the muscles do not tense up.

Treatment for Sciatica During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for sciatica when pregnant. Under normal circumstances, doctors could recommend various methods of treatment that include pain medication and, if serious enough, then surgery. These techniques can be risky for pregnant women. There are, however, alternative techniques for pain relief for sciatica during pregnancy. These include the following:

  • Visit a musculoskeletal specialist who specialises in woman’s health and in pregnancy-related skeletal conditions like sciatica.
  • Attend mild physical therapy sessions with a physiotherapist who has expertise in pregnancy care.
  • Visit a chiropractor to help correct posture-related issues.
  • Get pre-natal massages from experts in sciatica during pregnancy. These massages not only help alleviate the pain by boosting blood circulation throughout the body, but will also improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get.
  • Acupuncture is known to help in some cases.

Disclaimer

It is recommended you see a specialist after consulting your doctor, Chinese medicine and acupuncture are not known to be sure-fire treatments for sciatica during pregnancy.

  • Doctors may prescribe mild pain medication in the form of paracetamol or ibuprofen if the pain becomes unbearable. They may also suggest osteopathy in some cases. It is highly recommended that you follow the instructions of a specialist before combining two or more types of treatments. All treatments help alleviate pain and manage the condition but none are complete cures during pregnancy.

Managing Sciatica When Pregnant

The treatment for sciatica pain relief during pregnancy varies from the treatment of those who aren’t pregnant. It is important to remember the limitations of physical movement for those who are pregnant. Another point of consideration is the condition of a woman’s body when she is pregnant. There are immense hormonal and physiological changes that take place during a pregnancy. Keeping in mind these changes and the required precautions for both the baby and the mother is vital to any routine while treating sciatica.

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It is also important to remember that sciatica is a temporary inconvenience and that you should not panic when diagnosed. Sciatica is not a lifelong condition with fatal consequences. If the pain is manageable, then a visit to the doctor can be avoided. Treating the symptoms of sciatica can also alleviate a major portion of the discomfort. This can be done through over the counter pain medication or through other home remedies. Here are a few ways to help manage and treat sciatica at home.

  • Alternate between a heat pack and an ice pack over the regions with pain, this will help relax muscles and increase blood flow in those areas.

Disclaimer: Do not leave a heat pack on for too long, as raising the body temperature too high can prove to be dangerous for the baby.

  • Lift with your legs, and be extremely careful when lifting heavy weights. Make sure the weight is distributed off the back as much as possible. Avoid lifting heavy weights completely if possible.
  • Maintain good posture, so that your body weight can be evenly distributed throughout the muscles in your body. This will help ensure the sciatic nerve regions have no extra pressure placed on them.
  • Remain active, and stay moving. Remember to stay within your capabilities, but exercise and remain active, this will ensure good blood circulation which helps manage the pain.

Disclaimer: Some pain is expected during activities, it is recommended you consult a physician before and during any activity cycle. If the pain is unnatural or unbearable visit the closest hospital or physician for help.

  • Use the proper type of mattress when sleeping. A soft mattress can aggravate the pain, while a firm mattress can alleviate it. Go with how you feel on each mattress.
  • Arch your back while standing, if it begins to hurt standing straight. This is your body telling you the muscles around the nerve cannot take the pressure, try balancing that out by distributing as much weight as you can to other muscle groups.
  • Use pregnancy pillows between your legs when sleeping, as this will support the pelvic region.
  • Use the correct kind of support, whether standing or sitting down. Try sitting on comfortable cushions, and raise your legs above your waist to ensure better circulation.

Sciatica during pregnancy can be painful, find ways to support and relax muscles to alleviate as much pain as possible. Here are a few tips to help:

  • If the pain is isolated to one side, try balancing it out by putting more pressure on the other, sleep on the side with less pain, lean against a wall to lift the weight off the side that hurts.
  • Do not lie down for too long, take short walks, and take breaks in-between. This will not only ensure activity but will also ease the pressure off the sciatic nerve and improve blood flow.
  • Take breaks, and listen to your body. No matter the type of exercise remember to take a breather.
  • Sit down between any physically excruciating exercises.
  • If you spend long hours in front of a computer take a break and take a small walk. Sitting for too long can add to the pain.
  • Nap during the day.
  • Take short walks during long sessions of sitting down.
  • Wear comfortable footwear. Light and flexible footwear is the way to go, as they help alleviate pressure from the lower back and the sciatic nerve.
  • Consult a doctor about a healthy diet plan, as sudden weight gain can add pressure to the sciatic nerve, try working within the guidelines for weight your physician has provided.
  • Try moving in a fluid motion, as jerky and rigid movements can aggravate the pain by putting a lot of sudden pressure on an already weak sciatic nerve.

Disclaimer: If none of these techniques help, consult your physician immediately. Also, consult your doctor before attempting any type of treatment.

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Exercises for Pregnant Women to Ease the Sciatica

We have already discussed the importance of staying active to combat sciatica. It is important to know what that means. When attempting exercises for sciatica in pregnancy cycles it is important to consider the condition of your body. When you are pregnant, there are a lot of activities and exercises you cannot participate in for a number of reasons including the change in body condition during each trimester. Understanding this means recognising the change in approach towards exercise. Here are a few exercises for sciatica during pregnancy.

  • The piriformis stretch– This exercise works a muscle that is found deep inside the buttocks and close to the sciatic nerve. It requires no equipment and can be done while seated. Sit on a chair with your back straight, feet planted on the ground
    Lift your left leg off the ground, place the left ankle atop the right knee. Keeping your back straight bend forward as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your buttocks
    Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat multiple times through the day.
  • The table stretch– This is an extremely active stretch, it works to alleviate the muscular tenseness in the entire lumbar region. It stretches the entire back, thighs, calves and feet. This requires no equipment but must be done standing up. Stand straight with your legs in line with your hips. With your back flat, lean towards a table. Keep your arms straight, maintain a straight and flat back. Pull your hips in the opposite direction from the table till you feel a stretch in your lower back, thighs and calves. Maintain the position for 30 seconds. Repeat throughout the day.

We recommend consulting a doctor and physical therapist before doing any exercises for sciatica during pregnancy. It is also advised that no exercises be done alone. Having a partner is essential for safety purposes. Please follow the guidelines provided by your physicians. If exercises become too difficult to execute at first, work with a physiotherapist during the initial stages and consult him at regular intervals. Do not attempt exercises that are not cleared by your primary care physician.

Sciatica pain is a common and debilitating problem for pregnant women. The good news is, there are plenty of effective ways to ease your sciatica during pregnancy, many of which have been proven time and time again by both midwives and doctors.

To help improve your form and avoid sciatica pain, here are 2 walking tips.

1. Shorten your stride to protect your sciatic nerve

Incorrect walking posture can compress your lumbar discs2 and irritate the sciatic nerve. In general, the initial contact of the foot, length of the stride, and the speed of walking need to be considered to avoid sciatica pain.

Follow these pointers to correct your steps:

  • Don’t reach with your toes. Land between your midfoot and heel, then gently roll onto your toes and push off into the next stride. This type of initial foot contact will naturally shorten your stride because it is difficult to roll your foot when it’s far from your body.
  • Slow down. A slower pace typically means shorter steps. You should be able to comfortably hold a conversation while walking.

When you walk using correct posture, the core abdominal and back muscles, as well as the hip, thigh, and leg muscles work in sync to prevent stresses on the spine.

See Techniques for Effective Exercise Walking

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2. Engage your core muscles to support your spine

Easy Core Exercises for Sciatica Relief
Infographic:
4 Easy Core Exercises for Sciatica Relief
(larger view)

Actively engaging your abdominal muscles protects your sciatic nerve roots by minimizing pressure on your spine. The stress and fatigue of these muscles increase considerably when incorrect walking is used.2 A weak core, in turn, may cause additional back pain and aggravate your sciatica symptoms.

Here’s how to use your abdominal muscles correctly:

  • Stand upright. Keep your head and shoulders tall and focus on a spot in the distance.
  • Focus on your breathing. Rhythmic breathing helps keep the mind focused and alert while walking.
  • Tuck in your stomach. Pull your stomach slightly toward your body for the duration of your walk and keep a comfortable pace; it can be challenging to engage your abdominal muscles if you walk too fast.

Do not strain the abdominal muscles by tucking in too hard or if it feels uncomfortable.

Other simple activities to add on to your walking routine

You can also try one or more of the following exercises to improve your overall walking experience:

  • Take breaks and perform deep breathing. Sit down for a few minutes and take deep breaths. A slow, rhythmic inhale-exhale exercise reduces stress, improves attention, and releases endorphins or feel-good hormones that help reduce pain.3
  • Stretch your hamstring and hip flexor muscles daily. Relieving tightness in your hamstrings and hip flexors, such as the iliopsoas can help reduce stresses on your lower back and improve sciatica pain.

While walking or performing any exercise, understand your pain limits and pay close attention to your body. Stop any activity that causes or aggravates your pain.

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If walking isn’t for you, try one of these low-impact aerobic exercise options:

While sciatic pain is manageable while pregnant, you should take precautions to make it more tolerable. Sciatica is caused when pressure on the nerves in the lower part of your back causes irritation that radiates down your leg. You can relieve this nerve pressure by keeping your back straight and moving slowly when getting up from sitting or lying down. If you have any questions about sciatica during pregnancy, talk with your doctor before trying a new treatment method.

As your pregnancy progresses, your baby’s weight may cause some discomfort in your lower back, buttocks, and legs. Unfortunately, sciatica pain is a common symptom of pregnancy. Sciatica is caused by the compression of one of the nerve roots that exit your spinal canal to run down each thigh. The nerve root can degenerate (atrophy), causing inflammation or irritation in the surrounding soft tissues causing severe pain and tingling in the buttock area of your body.

Staying active and exercising consistently can help improve overall health and prevent chronic pain. Sciatica can be a very painful condition that makes you feel like you’re walking around the world on hot coals. While sciatica is extremely common—affecting up to 80% of adults at some point in their lives—it’s also one of the most misunderstood types of back pain.

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