How to deal with Sciatica Pain during Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a period in a woman’s life that is laden with different physical ailments. It is only understandable, given the magnitude of changes her body goes through to nurture a new life. But there’s one kind of pain that can be especially troublesome. It is the pain caused by a condition called Sciatica. It is characterized by a sharp pain that starts at the back and goes down to the legs. Let’s understand this condition on a deeper level.
First and foremost, treating any ailment, involves being fully informed about the condition. So let’s understand what causes sciatica. Our body is a colossal collection of nerves that perform motor and sensory functions. The longest and the thickest of these nerves is the sciatic nerve. It originates from the lower back and stretches down to the hips and the buttocks, then branching out into each leg until the knee. They further split into other nerves going farther down, to the lower leg, foot, and toes.
So any undue pressure or strain on this nerve can cause discomfort in the lower back, backside, hips, and down the leg. Anywhere through the expanse of this nerve in the body. The intensity of this pain can differ in different patients. Sometimes it manifests as numbness, tingling, or even excruciating pain; sometimes all three.
Why are pregnant women at risk?
The answer is simple. Pregnancy brings about drastic physiological changes in the body of a woman. The uterus expands to make space for the growing fetus. It alters the spine’s natural curvature. Additionally, it exerts direct pressure on the sciatic nerve. Furthermore, as the body produces hormones like relaxin to facilitate childbirth by relaxing pelvic ligaments, it sometimes affects other muscles, leading to nerve compression. Moreover, the weight gained during pregnancy aggravates the risk of sciatic pain as it adds further stress to the spine.
Dealing with Sciatica
Realistically speaking, nothing can completely cure sciatica. It will last until the birth of the baby. As overwhelming as it can be, pregnancy sciatica can be managed with a holistic approach involving both lifestyle changes, and specific exercises.
- Prenatal massage: A simple massage can go a long way. Not only is it relaxing, but it is also therapeutic. Deep tissue massages on the hip and lower back, with a foam roller or tennis ball, can work exceptionally well and help calm the strained muscles.
- Regular exercise: Partakes in exercises that strengthen the core and spinal muscles. It will help in better support for the spine. Prenatal yoga and swimming are extremely beneficial.
- Sleeping Position matters: Try lying down on the side opposite to where you are feeling the pain. This will help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Another added tip- pregnancy pillows can be incredibly relaxing too.
- Heat and cold therapy: Using heat or cold packs is the go-to technique to relieve pain. It works appreciably in this case too. Applying these packs to the affected area can reduce inflammation and soothe the affected nerves. However, make sure that the temperature level is not too high or too low.