Sciatica during pregnancy and other related lower back pain causes are very common. Many pregnant women experience this irritating shooting lower back and leg pain.
The frequency of sciatica increases as the pregnancy progresses and is most common in the third trimester.
This blog article discusses the common causes of sciatica during pregnancy and safe treatment options that can provide relief from sciatica pain. Read on to learn more.
What causes sciatica pain during pregnancy?
According to Dr. Meredith Langhorst, OrthoIndy non-operative spine physician, sciatica during pregnancy is caused by “the increasing amounts of the hormone relaxin in the mom’s system that causes the ligaments to loosen in preparation for childbirth.”
Although the loosening is normal, it shifts your center of gravity, which can cause the sciatic nerve to become inflamed or pinched, leading to sciatica pain symptoms.
How to avoid sciatica during pregnancy
Fortunately, much of the back pain from sciatica can be avoided by following these quick tips:
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Gain weight slowly
- Do stretches for sciatica
- Try yoga
- Get a massage
- Stay active
- Minimize standing for long periods
It’s too late—I am already experiencing sciatica during pregnancy. How do I find relief?
Fortunately, you can improve much of your sciatic pain with a comprehensive, conservative care program. Dr. Langhorst suggests trying the following to seek relief from the pain associated with sciatica during pregnancy.
- Manual manipulation: A chiropractor can help treat sciatic pain; however, make sure they are aware you are pregnant.
- Physical therapy: Work with a physical therapist to develop an exercise program that combines stretching and strengthening or try the exercises below.
- Pelvic tilts and kegels: Starting pelvic tilts and kegels early in pregnancy and continuing can help keep your pelvic floor engaged.
- Lay on your side: When resting or sleeping, lay on your side and use a firm mattress.
- Heat: A heating pad can help relieve soreness and persistent pain.
- Pain medication: Always consult a physician before taking pain medication during pregnancy. Typically, Tylenol is safe for most pregnant women to take.
Exercises to help sciatica during pregnancy
There are easy exercises you can try at home to relieve sciatica symptoms during pregnancy.
- Supine bridge
- Supine posterior pelvic tilt
- Supine march with posterior pelvic tilt
- Hooklying single knee to chest stretch
“The good news is that sciatica often resolves after the baby is born and you can enjoy your time with your new little addition to the family,” says Dr. Langhorst.
Schedule an appointment
Your well-being is important to us. If you’re dealing with pain related to sciatica and pregnancy, schedule online or call us to set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists.
Our expert team can help determine what sciatica treatments are appropriate and safe for you.