Having shooting pains in your lower back and legs is not one of the things you would expect while expecting; however, this can happen, adding to the pains and changes in delivering a baby. In this article, we will review three common causes of sciatica during pregnancy, along with five ways in which you can handle sciatica without having to resort to over-the-counter painkillers or considering surgery.
Causes of Sciatica During Pregnancy.
Something that is very important to bear in mind as you read this article is that, during pregnancy, your body will undergo many changes to be able to host the upcoming baby. Among these changes, your lower back and your pelvis will adjust their position to let the womb take space. The two major changes are an increase in the natural curve of your lower back and the forward tilting of the pelvic bone, which can aggravate the following conditions:
Shooting legs along the pain and buttock associated with sciatica is caused many times by a prolapse of the substance between two vertebrae, causing irritation or even compressing the sciatic nerve. This is also known as sciatica induced by a herniated disk, which can aggravate during pregnancy because of the postures pregnant women take to be able to rest.
Spondylolisthesis is the medical term to describe when a lower vertebra slips forward onto the bone beneath it. It’s easy to think about pregnancy as a culprit; however, this is a half-truth. The weight redistribution that occurs in the late stages of pregnancy can only trigger the pre-existing condition by displacing the disks even further. Spondylolisthesis can be caused by overstretching your back repetitively, this is very common in sports such as football, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Age and bone density are also risk factors for it.
As we grow older, our spine changes. This natural wear and tear as we age can lead to the narrowing of the spine canal. This narrowing is called spinal stenosis, and it can cause extra pressure in your spine, pulling the roots of your sciatic nerve causing pain.
Ways to Handle Sciatica During Pregnancy.
Among the best ways to manage the pain caused by the pinching or compressing of the sciatic nerve, you will find these:
Choose The Correct Footwear.
You can reduce a great deal of the sciatic nerve pain by paying attention to the shoes you wear. It is advisable to avoid high heels and completely flat shoes, such as slippers. These kinds of shoes force your spine to take too unbalanced postures. Wearing shoes with a low heel (1 to 2 inches) is ideal, these adapt to the natural curve of the spine.
Do Prenatal Stretches.
Stretching and making light exercise during pregnancy is important to maintain a healthy muscle tone that will both support the baby and your spine.
Stretches such as Kneeling Lunges, hamstrings and pyriformis muscle stretches are vital, whether you suffer from sciatica or not. Practising prenatal Yoga or even including simple postures such as the Child’s Pose can help alleviate a lot of the stress in your lower spine.
Massages And Adjustments.
In a good massage, different kinds of motion, tension, friction, and vibration will be applied to your body, relieving the tension in the muscles and the underlying pain. A good massage therapist will also include heat and cold in a session, reducing further the sensation of pain.
An alternative option could be scheduling an appointment with a chiropractor, which will adjust your spinal mobility in a safe way; this can help ease the pain caused by the sciatic nerve. On a side note, caution must be exercised in pregnant women with disk lesions or conditions such as osteoporosis. In these cases, an adjustment can aggravate the symptoms or cause new injuries.
Vitamin And Mineral Supplements.
If the pain is very strong, vitamins from the B complex can be taken; these reinforce the nerves. Magnesium supplements can be very useful as well because they act over more than 300 bodily functions and act as muscle relaxants. It’s only in the most severe cases that painkillers should be considered since NSAIDs have side effects during pregnancy which include:
- Hydrooligoamnios, which is basically the diminution of amniotic liquid in the womb.
As a last resort: Just… Wait.
We have to remember that the spine and lower body undergo several changes to be able to make space for the fetus. As we’ve mentioned before, the spine will shift its shape to better accommodate the baby. However, after the baby comes out, the spine will return to its original position and there is a great chance that most of the symptoms go away, just like that!