5 Tips To Prevent Or Reduce Sciatica During Pregnancy
Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It is a common complaint during pregnancy, but can often be confused with pelvic girdle pain.
This sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, then goes down through the buttocks, into the back of the leg and foot. Sciatica can present as pain, tingling or numbness which may be felt anywhere along the course of the nerve.
1. Early assessment is best
If you think you have sciatica, you should see a chartered physiotherapist who will examine your back and pelvis to give you an accurate diagnosis. Following your assessment, you will receive treatment which may include manual therapy and massage, specific exercises and advice regarding posture and how to manage your day to day activities.
Try to ensure that you sit and stand with good posture. Poor posture (e.g. slouching in a chair or standing with your lower back arched excessively) can worsen low back pain, sciatica and pelvic girdle pain. Correcting your posture takes a little bit of effort but can make a huge difference to your discomfort.
3. Keep active within pain limits
It is important to stay active during pregnancy for your health and the health of your baby. Try low impact exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga or pilates. The best advice is to listen to your body… If you feel that going up the stairs makes your pain worse, try to minimise the number of times you need to do this task each day.
4. Footwear is key
Make sure you wear shoes that give you good support throughout your pregnancy. Unsupportive footwear (like flip-flops, pumps, certain sheepskin lined boots and flat trainers) not only affect your feet but may also affect the alignment of your knee, hip, pelvis and lower back.
Stretching your lower back and gluteal muscles can really help with pregnancy aches and pains. Attending pregnancy pilates or yoga classes with an experienced instructor is a great idea, however, if you have sciatica or any other painful condition, you should see a chartered physiotherapist who can give you a tailored program of stretches and exercises that will help and not exacerbate your symptoms.
Did you suffer from sciatica during your pregnancy? Share your tips for reducing the pain with other moms in the comments section below.