The experience of pregnancy can be overwhelming and brutal. As if growing a human inside of you weren’t bizarre enough, it can kick you in the bladder, head-butt your lungs, and make you crave foods you wouldn’t normally eat.
A pregnant woman’s body goes through so much change in such a short period of time that it can be uncomfortable. Hers is one of the most common complaints: swollen ankles, difficulty sleeping, and heartburn. And You don’t hear about some complaints until you have to deal with them.
It’s less common for pregnant women to discuss sciatica, but once you get it, you know it, and it can knock you down. Some women get sciatica so severe that even walking is difficult. In addition to struggling to sleep while pregnant, sciatica makes it even more difficult. If you’re skeptical about taking steroids or other medications to treat the pain, you’re not alone.
What is sciatica?
A sciatic nerve compression results in a shooting, burning pain radiating from hip to foot. This pain is a result of compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the lower half of the body. As your bump grows, changes in posture and the weight of your baby can cause the sciatic nerve to become compressed or irritated.
Some symptoms of sciatic pain can include:
- A constant or occasional pain in one side of your leg or buttocks
- Your buttocks, your thigh, and your foot are all affected by sciatic nerve pain
- Pain that is sharp, shooting, or burning
- The affected leg or foot may feel numb, pins and needles, or weak
- The ability to walk, stand, or sit with difficulty
Pregnant women may feel tempted to reach for an over-the-counter pain reliever. Researchers have linked NSAIDs to late pregnancy complications like ductus arteriosus closure and oligohydramnios, but these drugs should not be used during pregnancy. While acetaminophen (Tylenol) isn’t as effective, it can provide relief and is considered less risky than NSAIDs.
Although sciatica during pregnancy can be painful, it is usually temporary and can be treated. Here are some non-drug alternatives to treating sciatica caused by pregnancy.
There are several ways to treat sciatica during pregnancy. One option is physical therapy. Physical therapy can help reduce pain and improve function. Therapists may use a variety of techniques, such as massage, stretching and exercises, to help you feel better.
Relaxin, a hormone that loosens ligaments during pregnancy, makes it easier for your pelvic girdle to spread freely during delivery. In this respect, you should consult a professional before attempting any new stretches or exercises. Safety first!
Chiropractic care for sciatica is a popular treatment choice for many people. The goal of chiropractic care is to help restore the natural function of the spine and nervous system, in turn alleviating pain and other symptoms. Chiropractors may use a variety of techniques to achieve this goal, including spinal adjustments, massage, and exercises.
Acupuncture is a treatment option that has been shown to be effective for relieving the symptoms of sciatica. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points on the body.
Prenatal massage is a form of massage that is specifically designed for pregnant women. It can help to relieve tension and stress in the muscles, as well as improve circulation. In some cases, prenatal massage can also help to relieve sciatica pain.
There is not a lot of research on the use of magnesium for sciatica, but one study found that magnesium supplementation may help reduce pain and improve function in people with this condition. It is thought that magnesium may help by reducing muscle spasms and inflammation. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
Prenatal yoga for sciatica is a practice that is often recommended to pregnant women who are experiencing pain or discomfort in their lower back and/or legs. The goal of prenatal yoga for sciatica is to help reduce inflammation and pain, improve blood flow, and increase strength and flexibility. Some poses that are often recommended for prenatal yoga for sciatica include pigeon pose, bridge pose, and child’s pose.
it is important to seek treatment for sciatica during pregnancy. Treatment can help to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for both the mother and baby. There are a number of safe and effective treatments available, so it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to find the best treatment plan for you.
- Antonucci R, et al. (2012). Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in pregnancy: Impact on the fetus and newborn. DOI:
- Beider R. (2017). Personal interview.
- Magnesium: Fact sheet for health professionals [Fact sheet]. (2016).
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Diseases and conditions: Sciatica.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Tests and procedures: Acupuncture: Definition.
- Pan H-C, et al. (2011). Magnesuim supplement promotes sciatic nerve regeneration and down-regulates inflammatory response. DOI:
- Qin Z, et al. (2015). Effectiveness of acupuncture for treating sciatica: A systematic review and meta-analysis. DOI:
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