Sciatica During Pregnancy

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Running with my Bun and stopped in my tracks with a pain in the bum. So what’s new this week with my pregnancy…we move from Hay Fever to Sciatica during pregnancy.

My sister suffers from a bad back and often complains about sciatica and the pain in her bum. However, I had never given it much thought, despite having a minor weakness in my own back from an injury a few years ago.

Well if you experience sciatica during pregnancy you are sure to know about it!

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower back, travels down the legs, through the feet to the toes.

The pain can be dull, deep, shooting, burning and everything in between. Most annoyingly, however, is how random it all seems to be.

Sciatic pain can vary significantly from person to person and can come and go through the day.

Is it Common to Have Sciatica During Pregnancy?

Although pregnancy does not cause sciatica, pregnancy can make any existing back condition worse due to the additional weight and pressure of the baby. As a result, this can often lead to sciatica. Poor posture or sitting for long periods of time can also exacerbate the feelings of sciatica. Other conditions such as Pelvic Gridle Pain is also common during pregnancy and can often have similar symptoms to sciatica. The NHS states that; ‘You probably don’t have sciatica if you only have back pain.’

Symptoms of Sciatic Pain

Burning/ Shooting Pains

Pins and needles

Numbness/ Weakness

Treatment

Unfortunately, if you have experienced sciatica before, you will know that there is no definitive cure. However, there are a few things to avoid and some remedies that can ease the pain of sciatica.

If you are experiencing pain, it is always best to ask your GP or Midwife for advice. A GP may refer you to a physiotherapist who can provide certain exercises to strengthen your muscles and ease the symptoms.

Medication

The NHS advises that; ‘It’s best to avoid taking medicines when you’re pregnant, particularly during the first three months.’ Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories can be useful for sciatica but are NOT advised during pregnancy. Taking Ibuprofen, especially during the first 30 weeks, can be dangerous for your baby and lead to complications. Paracetamol is often recommended for treating pain during pregnancy, however, there is little to suggest that paracetamol will provide relief for sciatic pain. General Sciatica advice from the NHS is that taking ‘paracetamol on its own…doesn’t help with back pain or sciatica.’

So, unfortunately, it seems there is little in the way of medication that can help with sciatica during pregnancy. So, what is the advice…

What to Avoid?

Avoid doing anything for a long period of time, that includes: sitting, lying, walking or running.

Listen to your Body!

When you need to rest make sure you rest, but believe me, bed rest is definitely NOT the answer. Sitting for long periods of time can cause sciatica, especially if you are prone to it. Remember to keep active! Even if this is just a walk around the living room. I have found that the longer I wait before getting up, the longer it takes me to get up and get going.

Remedies

Heat Packs – I have also found a bag of frozen peas can be helpful and considering the weather have preferred the relief of cold

Massage – Massaging the lower back and painful areas

Sleep on your side – sleeping painful side up with a pillow between your knees can offer relief – Babycentre

Gentle Exercise – I found swimming helpful on the worst days and have been advised to try Pilates – Watch out for my next Blog 😉

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