An expectant mother’s body changes rapidly during pregnancy. Back pain becomes more common as you gain weight with the center of gravity shifting forward. Some pregnant women experience sciatica, a painful condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve in the lower back becomes compressed.
When you are pregnant, the body produces more relaxin, a hormone that relaxes the pelvic ligaments in preparation for childbirth. However, this loosening can leave your back without its usual rigid support. During this process, the sciatic nerve can become compressed. The baby’s weight may also put more pressure on an already pinched nerve.
Sciatica is indicated by pain that radiates from the lower back down to the buttocks and the leg. If you are experiencing these symptoms more often during your pregnancy, here are some sciatica pain treatment options that you can try.
Observe Proper Posture
Pregnant women tend to lean backward to adjust for the shifting center of gravity. However, this posture strains the muscles in the lower back. One of the simplest sciatica pain remedies is to practice good posture. Make sure to stand up straight and keep your shoulders back. When standing, use a wide stance to distribute your weight evenly.
When sitting, look for a chair with sufficient back support or put a pillow behind your back. Refrain from sitting for long periods as it can increase the risk of sciatica and aggravate painful symptoms. Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and back.
When lifting items, squat and lift with your legs and not your back. Avoid bending at the waist. Sleep on your side rather than on your back, and with one or both knees bent. You may also want to invest in pillows that support the pelvis and lower extremities.
Try Heat Packs
If back pain strikes, try applying a heating pad to your back for at least 15 minutes, or take a warm shower. Heat can increase blood flow to the area to relax the muscles. You can use a hot water bottle if you do not have a heating pad. Make sure to wrap the heat source in a cloth to avoid hurting the skin.
Stretch Your Back
Stretching your lower back is one of the simplest sciatica pain treatment options. Gentle stretches can ease the pain in the back and legs. Here are some stretches that you can try:
- Lower back stretches
- Backward stretches with or without a fitness ball.
- Standing pelvic tilt
- Torso rotation
Consider Physical Therapy
There are exercises you can try at home. However, it may be more helpful to visit a physical therapist for professional advice. A physical therapist can perform a thorough evaluation and design a customized exercise program. They may also recommend low-impact activities like walking, yoga, or water-based exercises depending on your overall health. A physical therapist can also spot and correct errors in your posture that may contribute to back pain.
Visit Your Doctor
While you can expect some discomfort, severe back pain during pregnancy is not normal. If back pain is already interfering with your life and affecting your health, it is time to visit a doctor. Your doctor can order imaging tests to check if there are other causes behind the back pain and recommend sciatica pain treatments.
Sciatica Pain Treatment in Rochester Hills, MI
While sciatica pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, there is no reason to live with the discomfort. You can try simple home remedies and stretches to reduce or prevent back pain. It is also vital to work with a healthcare provider who can recommend appropriate sciatica pain treatment options.
If you are experiencing sciatica pain during pregnancy, get the help you need from Ahlgren Spine. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with years of experience in spine-related disorders. He will review your sciatica pain treatment options to determine which is appropriate for you. You can trust Dr. Ahlgren to help you find long-lasting pain relief during this important chapter in your life.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, call us today at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our online appointment request form. In addition to our primary clinic in Rochester Hills, you can visit our satellite locations in Bad Axe and Royal Oak. We look forward to serving you.