Pregnancy is an incredibly exciting and joyous period of life. There is something wonderful and magical about the nurturing and growing of a baby, and many women delight in the way their bodies change to accommodate the process. However, for many women, along with the joys come a variety of aches, pains and unpleasant symptoms.
Along with issues such as morning sickness, acid reflux and muscular pain, many women also experience sciatic pain for the first time during pregnancy. If you suspect you have sciatic pain, here are the answers to five common questions on the subject.
1. What Causes Sciatic Pain?
Sciatic pain occurs when there is pressure or swelling that affects the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back through the hip and buttocks then down into the upper thigh.
2. What Does Sciatic Pain Feel Like?
Sciatic pain varies from person to person and it can be felt in the lower back, hip, buttocks and thigh. It can feel like a tingly pins and needles type sensation, a dull ache or intense nerve pain. For some people, the pain is mildly annoying while, for others, it can be severe and debilitating.
3. Why Is Sciatic Pain so Common During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy puts a lot of physical strain on women's bodies, particularly in the lower back, hips and pelvis. Muscles, ligaments and bones can be stretched, strained and displaced. As the baby grows, there is also a lot less space in the area and things can get quite cramped and squashed. This can lead to pressure on the sciatic nerve that causes sciatic pain.
4. How Can Sciatic Pain Be Treated?
Often, sciatic pain is treated using anti-inflammatory and nerve-blocking medications. However, during pregnancy, most of these medications are considered unsafe. Many women find relief through chiropractic treatment or professional remedial massage, both of which can alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Gentle walking, heat packs and stretching can also help.
5. Is Sciatic Pain Permanent?
For the mast majority of pregnant women, sciatic pain will resolve itself completely after the baby is born. For a small number of women, there may be a degree of damage to the sciatic nerve that means they experience continued sciatic pain postpartum. If you find yourself in this situation, your GP can refer you to a physiotherapist who deals with postpartum issues. You can also continue on with the treatment options mentioned above.