Top 5 Tips to Help With Sciatica During Pregnancy

If you are struggling with low back pain and you are pregnant, try these tips to lessen or stop the pain.

Sciatica is quite common during pregnancy, if you are one of unlucky ones, keep reading for some quick help tips.  If you feel pain in your low back that travels down through your buttocks and into your legs and feet, then you are most likely dealing with sciatica.  The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts from your low back and travels down both of your legs.  The more the sciatic nerve is irritated the further the pain will travel down your leg.

1.  Check your posture

As your body changes during pregnancy your posture will definitely suffer because of the change in your centre of gravity.  It’s your job to be conscious of your posture, especially while sitting down, driving your car, or even walking.  You want to avoid an excessive arch of your low back, and keep your core engaged when lifting and walking.  Exercise is very important to increase your core strength during pregnancy.  If you sit in a chair, find one that has proper back support, and if need be add a small pillow behind your back just above your belt line to give your lumbar spine more support.  When sleeping at night put a pillow between your knees when you are on your side to take pressure off your lumbar spine.

2.  Keep Moving

Current research shows that when you have back pain it is better to keep moving than it is to stop and do nothing.  Keep in mind you need to move and keep active within your pain limits.  Walking is a simple exercise to do to keep your body moving and active.  You can also try swimming, yoga, or pilates.  Remember to always listen to your body; it will give you feedback as to what is too much and how far you can push.  Listen to your limits, and as you start to feel better add a little more intensity to challenge your body.

3.  Soaking in Epsom Salt Bath

The use of Epsom salts is an effective way to help soothe sore muscles and joint pain.  Pregnancy guidelines published in the February 2014 issue of “American Family Physician” recommend the avoidance of hot tubs and saunas, but taking a warm bath is considered safe.  To prepare an Epsom salt bath, add 2 cups of the salt to warm bath water and stir with your hands to dissolve.  Soak for 15-20 minutes.

4.  Proper Shoes are Key

If your back hurts, it’s time to change your shoes.  Proper shoes are always important but they are essential during pregnancy.  As mentioned before, your centre of gravity changes during pregnancy.  As your belly grows your weight shifts to the front of your feet causing more stress on the medial arch and the bones in your feet.  During pregnancy your feet may grow a half to a full size, which means your regular shoes may be too tight.  To help your feet during pregnancy you should wear athletic shoes with good arch support and with sufficient room around your toes.  Wearing compression stockings will also help to minimize foot and ankle swelling.  A medial arch support could also be used for extra support for your existing shoes, as long as they are still the proper size.

5.  Early Assessment and Treatment is Best

If you have tried all the tips above and you are still struggling with back pain or sciatica then early intervention is key to keep you feeling good during pregnancy.  A prenatal chiropractor is an important part of your prenatal health team to keep your spine and posture balanced.  The best way to find a prenatal chiropractor is to ask you midwife or doctor for a referral, or by asking your Mom friends if they know someone in your area.  A prenatal chiropractor will assess your posture and look for areas of stress along your spine.  Chiropractic is a safe, drug free approach to help eliminate/decrease your pain and allow you to enjoy your pregnancy.

Dr. Jeff Harris is a pediatric, prenatal, and family chiropractor located in London, Ontario.  With over 14 years of experience Dr. Jeff has helped thousands of patients restore their health by allowing their bodies to function optimally.  He believes that we all have a perfect innate ability to heal, but we need our nervous system to function optimally and without any disturbance.  The #1 cause of disturbance to our nervous system is stress, and we have more stress in our lives today than any previous generation.
Dr. Jeff uses very specific and gentle techniques to restore balance in patients’ nervous systems.  Specifically Dr. Jeff’s primary focus is upper cervical care and sacral balance.  He combines multiple techniques including toggle recoil, torque release technique, and Thompson Drop technique.