Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of sciatic nerve pain and it can be a real pain in the butt! Thankfully, there are several ways you can ease your pregnancy sciatica and below you will find 5 sciatica pregnancy stretches that will work to stretch our your hips and hamstrings.
If you are have ever experienced unbearable pain of sciatica in pregnancy then you know that you would do anything to relieve the agony.
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What causes sciatica during pregnancy?
Typically sciatic nerve pain is caused by back problems such as herniated disc. Other issues such as obesity or bone spurs can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause intense pain.
Pregnancy itself is a cause of sciatica.
If you have only sciatic nerve pain in buttocks during pregnancy and never had issues before, then likely you are one of the lucky people who has pregnancy sciatica.
There is no explanation why some people suffer from it and not others. It’s also possible to suffer from sciatica in one pregnancy and then not at all in subsequent pregnancies.
This may be due to the baby’s position in the womb or differing weight gain with each pregnancy.
The good news is that most women who experience sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy find instant relief the moment their baby is born and the majority do not suffer from any pain after their pregnancy is over.
What can be done for sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy?
I have had the pleasure of experiencing sciatica both during pregnancy and also as a result of a herniated disc and the pregnancy was worse just because I could not take anything for it.
For the herniated disc injury, I was prescribed many different medications such as Lyrica, Celebrex and even opioids such as Percocet.
I can honestly tell you that none of them worked. As in, they did not even reduce my pain by 1%. That’s because sciatica pain is nerve pain which is really hard to treat so muscle relaxers etc don’t do much.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that you aren’t missing out on some magic bullet that you can’t take while pregnant.
During pregnancy your options for pain relief are somewhat limited – you can’t take ibuprofen or aspirin, hot tubs are out of the question and lying on your back is a no-no.
When I went to my OB at 5 months pregnancy with that “can’t walk” sciatic pain, he said all he could recommend was stretches and a massage.
Massage may help you and so might some of these other ways to naturally ease sciatica in pregnancy.
The best remedies for pregnancy sciatica are natural ones such as the stretches below. Make sure to start them off gently and don’t push through any pain. You want to stretch the piriformis and not further injure yourself.
Are there any sciatica yoga poses to avoid in pregnancy?
Any poses that have you laying flat on your back should be avoided in pregnancy, especially after first trimester. If you do want to do a relaxing pose, lay on a bolster so that your body is tilted downwards.
How often should I perform these yoga stretches?
A few times a day will be most beneficial, especially if you are sitting down a lot and need to stretch. Going through the series before bed can also help you get more comfortable. Hold each stretch for 5-10 seconds then repeat.
Make sure to consult with your doctor or OB before doing these exercises in case there is a reason that they would not be safe for you.
Sciatica Pregnancy Stretches To Try
Lay on your back, arms by your sides. Slowly life your pelvis up into a tilt. If you can, gentle place one ankle over the other knee to open the hips and stretch them out. This position is good for all lower back issues and other pelvic pain you may experience in pregnancy.
You can also do this exercise laying on a yoga ball if it feels better.
2. Pigeon Pose
This is one of the best yoga poses for sciatica in pregnancy. Start on all fours or in downward dog and slowly slide one leg through your arms and across your body. Grabbing the back leg is optional and will increase the stretch in your hamstring.
3. Chair Pose
You can do this pose either standing as shown or sitting in a chair. If you are standing, gently ease down as though you were going to sit down in a chair. Then place one ankle across your other leg. This is a great hip opener and the seated version can be done at the office or anywhere when you need a quick stretch.
4. Cow Face Pose
Start on all fours then cross your right knee over the left and gentle sit down. This is a great stretch for your hips and glutes but it can be hard to do properly.
For your arms, reach your top arm up and behind your back, the goal is for your fingers to touch but you can use a towel if needed.
5. Cross-legged Pose
This is one of the easiest poses to do but it is great for your sciatic nerve. Simply sit criss-cross apple- sauce and feel the stretch in your hips.
You can do some side bends to stretch your obliques at the same time.
If you want a more intense stretch, move your legs out so that the bottoms of your feet touch and grab hold of your ankles (butterfly pose).
For more sciatic stretches, I recommend checking out the The McGill Big 3 in consultation with a physiotherapist.