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Pregnancy is unpredictable. So is sciatique nerve pain.
As Forest Gump says, you really have no idea what you’re gonna get. Especially not before you go on the rollercoaster ride of growing a little one inside a bulging belly.
I know how it feels, and I’m here to share with you all some solutions I used for dealing with that nagging nerve.
Without further adu, I give you my top five:
1) Keep moving mummy
I know, it sounds obvious but it turns out that just going out for a ten minute walk around the block can help shift your muscles into the right place.
So when you’re getting fed up of trying to get comfy on the sofa, get up and get going.
If you’re struggling to get motivated to get out, choose a place in particular that you feel really inspired by.
Perhaps you could stop to have a picnic in the nature somewhere? This also doubles up as a cute mini baby-moon idea.
If you have a dog, you’ll be obliged to take him out at least twice a day. Take advantage and drive a gorgeous spot you know he’ll love running up and down in. If you don’t have a dog, go with someone who has!
Make sure to shorten your stride as this will allow you to balance the weight more on the middle part of your foot, instead of the toe first, which activates the nerve pain.
A good exercise you can do if you have the time with your partner is to observe where you put the weight in your foot as you walk.
This is a totally legit exercise I used to do in theatre school. What you want to do is take turns at walking very slowly.
The other person will get down close to your feet and put pressure on the parts where you avoid stepping. Not only that, but you’ll gain an idea of your posture in general – you want to try your best to enter your hips as you walk so as to alleviate pressure on your lower back.
Long periods sitting down can really put pressure on the discs of your back, so try and prop yourself up well when you have to sit down.
2) Heat baby!
It’s time to get your grandma’s favourite hot water bottle out ladies.
(Is that just me who remembers that?)
Anyway, hot water bottle, heat pad, microwavable beanie thing – whatever does it for you. Just heat it up and place it on the sore part of your back.
Now lie back and voila! Enjoy the pain slowly subside away with all your worries and stresses of the day.
Okay, I don’t know if it can really help with all your worries but it can certainly feel that way, it’s that good.
Ideally, you want to alternate heat with movement – don’t get too stiff in one position at a time.
You’ve absolutely won if you can stick a heat pad on your back while you’re walking!
Why use heat though?
The use of heat as pain relief has existed for years, but what’s the science behind it?
When you apply heat to the muscle or part of the body that is inflamed, the blood vessels dilate allowing more blood to flow to that area.
With more blood flowing to the area, this also means in turn more oxygen getting to the muscle.
On top of that, heat is also known for being psychologically reassuring – which enhances it’s analgesic properties ( )
I’ve always been one to get my stretches in whenever I can, if nt anything to ease every day aches and pains. When I became pregnant, however, it became a little trickier with the fatigue and lack of motivation.
How does one get motivated whenfeeling like a sloth?
Thankfully, you don’t have to wait to see a specialist to do most stretches, and there are plenty of videos and diagrams online.
I will be posting a video shortly showing you which ones you can do, until then don’t be afraid to have a wander around Pinterest – there are many infograms that are so useful to print out and stick up on a wall.
When to stretch?
I personally remember enjoying stretching a little before bed after a day on my feet – but you can do them when you get up or anytime of day, for that matter.
Some women enjoy morning sessions as this is the time of the day where they feel most refreshed and active. It really depends on you, I would say try and test what feels best for you.
Great news too! You can stretch in bed too. Hurrah!
Most of the stretches specific for sciatique pain are adaptable for doing in a soft, comfortable environment anyway.
Remember – you don’t want to push yourself too hard! The idea is to relax those muscles and enjoy the feeling of release as they extend.
Any good friend will help you ease your aches and pains, so call upon one that you trust and get her involved!
Bonus is that everything is more fun in two, you can have a laugh and release some endorphins as you go.
Be clear about where is hurting you, how soft you would like her to push/pull and your limits BEFORE starting.
4) Get comfy in bed
If you’re struggling with sciatic pain day and night, it’s obvious that you need a good night’s sleep to recover well and allow your muscles to repair.
Unfortunately with one thing and another, this does not always happen. You can try and make yourself the comfiest possible though – here’s how.
Play around with cushions to suit your needs!
I remember wriggling around like a little (pregnant) worm in bed until I figured out what worked for me – it’s not always simple but it is worth taking the time to explore.
First of all, you won’t get anywhere without a decent pregnancy pillow to help you sleep through the night.
I used a pillow that doubles up as a breastfeeding pillow, so as not to have to invest twice. Boy was that a rookie mistake!
I wish I’d just pushed aside my stubborness and bought the damn thing. I’ve heard so many pregnant friends rave about this one and I’ll definetly be getting it in time for my next pregnancy.
Next, you want to make sure that you wedge the cushion in between your legs, so as to raise your hips and lower the pressure on the nerve.
What I did was put another little pillow under the knee of the leg that was causing me the most pain. Like I said, you might have to experiment a little – but then you’ll be onto a winner.
5) Fluid movements and light weights
Unless you’re a professional weightlifter (in which case, go ahead and skip this next part), you want to avoid lifting heavy weights at all costs.
Yes – that’s including heavy shopping bags too! If you’re going to do a big shop -which I highly recommend you do to store your pantry before baby arrives – get a trolley and head straight to your car.
Your fella can help you once you’re home, or you can always ask on a neighbour for help. Same goes for nursery room preparations – don’t go mad moving furniture, now is not the time!
The thing is, even if you don’t feel the strain now, you may well do within a few hours – and you don’t want to be back where you were with all that effort you’ve made to shy away the pain!
With fluid movements all I mean to say is watch out taking sharp turns, turning your neck round fast to hear someone across the room, that kinda thing.
When you bend down to pick something up, bend your knees and make the movement as smooth as possible, trying to keep a straight back.
Other preventive techniques:
Experts recommend that you should not eat more than your body needs during pregnancy for a reason. That’s because the more weight you have on your body, the more strain there’s going to be on your joints.
That said, even I got sciatique pain, and I’m a fairly lightweight, slim figured woman. So, do what you can!
Otherwise, the main recommendation I would give is to stay active during your pregnancy, if you can.
Obviously you want to get the run-over by your doctor to check you don’t have a high risk pregnancy. As long as you’ve got the green light, there’s no reason why you can’t keep up daily activity.
One non-strenous exercise all moms can enjoy is swimming. The buoyancy is actually great at alleviating back pain too – I speak from experience!
Ladies, have you had sciatic pain while pregnant? What coping methods did you use? Leave a comment below and feel free to share.