What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body, that runs from your low back all the way down to your foot.
It’s something that can happen in the general population (from things like slipped discs, obesity, etc.) but it is also a common pregnancy-related pain!
Why is it related to pregnancy?
The sciatic nerve may get compressed during pregnancy from one of, or the combination of, the following:
1) the hormone relaxin making all your ligaments looser
2) a shift in the center of gravity from your growing belly/baby, leading to more curvature in the lumbar spine
3) increase in overall body fluid and weight
One or all of these things can add up to shift your spine in a way that could compress the sciatic nerve.
Although it’s variable, sciatica is prevalent in about 17% of pregnant women.
So although it’s not extremely common, sciatica is also not rare or something to be worried about!
What should you do if you have sciatica?
The worst thing you could do is nothing.
Since the pain is caused from events internally happening to shift your spine, it’s important to use movement to realign the spine in a way that relieves this discomfort!
Focusing on movements such as:
- pigeon pose
- wide forward fold
- figure 4 hold
- pike fold
- child’s pose
- cat cow
- bird dog
and other mobility work is going to help loosen the low back and relieve pressure from the spine, which will hopefully in turn take pressure off the sciatic nerve.
Any stretch that focuses on lengthening the low back, stretching the glute muscles and/or taking pressure off your spine will be great options.
The good news is you do NOT have to stop working out or lifting weights altogether! You can continue doing any movement that feels good and that does not intensify symptoms.
That being said, it would be wise to reduce or remove high impact exercises, as quick movements could shift the hips and/or spine in unfavorable positions that would make symptoms worse.
On top of movement, focus on proper posture and alignment is going to be key!
Even though you’ll probably feel like laying down, staying seated or laying won’t do you any good.
SO – moral of the story is to keep moving when you experience sciatica symptoms.
I got you,
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