This is a HOT TOPIC! Sciatica during pregnancy is probably one of the most common, if not the #1 complaint of lower back pain when pregnant. Fear not, I am here to provide some solutions as best as possible. There are things you can do such as as core stabilization exercises, sciatic nerve stretches (or some may call sciatic nerve glides), hip stretches and improving posture to address sciatic nerve pain so keep reading.
Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy can occur either on the right or left side of the buttock with sharp, burning and or even shooting pain down the back of leg. It is most common in second and third trimester. Why does this happen you may ask?! Without getting too technical, sciatica occurs because the nerve is compressed.
Still not sure, if you’re pain is due to sciatica other than the fact you have pain in the buttock and down the leg, try these two things.
#1 – Push your glut region where you feel the pain. Does that reproduce the pain down the leg? Likely, you are pushing on the piriformis muscle where the nerve can commonly get compressed from.
#2 – I am going to guide you through the sciatic neural tension test to further confirmed that the nerve indeed is affected.
First step, find yourself a bath towel, a long dog leash or a belt .
Second, lay on your back with both knees bent and feet on surface that you are laying on. Don’t worry, I know laying on your back is uncomfortable but you’ll be there for another a few minutes. While in this position, loop the belt/dog leash/bath towel behind the of the painful leg.
Third, you are going to pull the weight of the leg with the strap with both hands and pull that knee towards you, letting go of all the weight of the leg in the strap.
Forth, straighten you knee. What do you feel? Do you feel the exact pain that you complain of? If so, you are screening positive for sciatic nerve irritation. If you are not sure than continue to the next step.
Fifth step, complete # 4 again and add pointing your toes towards your nose. What do you feel? The exact pain that you complain of? If yes, then again confirmation of sciatic nerve involvement.
If you are testing positive for both screening or just one you, are likely having sciatica.
SO NOW WHAT? Ok, here comes the good stuff, symptom relief with piriformis stretching and nerve glides!
Piriformis stretching can be completed a a few different ways. Check out my video on various stretching performs stretches.
Then you have the neural tension test you completed above. Use those exact movements to gently stretch the nerve for relief. Watch me!
For the nitty, gritty details on sciatica, visit my sciatica page.