How Pregnancy Can Play a Role in Your Sciatica

How Pregnancy Can Play a Role in Your Sciatica

Becoming pregnant for the first time is an amazing timeline of firsts. It’s the first time you get to hear your baby’s heartbeat, see your baby through an ultrasound, and feel that first kick. However, some milestones aren’t as joyous, as the body undergoes numerous changes to accommodate the growing baby and prepare for labor and delivery.

If you or someone you know has been pregnant, you’re likely all too aware that morning sickness, swollen ankles, varicose veins, and back pain are common issues that expectant moms can experience. But, did you know that you have an increased chance of experiencing sciatica when you’re pregnant, even if you’ve never had it before?

In this blog, John Hunt, DC, of Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora in Glendora, California, shares his insights on how pregnancy can play a role in sciatica.

Sciatica explained

Let’s start with a deep dive on the sciatic nerve and sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the human body. This nerve extends the length of the lower spine, or lumbar region, and then branches in two and travels down the buttocks, down the backs of both legs, across the soles of the feet and finally ends at the big toes.

Sciatica is the term that is used to describe pain and other symptoms that occur anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve. The cause of sciatica is often due to compression of the nerve, and when it comes to pregnancy, the reason this nerve can get compressed is often due to changes that take place in the body.

Most sciatica sufferers experience symptoms only on one side of the body. Some patients describe it as radiating pain, while others experience it as shooting pain or numbness in a leg or hip.

Pregnancy and sciatica

Sciatica can happen at any time during pregnancy, but is particularly common in the third trimester. Here’s why:

Shift in center of gravity

The physical and chemical changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy can set up a perfect storm for sciatica to occur. One of the key changes is that the expectant mom’s center of gravity shifts forward.

As the baby grows, this causes the uterus to get bigger as well, and that increased weight can make the curvature of the spine more prominent, causing spinal compression and pinching of the sciatic nerve.

Loosened ligaments

Further complicating matters is that while the mom’s change in center of gravity triggers spinal compression, her body is also releasing relaxin, a hormone that loosens ligaments to prepare her body for labor and delivery. Relaxin can also relax the ligaments that provide support to the spine, which are already under pressure and are unstable. 

Herniated discs

Spinal instability can also lead to herniated or slipped discs, which can play a role in sciatica pain. Under healthy situations, spinal discs act as the body’s natural shock absorbers, cushioning and protecting the spine.

However, when the spine is under excessive pressure and is unstable, a disc can get pushed out of place and pinch a spinal nerve.

Getting help for sciatica

It’s important to keep in mind that while sciatica may cause discomfort to the expectant mom, it won’t cause harm to the growing baby. For many women, sciatica can be managed during pregnancy, and it usually goes away after the baby is born.

Here at Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora, we help expectant moms who are suffering from sciatica by performing corrective chiropractic care, massage therapy, and functional exercises. Through these protocols, we can decrease pressure on the sciatic nerve and thereby help relieve the symptoms.

If you’re experiencing sciatica — pregnant or not — we can help. To learn more, call 626-219-0567 to book an appointment with Chiropractic Health Care Center Of Glendora today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Improve Your Strength with Balance Training

Is your balance not what it used to be, and would you like to regain it? Or is your balance good, and you want to maintain it? Balance training can help you accomplish either objective. Read on to learn more.

How Cupping Can Resolve Your Muscle Tightness

Cupping is a therapeutic technique that traces its roots back to Chinese and Middle Eastern medicine. Like massage therapy, trained practitioners perform cupping to loosen tense muscles, promote healing, and relieve pain. Read on.

How Chiropractic Care Can Treat Your Headaches

Headaches have a way of wreaking havoc on evenings out with friends or date nights with your spouse. Pain relievers may be your go-to, but wouldn’t it be great if you could treat and prevent future headaches? Read on.

Start Your Year with a Facial to Give You a Fresh Look

The start of the new year often triggers a yearning to reset and renew. For some people, that means making resolutions they rarely keep past February. But here’s a goal anyone can keep: Get a fresh, new look by getting a facial.