I’d heard a lot about back pain in pregnancy from various people and books. It’s inevitable really, there is a lot going on in terms of growing and stretching – the result being you are pretty much carrying a keg up front by the time you hit trimester three. Yes, a keg – I’ve checked and as of this week my weight gain corresponds to that of an average sized keg of beer. I find this amusing.
Something I find considerably less amusing, however, is sciatica. I have had sciatica once or twice before over the past couple of years. I am not a doctor so I don’t know the ‘science’, behind it but it is a pain in the backside, literally. The nerves and muscles deep in your lower back get all knotted up due to pressure on your sciatic nerve resulting in a big L. Another classic symptom is shooting pains down your leg(s) kind of like a cramp. These can go all the way to your toes – sounds pleasant right? The end result is a niggling, constant pain which can make it near impossible to sit or lie down no matter how many different cushion combos you try on the couch.
Pre pregnancy when I got sciatica I reached for the painkillers and tried to get comfortable. If you are pregnant, popping a pill might not be an option. The following may not work for everyone but this is what has worked for me;
1. Seek help ASAP. Sciatica gets worse the longer you leave it. My help of choice – a good physio. I can’t say enough good things about getting a physio session to work out some of the tension. Yes, it will hurt quite a bit and yes when I went I came out battered and bruised, literally (much to the horror of the physio when I went back for the next session – I do bruise easily) but I hobbled in like an old lady and walked out with a definite spring in my step.
2. Heat packs. One of those one’s with beans in that you can pop in the microwave are great. I have been known to take mine to work on occasion. Don’t worry; your co-workers are probably so distracted by your bump that they won’t notice you’ve got a bean bag in your hand
3. Yoga: Even pre-sciatica, I’d been giving pre-natal yoga a whirl. It’s not bad, essentially some stretching, breathing and a nice nap at the end. The stretching has, however, really come into its own since the sciatica hit. I do a class at the end of the week and find it a great way to loosen out after sitting at a desk all week.
4. Keep moving: Try to get a walk in every day – you might not feel like it but chances are you will feel better afterwards and even if you don’t, you’ll have at least got a bit of exercise.
As I said, this is what worked for me, everyone is different but when you are wriggling around trying to get some kip, in my experience, you’ll try most things J