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