Sometimes pregnant women might get affected by sciatica, as the developing fetus starts putting pressure on the nerve. The following article provides some information on the symptoms and treatment options for sciatica in pregnant women.
Sciatic nerve is the longest of all nerves present in the body. It runs from the lower back, travels down through the buttock, with its branches extending down the back of each leg. Sometimes, underlying medical conditions could lead to the irritation of the sciatic nerve and its branches, thereby leading to pain. This pain is referred to as sciatica or sciatic nerve pain. It is not a disorder, but a symptom which is a manifestation of some other medical conditions involving the nerve.
Tumors in the spinal cord, trauma such as car accidents, a fall, tumor along the sciatic nerve, ailment such as piriformis syndrome, lumbar spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis might be the contributing factors. This symptom is not specifically related to pregnancy, but it could affect pregnant women. Although sciatica could be an uncomfortable symptom, depending upon its causes, it retreats within a couple of months.
The classic sign of this problem during pregnancy is the radiating pain which seems to travel from the lower spine to the areas of the buttock, finally reaching for the back of the leg. This pain tends to be sharp. It may begin as a mild ache and might turn into a sharp, burning pain. The pain might worsen while coughing or sneezing, and even by sitting or standing in a position for long periods.
One symptom which may accompany sciatic nerve pain in pregnant women is the feeling of numbness or muscle weakness in the same area where the pain is felt. It is also common for the affected woman to have a pin and needle feeling in the lower back or leg. In rare cases, affected women may lose bladder or bowel control. Some women may experience sciatic nerve pain and the aforementioned symptoms even after pregnancy.
Relief from Sciatic Nerve Pain during Pregnancy
At times, the pain tends to resolve on its own over time. Six weeks or more is known to be the time after which the pain disappears. In most cases, the treatment does not involve medical procedures, but only self-care measures. These may include alternate treatment using cold and hot packs, following some recommended stretching exercises, and using some over-the-counter medications.
Apart from these measures, there might be a few other things which might be recommended by doctors. These may include physical therapy (especially if the patient has a history of a herniated disc) and the use of prescribed anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants. These conservative treatments are generally useful for dealing with this problem in pregnant women.
However, when they aren’t, more aggressive forms of treatment may come into the picture. Application of corticosteroid injections into the affected area help control inflammation thus, relieving the pain. When all forms of treatment do not show any improvements, surgery may be the option to go for. This is reserved only for extreme cases wherein the pain keeps on worsening.
It is to be noted that whatever the case may be, expecting mothers must always inform their doctors regarding the symptoms they are facing and must never self-medicate. So, when you are expecting a child and have such a symptom, all you have to do is to inform your doctor about it, and leave the rest to him.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.