Sciatica exercises during pregnancy are necessary, as the growing baby places a lot of strain on the lower back, abdominal muscles, hips and legs. Scroll down to know, exercises, that help in relieving sciatica pain during pregnancy.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, that runs from the fourth or the fifth lumbar vertebra to the back of the thigh and further down behind the knee to the hamstring muscles and ends in the feet. When the sciatic nerve is compressed it leads to sciatica. The sciatic nerve pain is felt in the lower back, buttock and different parts of the leg.
The symptoms include numbness, tingling sensation and pain in one leg. Pregnant women suffer from sciatica usually in the second or third trimester of their pregnancy, when the growing fetus presses against the sciatic nerve. Therefore it is important, that pregnant women pay attention to the body posture and regularly perform sciatica stretches during pregnancy.
Best Sciatica Exercises for Pregnant Women
Along with sciatica stretches, the physician may prescribe certain sciatica treatment options for sciatic nerve pain, that are designed to cater to special needs of pregnant women. There are a lot of women, who also suffer from sciatica pain during first trimester. In such cases, one can follow sciatica exercises in early pregnancy, which help relieve pain. We will now see some sciatica stretches, which can be practiced during pregnancy, but under the guidance of a medical practitioner.
This is indeed one of the easiest sciatica exercises to relieve pain. First trimester is the crucial period of pregnancy. However, with appropriate care this exercise can also be practiced in the first trimester too. To do this exercise, stand straight, with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Your toes should point out at a 45 degree angle. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees and lower your torso into a squat. When you lower your body in a squat position, ensure your knees do bend ahead of your toes. Hold the position for a few seconds and come back to the starting position.
Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the best exercises for sciatica leg pain. This exercise will work on the muscles of the lower back as well as the hamstrings. It helps shift weight and pressure off the pelvis, which in turn takes pressure off the sciatic nerve. To do this exercise, come down on all four and stand with your toes curled under, and your hips pushed up towards the sky and you form an inverted ‘V’. Then gently push your heels towards the floor and try to look at your knees. To come out of the position, come into a table top position with your knees resting on the floor and slowly come out of it.
This exercise helps in releasing sciatic nerve pain and can be practiced till the first trimester, after which a small change will have to be made in the way, you do the exercise. Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and place your feet flat on the floor. Gently roll your pelvis forward, but press the small of your back into the floor and press your pelvis up, towards the ceiling. Hold the position for a few seconds and come back to the starting position. From the second trimester, you will have to stand flat against a wall to do this exercise and not do it lying down.
Cat Cow Stretch
To do this stretch sit on your hands and knees, such that your hands are aligned exactly below your shoulders and knees are aligned below the hips. Your back should be flat. Once you come into this position, you will realize that all pressure from the lower back is removed immediately. Inhale and try to bring your pelvis forward and try to round your back, like a cat.
This is the cat pose in the cat cow stretch. Now slowly exhale and move your pelvis back towards the sky and curve your belly towards the ground. This is the cow pose in the cat cow stretch. While doing this stretch, you will have to ensure, that the motion is done from the pelvis, to get the most of the sciatica stretching exercise.
Before starting off with sciatica stretches in the prenatal stage, it is recommended, you talk to your physician, so that there are no ill effects of these exercises. In case the pain becomes unbearable, do not waste any time and visit your physician immediately.