Oh no, is your lower back pain acting up again? During your pregnancy, lower back pain may feel like your new best friend–but not the good kind. Back pain during pregnancy is more like the clingy, lingering friend who just can’t take the hint to leave you alone. What’s even worse is that all backache can feel the same! Trying to figure out the cause of your lower back pain can therefore be an enormous headache. Is it lumbago? Sciatica? How can you tell the difference? Chances are, however, that it is one of those two: lumbago and sciatica are two common diagnoses of pregnant women experiencing lower back pain. But why one and not the other? Let’s find out what differentiates lumbago from sciatica so you backache problems can stop being…well, a pain in the back!
Your pelvis: you’ve heard of it but aren’t exactly sure what part–or parts–of the body it is referring to. No need to fret! A definition to the rescue! The pelvis is ring of bone near the base of your spine. Shaped like a basin, it is formed by the hip bones: the ones on the front and sides as well as the triangular bone on the back. And there you have it: a picture of your pelvis! Now that you know what area of the body the pelvic tilt works, you know why it helps relieves sciatic nerve pain. During pregnancy your pelvic bones shift to prepare you for labor and your growing tummy puts more pressure on your back. As a result, your lower back muscles may endure strain, which can place pressure on–you guessed it!–your sciatic nerve! So you’ll want to stretch that bad boy (i.e., your lower back) out! Standing and lying down pelvic tilts are sciatic nerve stretches that will do just that and more: as a bonus, this exercise will also help improve your posture, which further ensures that your sciatic pain is kept at bay. Can’t get better than that, now can it?
Hands, fingers, knees and toes! By getting down on all fours, you can work all your body parts to relive your pregnancy sciatic pain! But a word of warning: these sciatic nerve stretches are not for the heavily pregnant. If you are late in your second trimester or in your third trimester, count these out. Carrying twins, triplets or more? Draw the line on these stretches even earlier. You need to remember that you will be getting bigger sooner! You want to be comfortable on your hands and knees to avoid falling or hurting yourself. Camel backing and the backward stretch are both advanced movements that are better and easier to do earlier in your pregnancy. Don’t want that big belly getting in the way!
Sciatic nerve stretches are becoming a more and more popular way of relieving sciatica symptoms while pregnant! Looking for a good sciatic nerve stretch to reduce your sciatica pain during your pregnancy (even when you are on bed rest)? Look no further! Knee pulls, a variation of a knee exercise from the Stanford Prevention Research Center, are an easy way to do something about that lower back, buttocks, thigh, and even leg pain you might be experiencing while carrying your baby. Because knee pulls are done lying down, they come with another big benefit:
- You can exercise in bed (which is especially good for those on bed rest)!
Of course, lying on the floor on a floor mat might be the better option, as the hard surface will provide you with a sturdier ground. But for those of you on bed rest who have sciatica, there is a way to relive your symptoms through exercise.
Exercise and pregnancy? Not a very smart combination, you might think. It seems like you should cut out any strenuous activity from your life after your see that positive sign on your pregnancy test, as your baby’s safety must now be put first and foremost in all you do. Since exercising is a recipe for disaster, it is the first to go. What if you fall? What if you pull a muscle? What if you hurt the baby? But exercising during pregnancy does not have to be dangerous to you or your baby. Instead it could be used to relieve your pregnancy pain–especially sciatica. By stretching the sciatic nerve while you are sitting down, the torso twist offers you a safe way to get keep that adrenaline pumping and decrease your sciatic nerve pain. Starting an exercise routine with the torso twist as one of your sciatic nerve stretches will help your pregnancy pain stay good and gone!
Seated stretches are perfect for pregnant women dealing with sciatica: they allow you to stretch your sciatic nerve without putting too much stress on your body. Your body is already under enough pressure from being pregnant, your spine especially strained from the baby bump you got up front, so keeping exercise stress to a minimum is the way to go. Gotta be extra careful when there is a baby on board! So go on and take a load off by trying these seated exercises to stretch away your sciatic pain! Sciatic nerve stretches while sitting? Who woulda though it could be that easy?
You walk into your doctor’s appointment, and spill all your symptoms: lower back pain, pain in your buttocks, tingling, numbness and sometimes even shooting pain down one of your legs. You may not know what to make of all these things you’ve been experiencing , but you are hoping your doctor does. So when your doctor comes back with the following diagnosis–sciatica–you are faced with more to think about. But before you get all worried and worked up, you want to deal with the basics: what does the “sciatica” label really mean? Is sciatica a medical condition? A disease? Or something else?
The answer: sciatica is something else entirely.