Ah, sciatica risk factors! Aren’t those just lovely? Just another thing you wanted to add to your pregnancy worry list! Although sciatica risk factors are almost as unpleasant to talk about as the sciatica itself, it is important that you learn whether your odds of having a sciatica pregnancy are greater than most. Why, oh why would you want to know ahead of time that lower back and buttocks pain is just around the corner of your pregnancy? Ignorance is bliss, is it not? Let me put it this way: if you know that you have a greater chance of experiencing sciatica before that baby is on its way, you may be able to prevent a sciatica nightmare. Stay back, sciatica!
What is the main cause of sciatica? Many would venture to say pressure on the sciatic nerve. But wrap your head around this: although pressure is often thought to be the main catalyst of sciatic nerve pain (especially during pregnancy), sciatica may begin way before any kind of pressure is applied to your sciatic nerve. Does that fly in the face of most everything you’ve head? Mind. Blown.
The average woman should be drinking enough water to fill a standard 50 gallon bathtub approximately four times every year, which averages out to 2.2 liters of liquid daily. Used to lubricate your nose and mouth as well as wash toxins out of your body, H2O is in high demand in the body. Sticking to this 9 cup standard will keep you healthy, your systems running smoothly and effectively. With water accounting for around 60% of your body mass, making it a main chemical component in your body, a lack of water in your system can impair how your body functions and contribute to, instead of ease pain–especially during a sciatica pregnancy. Drink water for sciatica pain relief during pregnancy!
For a lot of people, the natural response to pain is to stop moving. But is it true? If you don’t move, it can’t hurt? Not when it comes to sciatic pain during pregnancy. The magical advice, “Stay still!” as a fix-all does not apply when you are trying to relieve the symptoms of sciatica–in fact it is lying still and remaining stationary that aggravates sciatic nerve pain. Bed rest for sciatica is not a great idea!
Try applying hot and cold treatments to the lower back, alternating between the two, to ease your sciatica during pregnancy. Using temperature changes to control your sciatic symptoms–as opposed to more risky, invasive and expensive methods such as medication–has two major lures: its cheapness and portability. Such a simple solution may seems too good to be true, but many people get a break from their sciatica pain by capitalzing this approach to pain relief.
Prevention is possible! But preventing sciatica can be tricky, as sciatica does not stand on its own as a medical condition; rather, it is a symptom of another medical problem. Because sciatica is usually a sign of a deeper health issue, it has a variety of underlying causes. Ideally, the best strategy for preventing sciatica during pregnancy would be to tackle these causes of sciatica–which range from a spinal nerve tumor to a shifted pelvic bone. But many pre-existing medical conditions that can lead to sciatica are not known about before pregnancy. Many instances of sciatica also result from normal pregnancy changes (e.g. the baby’s weight, the enlarging uterus) or unforeseen pregnancy mishaps (e.g. the baby taking an unfortunate position in the womb, a pinched nerve or herniated disc), making the causes difficult to target and treat.
Wake up, sleepyhead! Your slouched spine needs to rise and shine. An alert and upright spine is a strong spine–and a strong spine helps you avoid disc damage and other spine-affecting diseases that can lead to sciatica during pregnancy. The sun, with its vitamin D-boosting abilities, is an energy source for your body that can not only help you achieve this straight spine but also bulk up it up along with your other bones. With 80 to 90% of our vitamin D supply coming from our exposure to the sun, going out into the sunshine may be just the solution to energize and revitalize your skeletal system–and avoid sciatica during your pregnancy. Sciatica and vitamin D–what a dynamic duo!
Calcium, a mineral and main component of your bones, can fortify your bones and your pregnancy. Because many cases of sciatica during pregnancy stem from pre-existing medical conditions or health issues that were caused or perpetuated by weak, brittle bones–especially in the spinal cord and pelvic region–you need to take extra care of your bones in the days before you become pregnant. Calcium deficiency and sciatica go hand-in-hand. To maintain bone density and prevent bone loss, kick up the calcium levels in your pre-pregnancy diet.
In Season 6, Episode 4 of the popular TV show, How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Lily have a baby talk that changes their lives. During a cab ride, they make a cradle list–a knock-off of the traditional bucket list that includes things to do before they start having kids. Seeing Coney Island, taking a trip to Paris as well as learning how to ski and ballroom dance all land on their list. If you want to prevent sciatica while you are pregnant, you might want to add one more to your cradle list: lose weight. Weight loss and sciatica is a match made in heaven!
The average American spends 1/3 of their life tucked under blankets. But just because you are zonked out does not mean sleeping is an inactive state; there are many biological processes and changes that occur while your eyes are shut that affect your overall health: your body is rejuvenated and repaired from the day’s damages as you dream, melatonin is released at night to control your waking-sleeping cycle, and your sleeping arrangement may leave you with neck or back pain when you arise.