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.
How Does it Work to help Sciatica during Pregnancy?
Each temperature change on your lower back causes different things to occur below the skin’s surface to relieve sciatic pain. Ideally, you want to start with cold therapy (when the pain is still sharp and intense) and transition into heat later on when the pain begins to subside.
First, you’re cold….
The sciatic nerve can experience relief from cold temperatures. The cold can numb sore tissues as well as reduce inflammation when applied to the lower back. As the coldness penetrates your skin, you want to be aware of the different stages; when you move beyond the burning sensation to numbness, you should stop as frostbite can follow. Below is a list of ways to take advantage of the benefits of the cold:
1. Ice Massage: This methods usually involves freezing water in a paper cup and cutting away the top half after it is frozen to create a sort of frozen push-up pop. You (or a spouse) can then use a circular motion to apply the ice to the painful area. The goal is to numb your pain away.
2. Ice Pack: Unlike the previous method, an ice pack is usually kept in one spot, with a towel wrapped around it to avoid too much contact with the cold. Alternate between 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off for about an hour.
Then, you’re hot.
Applying heat to your lower back also works in a couple of different ways. First off, heat dilates your blood vessels, allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow more freely to the area and assist in the healing process of damaged tissue. Heat therapy also functions as a distracter, refocusing your sense of awareness to the burning sensation rather than your sciatic pain; additionally, the skin receptors that picked up on the heat pain sent messages to the brain, alerting the brain of the problem and prompting the release of endorphins, the boy’s natural pain relievers, to further take your mind off your sciatica. Because strains and pulls in the muscles create tension around the spine, they also contribute to sciatica during pregnancy. Heat can relieve tightness and improve flexibility of the muscles and tissues in the lower back and around the spine, giving you a sense of relief. Methods for applying heat include:
- Heating Pad
- Take a Hot Bath
For both cold and hot applications, be sure to wrap the applicator in a towel, so as to not apply it directly to the skin. Avoid making the heat treatments too hot so as to not burn yourself.
As with most sciatica treatments, you will want to combine cold and heat therapy with other methods of pain relief, such as exercise. But for now, go to your fridge and find out just how much a simple change in temperature can help your sciatica during pregnancy.