Sara Haley’s series on all things pregnancy continues today with her tips on relieving sciatica pain during pregnancy! Remember to always talk to your doctor if you’re in pain during pregnancy. If you’re approved for exercise, these might do the trick for you. Always remember to work at your own pace and comfort level!
At about 30 weeks into my second pregnancy, I started to feel a radiating pain in my left hip and glute, to the point where it was really uncomfortable to walk. Sound familiar?
The discomfort never extended beyond my glutes, but it was painful enough for me to seek out exercises and stretches to give me relief, as well as massage and chiropractic help. With the assistance of all three, the pain was gone in less than three weeks and I could resume to my “normal” routine, but the experience was enough for me to empathize with women who have sciatica pain during their pregnancies and want to share some of the ways in which I was able to ease the pain.
During my weeks of discomfort, I sought out a lot of help from my friends and colleagues. I’m very grateful to them for their help, so much so that I asked them if it was okay to share their recommendations with you. Please keep in mind, sciatic-related issues are different for everyone and can be caused by a variety of reasons. Not all of these exercises will necessarily work for everyone and can, in some instances, make the issue worse. Please consult your OBGYNS or midwives before doing any of these moves.
The first thing I wanted to know, of course, was why exactly was I feeling this pain? It’s most likely because the baby is in a low position and putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is obviously more common the further along you are in your pregnancy. According to Francie Doherty, my personal pre/postnatal guru and NYC trainer, the pain can be felt in the lower back, hip and upper-leg region. Stretching the low back, upper legs and hamstrings and opening up the hips will help relieve pain and tension. “Many people think piriformis pain is the cause of sciatica. It’s actually not. That being said, when the piriformis is tight and or inflamed it can cause flair up in the sciatic nerve, so piriformis stretches are very common.”
I love that she says this because that was exactly my problem, as suggested by Yoga Tune Up Master Trainer, Dinneen Viggiano: my piriformis was super inflamed. I worked with Dinneen when I was in NYC at the height of my discomfort and the Yoga Tune Up balls worked some magic on me.
One of the exercises Dinneen gave me was created by Jill Miller, author of The Roll Model and co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide. It’ll take you all of about 6 to 8 minutes.