12

Jan

sciatica

let me start off by saying that this long post will be 2 parts complaining and 1 part searching for advice.

so, from about 12 weeks or so into my pregnancy, I’ve been experiencing what I’ve determined to be sciatica – an annoying pins and needles sensation that varies anywhere from minor to sharp pain around my hip and upper buttocks.  in the beginning, my doctor simply left it that she thought it was too early for me to be feeling sciatic pain which left me to google for relief and deal with it on my own.  fast forward 10 weeks, it’s brutal and she’s finally decided it’s sciatica.  there are times when my butt hurts so badly that I have a hard time walking.  and not to mention, the sharp pains / pins and needles are twice as bad in my left hip than in my right.  meaning, when I lay on my left side, the preferred pregnant mama sleeping position, it hurts and bothers me ALL NIGHT LONG.

in my prenatal yoga class last weekend, I asked my instructor for some advice.  she said don’t sit in the same position for more than 30 mins {hello, I’m a graphic designer and work at a computer 8 hours a day} and she said don’t bend over forward to relieve the pain {um… my lower back is now starting to hurt too and that feels SO good on it!}.  I’ve been trying to sit cross legged at my desk, tried many yoga poses to contradict the all day sitting, and have ultimately felt no relief.

if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading!!!  has anyone experienced this during pregnancy or have any wonderful advice?  it’d be much appreciated.

Comments:

  1. 12

    Jan

    Kaitlyn said:

    oh man… I’m so sorry!! that must be awful. I didn’t experienced sciatic pain with my first but I’m pregnant with my second so I suppose I’ll have to wait and see. sounds like you’re doing everything right though. good luck!

  2. 12

    Jan

    Andrea said:

    Pregnancy is glorious and horrendous at the same time. :) I had pretty bad sciatica pain during pregnancy that came and went. But my main complaint was excruciating, relentless pain in my ribs (they were brusied from babies feet pushing into them) and a brusied tail bone. I was insanely uncomfortable no matter what position I was in. And I tried everything…every stretch, every position, sitting on the yoga ball, sleeping in a reclining chair, moving around, standing, sitting, laying, relaxation techniques, etc etc etc.

    What I learned, and this is the bad news…you just have to deal. And then your baby comes and all the pain, discomfort, heart burn, dry/bloody noses, difficulty breathing, etc etc etc…just miraculously all goes away. It is amazing.

    In the meantime though, things will be a little brutal for a while. My one tidbit of advice…I saw a prenatal massage therapist to relieve some of the pain and I always left feeling great. And that great feeling usually lasted about 24 hours…well worth it when what you need is a little relief. Also, I really do think positive thoughts and hypnobabies (that’s what I used) work wonders! Easier said than done when everything hurts. But Hypnobabies teaches you how to breath, relax and release the pain during pregnancy and through labor and delivery. It was one way for me to relieve some of my discomfort that really did seem to work.

    I’m so excited for you! When that baby shows up you somehow forget it all and can do nothing but stare at them all day and wonder how you can love something so much. It is incredible. :)

    • 12

      Jan

      alyson said:

      sigh…
      discomfort – check.
      heartburn – it’s a new thing, but check.
      dry / bloody nose – check.
      difficulty breathing – you guessed it, check.

      I’ve read some things about hypnobabies – I’m hoping for an unmedicated vaginal birth, so I’m sure anything else would help. thanks!

  3. 12

    Jan

    Lucy said:

    i’m 20 weeks pregnant and am getting sciatica really bad, but only in my left side! The only thing that’s helping me is sitting on the floor like your doing the splits…left leg out front, right leg behind, but with both legs bent at the knee back towards the opposite side, hold the pose then swap. This has helped me so hope it helps you! x

    • 12

      Jan

      alyson said:

      thanks Lucy, I’m up for anything. I’ll give it a try!

  4. 12

    Jan

    Flora said:

    Alyson, I’m very sorry about this, it must be very hard to deal with such a pain. I have not experienced sciatica during my pregnancy. However I have taken 3 Shiatsu appointments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiatsu) during pregnancy. It can feel harsh during the session, as the practitioner will push many specific areas, some of which being sensitive, not to say painful, but the aim is to let your energy get back to a natural flow (where you feel the pain, energy either does not have access to it, or is blocked and there is too much of it, to make it short). I have always felt great afterwards. Now I have a chinese massage every month (this technique uses the same concept than Shiatsu) and feel so good afterwards, I can tell it changes things inside. So, maybe you could ask around you if someone knows of a good practitioner?

  5. 12

    Jan

    Flora said:

    Also, I have trained with HypnoBirthing during pregnancy, and must say it is perfect for a natural birth. It helped so much, the labour was pleasant (yes, pleasant) during 10 hours, I even fell asleep in the bath :) Then I got scared because we were alone at home, so lost all the relaxation benefits. But most of it was done, the little girl arrived 1,5 hours afterwards. That would be another advice from me.
    Now good luck and all the best!

    • 12

      Jan

      alyson said:

      thanks Flora! that’s what I’m hoping for – a pleasant labor.

  6. 12

    Jan

    Davanie said:

    Lots of women get relief from sciatic pain through chiropractic. I’m not sure where you live, but I might be able to recommend one in your area. You can also look for one through the ICPA – it has lists of chiropractors with a pediatric certification, but they’re also trained to work with pregnant women. {icpa4kids.org}
    I hope you can find some relief!

  7. 12

    Jan

    Meghan said:

    Have you tried an exercise (birthing) ball? Helps with core strength which takes pressure off of the spine, also stretches tight hips and hamstrings for me… I use it at my desk….

    Not pregnant (yet) but suffer from episodes of sciatica…

  8. 12

    Jan

    jocelyn said:

    i’m at 21 weeks and although i’m not having numbness/tingling, my hips are KILLING me when i sleep on my side (or any position, really!)

    i’ve found that the best thing to do is in fact to move around. i’m also a graphic artist and i sit at the computer ALL day long. but getting up for stretching/walking breaks has been really helpful. same with sleeping. if i move my legs around and stretch it really helps. but it hasn’t stopped me from waking up with pain, it just helps the pain go away temporarily.

    good luck! and thanks for starting this new offshoot blog, i’ve been an admirer of your other one for a while! :)

  9. 12

    Jan

    Claudia said:

    I understand!

    I tried prenatal massage and floating bath but you only feel pain-free for 24-48 hours…but a massage or a floating bath are always nice to have anyway! My yoga teacher gave me some positions to try but whatever! I like to sit on my big blue yoga ball at home when I watch TV.

    Next week, I will probably try acupuncture. I got some positive comments about it and it is covered by our insurances…so why not!

    • 12

      Jan

      alyson said:

      I’ll be interested to know how acupuncture is Claudia! I’ve been reading things on how to naturally induce labor – obv when I’m further along. since I’ve got two due dates {one from my ultrasounds and the other from my LMS} the doc made a comment to me the other day about induction if I go too far the first due date. hoping NOT to go that route!

  10. 12

    Jan

    alyson said:

    sounds like I might need a yoga ball. you ladies are awesome…

    • 23

      Jan

      Shelby Rice said:

      yes- get a ball for sure! make sure you get an anti-burst ball. they are stronger and safer.

  11. 12

    Jan

    Shannon said:

    Hi Alyson, I have experienced the same pain when I was pregnant with my son. I never told the doctor about it, and just assumed it was one of those “joys” of carrying a baby. Anyway, I would get the pain and pins and needles feeling in my hips when laying on my side, and I got so big at the end that I could only lay on my sides! Needless to say the last two months of my pregnancy were pure torture, I was up every single hour at night having to pee and switch positions so that my hip wouldn’t hurt (the only thing that helped a little bit was a body pillow, I have also heard good things about pregnancy pillows). I also had horrific heartburn and it got so bad towards the end that I cut out all acidic foods from my diet – no tomatoes, orange juice, lemons, etc. which helped a bit. So, fun fact, I have heard from many women and nurses that heartburn during pregnancy = a full head of hair for the baby! And it was true! My little guy had the most gorgeous dark hair when he was born! Hope it’s true for you! Also, If it’s any consolation, despite nine months of hell, my labor went off without a hitch just under twelve hours and no tears, stitches, etc. (It would have been shorter too, but I freaked out and chose the epidural).

    Good luck!

    Shannon

    P.S. I also had a yoga ball and loved it! Sometimes I would just sit and bounce to ease my back pains and stretch my legs. I even sat on it during the beginning labor pains, it made me feel better. And while I am thinking of it – my favorite pregnancy yoga pose for back pain was to ‘sit’ with my legs up high above my head against a wall, be sure to get your butt as close to the wall as possible, and then relax, it felt sooo good!

  12. 12

    Jan

    Kelly said:

    Have you tried a chiropractor? I had bad sciatica and psd and it helped tremendously.

  13. 12

    Jan

    oh, i know this sharp pain as well, i had the same problem during my pregnancy….
    but: i got a perfect tip from my gynecologist: one meeting with my chiropractor, and I felt like 16…. ;-) no joke! supporting to the chiro, in the last ten weeks of my pregnancy I took about 6 meetings with a shiatsu therapist, specialized in maternity topics, it was wonderful! in switzerland the health insurance pays this kind of therapys, so it’s very usual. wish you all the best!

  14. 12

    Jan

    Theresa said:

    Hey Alyson!
    You might want to look for some DO docs in town that do osteopathic manipulation – they may be able to loosen up your sacroiliac joints. They are like chiropractors that go to med school – if you were in jax i would bring you to my clinic!!
    Good luck – you are gonna have such a beautiful baby!

  15. 12

    Jan

    abby said:

    Hi Alyson,
    sorry to hear about this pain you are having :(
    I can tell you that working at Grasshopper I knew/heard a lot of women who went to accupuncture to help with pain.
    There’s a great one actually right across the street from Grasshopper (gosh, I can’t remember the name) and I’ve been for some other reasons and it was lovely.
    The best thing was they charged on a sliding scale at that time and a session was only $10 or $20.
    Hope that helps and hope your pain subsides at least a bit.
    Loving this baby blog :)

  16. 12

    Jan

    Jen said:

    I actually had problems with my sciatic nerve before I got pregnant. It was an issue of lifting too heavy of items and overuse. I went to a chiropractor – a great one- I’ve had awful ones – and continued throughout pregnancy. I can’t say enough about chiropractic care. I continue to go on and off now that I train pretty hard for racing. It just is like a maintenance thing for me and keeps me well.

  17. 12

    Jan

    Kate said:

    I am a reader but never a commenter, but I have sciatica terribly and maybe I can help. I am not pregnant but I am in law school which is kind of like carrying a baby for three years. Sitting is the worst thing for it, but sitting is necessary. One trick is to turn the chair around so that your tail bone is off the chair (like AC Slater from Saved by the Bell). What helps me the most is:
    1. Lying on my back with my legs resting up on a chair so my knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. This puts your spine in a neutral position and takes all the strain off. Try to lie like this for 15 min.
    2. Acupuncture! I am not sure if it is ok for pregnancy, but my acupuncturist puts electricity into the needles and it really calms my nerve down.
    3. Ice. I like to rotate ice and heat, but I really think ice is the most helpful.
    4. Exercise. I am hyperflexible so stretching and yoga tend to make my nerve pain act up but strengthening the surrounding area helps. Walking, pilates, and swimming is helpful.

    I hope some of this gives you some relief.

    On an unrelated note, some good friends of mine have a sustainable baby furniture line that seems to fit your aesthetic nicely: http://kalonstudios.com/ You may want to check it out.

  18. 12

    Jan

    franny.glass said:

    i’ve heard good things about chiropractic care during pregnancy, but never having been to a chiropractor myself, i was afraid to start during pregnancy.

    the thing that helped me the most were long walks every day (3-5 miles) and stretching. i really felt the walks kept my endurance up and helped my birthing experience more than anything else.

    i hope it gets better for you <3

    ps- every evening travis would sit cross-legged so i could lay across his lap with my big ol' belly in the hole his legs made and he would rub on my hip and butt muscles. IT. WAS. THE BEST.

  19. 12

    Jan

    elisabeth said:

    Urgh. That sounds awful. I didn’t deal with sciatica during my pregnancy but I wonder if swimming would feel good. I started swimming towards the end of my pregnancy and wished that I would have started sooner. To be able to stretch, float and (most of all!) feel weightless was such a relief.

  20. 13

    Jan

    Amber said:

    I practiced hypnobirthing and wanted the most NATURAL birth possible. I thought I was all set to go when my water broke (after being 8 days overdue). I was so excited to finally get this show on the road. However, someone didn’t tell me that even when you water breaks, your labor may not start up and progress as it should. I arrived at the hospital (with a HUGE wet mark on my pants) and felt random contractions for the next 12 hours. I actually slept through most of them. Then the big doctor comes in and tells me I need pitocin to get this labor kick started. I am angry since I wanted no inductions. But in my vulnerable state, I agree. I stuck with the hypnobirthing and no pain meds. They thought I was nuts. After 24 full hours with no pain meds and very intense contractions (pitocin makes the contractions abnormally intense-not natural) I was literally sleeping between contractions. I was not dilating fast enough for them so I decided to get pain meds only because they told me it would be 4 more hours until they thought the baby would come. I couldn’t stay awake any longer so I buckled. Birth plan out the window. Then they tell me baby’s heartrate is dropping and I need a c-section. I burst into tears. I felt violated and worried at the same time. Were these doctors telling me the truth or trying to speed things along? In hind sight. I wish I had a doula to act in my best interest. A midwife did nothing to support my birth plan. Of course, my baby was born 100% healthy and that is the most important thing of all. He was 9 lbs 9 oz so maybe a c-section was the best choice :) If I can give you advice: stick by your guns and have a doula there to be your voice. I find it very hard to believe that almost everyone I know has had a c-section. Child birth should not be a medical procedure. We should let nature take its course and that sometimes takes time (something these hospitals don’t seem to have). Sorry to rant :)

  21. 13

    Jan

    Sherilynn (Mom) said:

    Hi Meme! I thought this website had some good ideas. Love and love!! http://www.mytreatmentforsciatica.org/

  22. 13

    Jan

    barret said:

    i am a graphic designer who also spends waaaaaaaaay too much time sitting at the computer – I have awful lower back pain though I am sure not as bad as the sciatica pain. Long walks, stretching, hot baths and acupuncture have helped me relieve the pain if not make it go away, to a point where I can tolerate it. Plus knowing that it’s not a permanent thing helps (a little). good luck!

    miniobsessed.blogspot.com

  23. 13

    Jan

    Lola said:

    sciatica is a drag, there is only one thing that helps me, acupuncture!

  24. 13

    Jan

    Melissa said:

    This has been happening to me! And, only on my left side as well. Except, I had no idea there was a name for it. Thanks for asking the question!

    I’ve enjoyed reading this little blog so much. I stumbled upon it last week and felt like I was reading my own story–because I’m fairly certain we’re at the exact same place in our pregnancies. My husband and I also found out the gender of our baby on Dec. 20th (except we’re having a girl), and he felt her kick for the first time two days after your husband felt your little one. We’re due in May.

    It’s been fun to watch someone else go through the same things that I am–and reminds me that maybe what I’m experiencing isn’t so strange after all. So, thanks!

    • 14

      Jan

      alyson said:

      so funny Melissa! what day are you due? I’m due May 16. glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog. :)

      • 17

        Jan

        Melissa said:

        Wow, I was right! I’m due May 19th, although originally I was given a due date of May 17th.

  25. 14

    Jan

    Elizabeth said:

    I’ve had the same pain since about 8 weeks…too early “they say” to be feeling any hip pain. I don’t think anyone can tell you (as per your yoga teacher) what will work for you. If it hurts you, it’s bad. If it helps, it’s good.

    I try not to lie down during the day at all…it tends to make it worse. I try to lift my legs out and to the side…any sort of rotation seems to loosen me up and help with the pain. Also, I sleep with a pillow between my legs and that helps after a few days.

    Sorry, I feel you.

  26. 14

    Jan

    twobrunettes said:

    Ugh Alyson I feel your pain. I really found nothing that helped for too long :o( sadly. I had two hip surgeries in high school I thought that was the problem at first. Us graphic designers seriously don’t realize how tough we are on our butts and wrists everyday! I had terrible carpal tunnel during pregnancy as well. Try if you can to take a little walk a couple times from your desk. Also try not to do to much cleaning. I found that made it so much worse, especially vacuuming, and carrying laundry baskets. Its hard too cause of nesting! The more I did during the day the worse it was at night. Warm baths helped, not too hot, and don’t put the water to high around your belly, but a nice soak always felt good for a bit. I also did lots of stretching, got down on all fours and pushed my hips and butt up, and put my head to the floor. I found nothing that worked totally but stuff that helped you cope with the discomfort! So sorry you have this, ugh. Good news is it def goes away after birth! Take care!

  27. 14

    Jan

    courtney said:

    there is a chiropractor by the name of Dr. Russ at Nature Cures clinic in portland. he is amazing, a true healer of the non-wooey variety, and i’ve seen him multiple times, as have many of my friends. it’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive either, and i’m not joking when i say he’s amazing. you’ll walk out a new woman.

  28. 15

    Jan

    Ana said:

    I’m not pregnant. But I have suffered back pain (sciatica) and more specifically nerve pain all my life. I have rods from my neck down to my lumbar area. I can tell you that sitting for more than 30 minutes is the worst thing you can do. That said, I attend classes some days back-to-back for over 6 hours. So, I try to shuffle my legs and feet (otherwise they go to sleep and then I get the awful pins and needles) and I try to walk in between classes as much as I can. I am also starting yoga next week, which I know it will help.
    I don’t know about going to a chiropractor when you are pregnant, I’d definitely consult that with your OB/GYN.
    I love your blog and Congrats on the baby news! Get well soon!

  29. 15

    Jan

    I didn’t get any pain with my first pregnancy, but I am 20 weeks pregnant with number 2 and I have had the worst sciatic pain from about 11 weeks.

    I found going to 2 pre-natal yoga classes has really helped and also i had been sleeping with a pillow between my legs for comfort, but found that when I don’t use a pillow at night I have much less pain the next day.. strange!

    I hope you find something that helps, it really is an awful pain.

  30. 17

    Jan

    lyn said:

    I had similar pain as well during my 1st pregnancy…i also had an injury from about 17 yrs. before that could have made it worse. My midwife suggested I go to a physical therapist once a week – which helped a little…also continued w/ the yoga and slept with a body pillow in front of me (on either side) and another pillow behind me so i could prop myself up a bit….hope it starts feeling better! I’m 26 wks along in my 2nd pregnancy – and not having as much of an issue this time around (at least not yet)…however – this time we’re having a girl so it could be positioning too! who knows – good luck…it’s not fun…but worth it in the end!

  31. 17

    Jan

    gillian said:

    I suffered from sciatica about 6 years ago when I was waitressing full-time. It got so bad at one point that I was unable to even walk without excruciating pain for about 3 days. I tried a number of different treatments to rid myself of it, but nothing worked until I discovered ART (Active Release Therapy/Technique). I don’t know the proper technical terms, but essentially the therapist engages the muscle(s) that are causing the pain; applies pressure; and then moves the muscle out of the engaged position. The movement strips out the adhesions/tightness causing the pain. In the case of my sciatica, he bent my leg while I was laying on my side; applied very direct pressure with his fingers on the muscle (glute), and stretched my leg out. It hurts like the dickens, but after 2 treatments (6 years ago), my sciatica has never returned. I really recommend it. I will say though that the higher your threshold for pain, the more effective it is as the deeper and more thorough the practitioner can treat at a time, the fewer treatments you’ll need. (I hope that all made sense) Feel better! :D

  32. 23

    Jan

    Ashleigh said:

    I have heard that the Pigeon Pose in yoga is very good to relieve sciatic nerve pressure. It’s an awkward pose for sure, but a couple ladies in my pre-natal yoga class swore by it!