Ways to relieve sciatica pain during pregnancy
Treatments for sciatic pain during pregnancy include massage, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. Self-treatment of sciatic pain during pregnancy includes exercises to help stretch the muscles of the leg, buttocks, and hip to decrease the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Try these five stretches to help ease sciatic pain and discomfort during your pregnancy.
1. Seated piriformis stretch
The piriformis muscle is deep in the buttocks. When tight, it can irritate the sciatic nerve. This stretch will help relieve tightness in the muscle. This can help decrease sciatic pain.
Equipment needed: none
Target muscle: piriformis
Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
If your left side is affected, put your left ankle on your right knee.
Keeping a straight back, lean forward until you feel a stretch through your buttocks.
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat throughout the day.
2. Table stretch
This feels great during pregnancy. It helps stretch the muscles of the back, buttocks, and the back of the legs.
Equipment needed: table
Target muscles: low back, spinal stabilizers, hamstrings
Stand facing a table with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
Lean forward with your hands on the table. Keep your arms straight and your back flat.
Pull your hips away from the table until you feel a nice stretch in the lower back and back of the legs.
You can also move your hips side to side to increase the stretch in the lower back and hips.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat twice a day.
3. Pigeon Pose
This popular yoga pose helps relieve sciatic-like pain during pregnancy. With a few small changes, it can be practiced comfortably while pregnant.
Equipment needed: rolled-up towel or yoga block
Target muscles: hip rotators and flexors
Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
Slide your right knee forward so it’s between your hands.
Slide your left leg back, keeping your foot on the floor.
Place the rolled towel or a yoga block under your right hip. This will make the stretch easier and allow room for your belly.
Lean forward over your right leg. Slowly lower yourself toward the ground, putting a pillow under your head and arms for support.
Hold for 1 minute. Repeat on other side. Repeat a few times throughout the day.
4. Hip flexor stretch
The hip flexors are the muscles along the front of the hip that help move the leg forward during movements like walking. Many women have tight hip flexors during pregnancy. This can affect pelvic alignment and posture, causing pain.
Equipment needed: none
Target muscles: hip flexors
Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees.
Step one foot in front of you so that your hip and knee are at a 90-degree angle.
Shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your back hip and leg.
Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on other side.
5. Glute and hamstring foam rolling
A foam roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment you can use to help massage your muscles. Foam rolling is a great way to soothe and relax tight muscles that may be contributing to increased pain. The roller acts like a mini massage for tight muscles and connective tissue.
Equipment needed: foam roller
Target muscles: hamstrings, calf muscles, glutes, piriformis
Place a foam roller on the ground.
Sit on the foam roller, supporting yourself with your hands behind you.
Cross one foot over the other knee into a “figure 4” position.
Slowly move your body back and forth over the foam roller until you find a tender spot.
Continue this movement over the sore area for 30 to 60 seconds.
Slowly move over the foam roller until you find another tender area. As in step 5, continue over the area for 30 to 60 seconds.
Repeat on other side.