3 Alternative Pain Relief Measures For Pregnancy-Related Sciatica

Sciatica during pregnancy often leads to intense pain in your lower back that sometimes radiates down the buttocks and back of the legs. It may also cause problems with your gait, lead to numbness and tingling, and cause decreased range-of-motion in one or both of your legs. While pain medications can help relieve your symptoms, you may not want to take them during the first trimester of your pregnancy. This is the time when fetal growth is very rapid and when your baby is susceptible to the effects of drugs. Here are some alternatives to sciatic pain relief to consider during your pregnancy:

Visit Your Chiropractor

Chiropractors have the knowledge to treat spinal and other structural problems during pregnancy. In fact, chiropractors often seek advanced certification in the treatment of pelvic balance issues that are strictly related to pregnancy. Sciatica is common during pregnancy because the extra weight of the baby not only heightens the risk for sciatic nerve compression, it may also lead to severe pain in one or both of the hips, lower back pain, leg and foot pain, and even neck pain.

Hot And Cold Compresses

Applying hot and cold compresses to the affected area can help ease the pain and inflammation of sciatica. Warm, moist heat helps relax your lower back and its surrounding structures, while cold compresses help decrease inflammation. Ice packs and cold compresses can also help dull or numb intense sciatic pain, and while they may not completely eliminate your discomfort, if may "take the edge off."

If you use a heating pad, only do so on the lowest setting, and don't forget to turn it off before bedtime.  Also, do not apply ice directly to your bare skin because doing so may raise the risk for tissue damage or even frostbite. Circulation and blood volume changes during pregnancy, which can further raise your risk for developing heating pad burns or damage to your skin from ice packs. 

Therapeutic Massage

When you visit the chiropractic office, ask about therapeutic massage services. Certain chiropractors employ massage therapists who are extensively trained in the treatment of pregnancy-related structural problems. Gentle massage not only helps to relieve intense sciatic nerve pain, it may also help improve mobility while promoting relaxation.

Sciatica pain can also interfere with your sleep; however, a therapeutic massage from your chiropractic professional can help promote the release of chemicals known as endorphins. Also known as "feel good" chemicals, endorphins can help you achieve quality, recuperative sleep.

Chiropractic care is an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical pain relief during pregnancy. It is a safe and highly effective treatment option for managing your sciatic nerve pain during and after pregnancy. Make an appointment with a chiropractor to learn how the above complementary measures can help you achieve lasting pain relief from your sciatica.