Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, providing sensory and motor function to the lower extremities. It is as thick as an average pinky finger!!!

This nerve provides sensation to the back of the thigh, lower part of the leg and the sole of the foot. Sciatic nerve pain is a periodic severe pain that occurs either at your buttock(s) and / or throughout your leg(s). It is usually one-sided.

The sciatic nerve runs under your uterus, through the buttocks muscles and onto your legs all the way down to the toes. The cause of sciatic nerve pain is most often associated with pressure on the nerve caused by the developing baby i.e. postural adaptation when standing and walking (sway-back) causing the gluteal muscles to contract around the nerve causing an impingement and a referral of pain anywhere along the nerve’s path. In some cases, there might be spinal disk compression on the nerve root. If you have a history of bulging or slipped disks, we will probably refer you to see a physiotherapist.

The simplest remedy is to lie on your side, opposite of the pain. This may help relieve the pressure on the nerve. Avoid heavy lifting and minimize standing for long periods of time.

If you experience pressure while standing, you can try elevating one foot and resting it on something.

Try your modified yoga or Pilates stretches for the buttocks, as this will undoubtedly relieve the pressure on the nerve.

Swimming may also ease discomfort.

Your massage therapist will be able to relieve the discomfort at least temporarily as well as give you postural advice and coping mechanisms to take home!

(Sources: American Pregnancy Association; Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 3.)

19th May 2016