Pregnancy

5 best sciatica exercises to relieve back pain during pregnancy

We have noticed in our Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Support Group a lot of mums-to-be ask the question, ‘what can I do to help relieve back pain during pregnancy?‘.

Well, to help, we have reached out a team of experts at Spine and Posture Care and this is what they have to say. 

So, make yourself a Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie, sit in a comfortable position and get ready to learn about the 5 best sciatica exercises to relieve back pain during pregnancy. 

5 best exercises to relieve back pain during pregnancy

5 best sciatica exercises to relieve back pain during pregnancy

Back pains vary according to their intensity or length of sickness.

Over-the-counter medicine can help relieve some back pain, while sometimes a few good stretches and exercises can do the trick.

Sciatica is one of the types of back pain that is easy to identify and respond swiftly to home remedies. You might want to try these pains relieving home remedies before speaking to your doctor.

PLEASE NOTE: It is always best to see your doctor regarding medication for pain before use/consumption, especially when pregnant.

What causes sciatica nerve pain

Sciatica nerve is the longest nerve in the body; it is usually located at the left and right legs and travels down both those legs, all the way into the feet.

This is the reason why symptoms of sciatica nerve pain are felt in the thighs, legs, buttocks, and feet.

Sciatica nerve pain is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The most distinctive symptom of sciatic pain is that it radiates from your lower back into the thighs or sides of your legs; the intensity of the pain varies from mild to severe aches. You may also experience numbness, tingling or weakness in your leg and foot. 

Sciatica pain in pregnancy

Sciatica pain in pregnancy is not out of the ordinary, in fact about 50- 80% of women experience sciatica pain during pregnancy.

Sciatic pain is usually as a result of lumbar spine problems, such as herniated or bulging disc, it may also be caused by bone spurs and spinal stenosis, these situations put pressure on the nerve causing symptoms.

Extra pounds can put pressure on your spine; overweight and pregnant women are more prone to getting a herniated disk, pregnant women typically add as much as 15-35 pounds during pregnancy.

Some symptoms of sciatica pain during pregnancy include:

• Difficulty walking, standing or sitting

• Numbness or weakness in legs or foot

• Pains on one side of your buttocks

Exercising and stretching help improve static pain by decreasing muscle tension and increasing movements in your hips, back, and legs.

No matter what, stay in motion. Staying in motion will help reduce the inflammation causing pain.

Inactivity increases continuous irritation. Sciatica pain will only get worse without exercising or stretching.

Below are few exercises that will help ease back pains during pregnancy.

1. Table Stretch

This exercise is great and helps stretch muscles in your back, buttocks, and legs. It targets the muscles in the low back, hamstrings, and spinal stabilizer; it gives instant relief to the body.

  1. Facing a table, part your feet, with your hips slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Lean forward, place your hands on the table, ensure your arms are straight and your back flat.
  3. Pull your hips as far away from the table as possible, stop when you feel a stretch in your lower back and hips.
  4. Move hips from side to side to increase the stretch.
  5. Hold this position for few seconds to a minute.
  6. Repeat as regular as possible

2. Sitting Spinal Stretch

This stretch will help create space in the spine to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. It targets the lower back.

  1. Sit on the floor with legs extended straight and your feet flexed upward.
  2. Bring your right knee towards you, place that right foot flat on the floor on the outside of your left knee.
  3. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.
  4. Gently move your body towards the right.
  5. Hold for few seconds, repeat three times then switch sides.

3. Forward Pigeon Pose

This pose is a common yoga pose that has been modified for the pregnant woman; this exercise targets the hip rotator and flexor muscles. You would need a yoga block or a substitute of a rolled up towel.

  1. Get your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Gently slide your right knee forward so it’s between your hands.
  3. Slide your left leg back, keeping your foot faced up on the floor.
  4. Place the yoga block or rolled towel under your right hip this will make the stretch easier and make room for your belly.
  5. Hold for a few seconds, repeat, switching sides. Repeat a few times throughout the day

4. Child Pose

This exercise opens up the spine, with this exercise you relieve the stress caused by the weight of the baby. The child pose is the simplest, easiest and highly effective excise.

  1. With your face to the ground, slightly part your feet, with your toes to the ground and foot upwards.
  2. Stretch out both arms as far as possible until you feel a nice stretch.
  3. Make sure your big toes are touching each other.
  4. Nestle your tummy between your thighs.
  5. Gently lower yourself face down to the ground with your arms outstretched.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat as many times daily

5. Knees rocking

This exercise uses the thighs as levers; its gentle rocking disperses discomfort of the inflammation caused by bone-to-bone contact. It targets the tissues and joints in the lower back and legs.

  1. With your back to the ground and face faced up. Lift up legs slightly apart with knees facing you.
  2. Cross your right foot over the left.
  3. Place your hands on your knees.
  4. Rock knees side to side slowly and gently.
  5. Repeat as many times a day.

There is no one-size-fits-all exercise for pregnant women suffering sciatica pain. Your body and pregnancy journey is unique. Exercise with care, if you feel unusual pain, get clarifications from a certified Chiropractor or healthcare practitioner. This exercise is targeted at making you feel better, if they do the opposite, stop them. If symptoms persist, see your chiropractor for professional counsel. Stay safe.

Author Biography – John Mills 

Dr. John Mills is the content manager at spineandposturecare.com.au for last 4 years. He has the passion about writing new issues involving human health and giving away all the solutions in the articles by consulting specialist for proper guidance. He uses all the past experience in exploring new ways to better the lives of those are facing problems in back and spine. 

30 weeks pregnant woman exercising at home. Exercising on exercise mat and working stretching exercise.

For more information relating to pregnancy, health and fitness read the The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Group Q&A Summary – Nikki Boswell, Fitness Expert.

Are you currently pregnant? Then you should try our yummy Healthy Mummy Pregnancy smoothie.

pregnancy smoothie

The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie is designed to complement, not replace, your prenatal vitamin intake. Our nutritionists ensured that the vitamins and minerals in the smoothie are at a low level so there is no risk of doubling up on any pregnancy vitamins.

It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy. You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here.

To purchase yours, click here.