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Thread: Is this my sciatic nerve?

  1. #1

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    Default Is this my sciatic nerve?

    I think my sciatic nerve is giving me some trouble. Not exactly sure if that's what it is, since I haven't had this issue before, but it sounds like what I've heard others complain about. It's a stabbing pain across my lower back/bum, out to my hip, and down my one leg. Some days it's unbearable and I can hardly walk, and other days it's not an issue at all. Does that sound like sciatic nerve trouble to you? And what can I do to help it? Is there a good sleeping position? Sitting positions to avoid? (ie. cross legged, or anything?) An exercise to help relieve the trouble? I could use whatever help or tips you can pass along!
    Thanks!


  2. #2

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    My sciatic is a pain that goes down one side of my butt cheek (although already this far into pregnancy I have it on both sides) and goes down my leg into my calf - and it aches and aches and aches.

    I went to physio today to help - so thats an option for you. Bloody hurts like anything, but its worth it.

    She told me to keep doing some gentle exercises to help stretch the area:-

    1) Lie on your back and bring your knees up and gently swing them side to side - she said one side might be tighter than the other, and thats ok, but just do it gently.

    2) Lie on your back and bring your knee up to your chest, one at a time.

    3) When sleeping, try to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs so it brings your back into line with your hips, instead of rolling forwards.

    And get your hubby to rub your butt There's a spot off the side near where the hip is if he presses on that - hurts like all heck, but it relaxes it.

    Sucks, I know exactly what you are going through.

  3. #3

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    Ah Mel, thanks so much! Funny thing is, I've actually been doing a number of those things, just 'cause they felt good. Yesterday at dinner time I was lying on the floor flat on my back with my knees in the air, rocking them from one side to the other. Nice, eh? Poor DH was trying to get food on the table after working all day, 'cause I was a wreck. And I got him to rub that very spot on my butt, 'cause it felt like it would help, even though it was sore.
    Anyways, hopefully this will help me deal with the bad days. And you have my sympathy as well - it's not a fun time.

  4. #4

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    Ouch Cricket! Yep, definitely sounds like sciatica to me. I get it down my left side and left leg. I think mine is a side-affect of SPD, it's lots of fun .

    I hope you find some relief .

    Oh, and make sure you pop into the belly buddies thread and let us know how you are going!

  5. #5

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    Certainly does sound like the sciatic nerve.

    Great advice Arimeh! I would have suggested just that.

    I recommend tennis balls, you can lie on tennis balls, one under each butt cheek and roll around to find the sore points. This will massage the muscle in the butt which is often responsible for the pain you have described (the piriformis muscle). (The sciatic nerve basically runs from the spine, through your glutes (Butt muscles) and then down your leg. The doozy is that it actually runs through the middle of the pirifirmis muscles in the butt and when this muscle gets tight it can pinch the nerve which causes the pain. Pain in the area of the muscle tightness and in the area the sciatic nerve innervates. The changing shape of your body in pregnancy and the shifts in your pelvis and back can aggravate this muscle.

    So - stretch that glut as Arimeh suggested, massage it as much as you can bear and the sleep position advice is great.
    3) When sleeping, try to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs so it brings your back into line with your hips, instead of rolling forwards.
    It is the hips out of line which really irritates this muscle.

    I really appreciate understanding what is going on visually when I am in pain and if this helps you too you can google "piriformis syndrome pregnancy" (or other variations such as sciatic) to get some more info and if you do a google image search you can see exactly what is going on.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackrose View Post
    It is the hips out of line which really irritates this muscle.
    I often sit with one knee up, and the other folded under me, or with both legs folded with feet to the left. (do you know what I mean?) Is that going to aggravate this problem? It's the side with the knee up (left side) that is painful. What would you recommend for sitting? Is cross-legged OK? Can the chiropractor help me with this?

  7. #7

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    hee hee! If you could see me now... quizzical expression, visualising knees up and legs folded under...

    I am not 100% sure I am following you but it does sound as if that would aggravate your piriformis. Normally it wouldn't be an issue but once you add in the complication of you being pregnant, any little thing can make things worse.

    If you have a Chiropractor that you have been seeing, they would definitely be able to help you. If not, ask around for someone people can recommend. Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physios, Myotherapists or some Massage Therapists would all be helpful, the best thing is to find someone experienced with treating pregnant women or someone recommended by someone you trust.

    ETA:
    sitting for long periods of time is known to aggravate the muscle and pain as is sitting cross legged. The best advice is to sit in a comfortable chair with the best posture you can manage ::. Try to avoid lounge chairs where you sink back into it. It is all about keeping a nice straight back (with good lumbar/thoracic/cervical curve) keeping hips and knees at about 90degrees. Use that old trick of imagining that you have a piece of string going through the top of your head and someone is pulling you up straight by the string. Your hips should roll forward, your sternum (breastbone) should lift forward, your shoulders should roll back and your your head should pivot on your neck to straighten. Straighten up after a big exhale, breathing in as you bring your body into alignment and then breath out again as all of your body relaxes into this new posture. (NB This is a great position to be in to practice your pelvic floor exercises!!) Fit balls can be really good for sitting to help you maintain good posture - but keep in mind they are not perfect.

    For the patient who sits for extended periods of time, their primary cause is due to contracture of the piriformis muscle. In this case the piriformis muscle is shortened and does not allow for the smooth movement of the sciatic nerve during leg motion. A one-time direct trauma to the pelvis is very rarely a cause for piriformis syndrome due to the protection afforded the pelvis by the overlying musculature and fat. The causes of myospasm are many. Over use as during excessive fast walking without proper warm up and stretching (as during exercise), prolonged sitting, as for your treatment, many variables can hamper your successful recovery. Smoking, obesity, job and exercise as noted above in prolonged sitting and not warming up and stretching.

    Any treatment plan must include stretching of the gluteal muscles as well as stretching of the piriformis muscles. Your Chiropractor can help you by instructing you on the proper exercises and stretches to perform. Many Chiropractors may also prescribe some form of massage be performed to the piriformis muscle in the gluteal region in order to relax these muscles.

    Your chiropractor may also prescribe certain herbals remedies such as valerian root and passion flower to help relax the associated muscles during your recovery phase. Spinal adjustment as well as hip adjustment may also be required to relieve your symptoms.
    Last edited by jackrose; April 16th, 2009 at 01:03 PM. Reason: more info

  8. #8

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    Everything suggested above is great. I had sciatic pain from a sporting injury when I was a school and when I had a period it cained!!! But the best thing I found for it (when I was a teenager) was swimming, particularly freestyle. It streches out your muscles and ligaments and helps with the nerve pain. Sounds weird but the more active i was the less it hurt.

    With this pregnancy I am always trying to keep my back, hips and shoulders inline all the time. I like to cross my legs and sit on one on the couch but am teaching myself not to. crossed legged doesn't hurt me, but try out different positions. And yes a chiropractor would help a lot!

    GL

  9. #9

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    I've been trying to sit with better posture, sleep with the pillow between my knees, and do more walking and less sitting, and I have NO PAIN!!!! Hurray! I imagine I will still have some flare-ups occasionally, especially as I get further along, but I wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I feel great!

  10. #10

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    That is such good news! You go girl!!!

    I just love the logic of the human body and the way it can be really simple to sort out when you understand what is going on and what you can do to help!

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