Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy
Sciatic nerve pain is common during pregnancy, but finding relief can be a challenge. Learning different exercises to combat the pain can make pregnancy much more enjoyable.
During pregnancy, women experience sciatic nerve pain when the growing uterus presses against the sciatic nerve or when the pelvic bones put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve pain is usually a shooting pain across the buttocks and down the leg. This type of pain can range from mild to severe. Exercise can encourage the uterus to lift off the sciatic nerve, and can strengthen the muscles supporting the back.
Get down on your hands and knees, back parallel to the floor. Slowly allow your stomach to sag down. Then, as you tighten the muscles in your abdomen and bottom, raise your back up, so that it is arched. Gradually return to starting position. Work your way up to 200 of these pelvic rocks, spread across one to four sessions throughout the day. This exercise helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, relieves stress from the back and helps the uterus move up and away from the pelvis, lessening pressure on the sciatic nerve. This exercise is especially helpful just before sleeping; move from pelvic rocking to lying on your left side to sleep.
To stretch and strengthen the muscles of the hips and thighs, sit on the floor with your legs bent at the knees and the soles of your feet together. Lean forward slightly to relieve pressure on your back; you may find it more comfortable to place a pillow under your stomach. You can also do tailor presses: using your hands to provide gentle resistance against your knees, flex your knees up slightly, then down slightly. This helps strengthen the inner thigh.
Sitting Reverse Crunches
Strong abdominal muscles help support the back and keep the uterus supported. For a sitting reverse crunch, sit in a firm chair; sit slightly forward so you have room to lean back. Place your hands on your knees and round your back, slumping forward. From this rounded position, lean back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage. Roll your shoulders further forward, feeling a contraction in the abdominal muscles. Move slightly forward until the muscles disengage. This constitutes one crunch. Repeat, working up to at least 25 crunches twice a day. Be sure to keep the back rounded so that you are only using your abdominal muscles, not your back muscles.