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Sciatica During Pregnancy

Imagine the surprise a woman must feel while dealing with the physical symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy, to suddenly develop severe back pain. This is not the usual low back pain that is often experienced during pregnancy; it is sciatica. This sharp, shooting pain usually starts in the buttocks and radiates down the back or side of the thigh to the calf and possibly the heel. There may be paralyzing numbness, in addition to the pain, which can be severe enough to limit mobility.


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As you can see, there is a trend here... in nearly every case, muscle imbalances are the primary cause of the pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve.

Back pain is a major problem these days for people all over the western world. It has been estimated that at any one time 20% of the population suffer from lower back pain and that doesn't take into account all the other forms like sciatica, upper back pain, mid back pain and neck pain. It is a huge interruption in a sufferers day to day life and costs the world billions of dollars in productivity.

When you have an injury to a muscle, both strength and flexibility are compromised, and if your recovery ends before strength and flexibility return, you will never be 100% and will likely struggle with the problem forever.

??? Bedrest may be necessary at times. ??? See your physician if the pain becomes unmanageable. Sciatica is unique to a pregnancy and may gradually disappear on its own. Just because you had sciatica in one pregnancy does not mean it will appear in a subsequent one.

??? Swimming and walking are excellent exercises if not contra-indicated by the physician. ??? Avoid walking on an incline as this can cause joint irritation and lead to problems.

One last point, sciaitic pain is not caused by a lack of prescription medications so don't think that taking some anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants will fix it... it won't! Also, many people are able to eliminate sciatic pain within days just by performing a few exercises and stretches... but not general exercise... the exact corrective exercises and stretches they need to do.

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome are the same condition... it is just that the medical community is starting to call the condition by the muscle (Piriformis) that is involved and getting away from calling it by the name of the nerve that is involved (sciatic) nothing more than semantics.

??? Williams Exercises have been developed specifically for use during pregnancy. They may temporarily relieve sciatica pain as they help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, the back and abdomen.

Sciatic pain comes about either due to a traumatic event, muscle imbalances, or a combination of both. The event scenario is most likely the catalyst for sudden onset of sciatic pain. So what happens... when there is undue stress on the Piriformis muscle that stress causes it to go into spasm and then you have pain due to the Piriformis muscle putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

The other way sciatic pain creeps into your life is due to your lifestyle and habits, and that is what we like to call the process. The process can be described as a prolonged onset of symptoms based on your everyday activities...

In most cases, medical history is able to identify patients that are likely to have a herniated disc. Sciatic pain is superficial and localized. It also gives a feeling of numbness or tingling. It aggravates when pressure is applied between discs.

A physical examination and the medical history of the patient are very important for diagnosing sciatica. The doctor needs to eliminate normal back pain or lumbago before proceeding for sciatic nerve treatment. There is always a possibility that a difference in lengths of the two legs may cause pain in the lower back.

So how do you get rid of your pain? Will learning one new stretch be enough? It very well may be. However depending on the severity of your condition you may need to change your activities of daily living to include new stretches, new exercises that include the use of the hip rotators like roller-blading, basketball, tennis, etc, and even better, specific corrective exercise specific to your situation... like those covered in our video. As always, learn as much as you can about your condition, so that you can ask the tough questions to your healthcare providers and get the best care possible.

There are several self assessments you can perform to help identify which specific muscle imbalances you have and these are covered in our Lose the Back Pain Video along with step-by-step instructions on what to do to eliminate your imbalances and pain. You can learn more by visiting http://www.losethebackpain.com

What are the causes behind the pain of sciatica? Sciatica is usually associated with compression of the sciatic nerve due to a slipped or a herniated disc. A degenerative disc disease is a condition that is brought about by the ageing process. The sciatic nerve is sometimes pinched by the piriformis muscle that is located deep in the buttocks. Sciatic pain can also be caused by conditions that are not related with disc. Bad postures can also lead to pseudo sciatica, a pain that is similar to sciatica.

Physical examinations include the following procedures. * The patient may be asked to lie down, face upward and the affected leg is then raised to various heights. * The doctor may also ask the patient to rotate the hip joint. Pain caused by these movements can often help in pinpointing the location of the pain and assessing the hip muscles. * Testing the strength of bending backward of the ankles and toes can also indicate the position where the nerve is likely to be pinched. * Another test used by many doctors is the reflex of your ankles.

There are various back pain relief measures both natural and pharmaceutical available. Chronic and severe back pain may require temporary medication to allow the acute back pain to settle. However if you take a natural healing approach along with the medication, you should get a better longer lasting result.

Some natural steps for back pain relief are: Lose Weight - Try to stay slim. If you have excess weight on your upper body, it will overload on your back. Practicing yoga or tai chi are natural ways of back pain treatment that can also assist with weight loss.

2. Another example is runners and bikers who actually work very hard tend to get sciatica because they fail to keep a strength vs. stretch balance in their workouts. Hence the imbalance creates a greater pull toward external rotation and the result is a tight Piriformis and an irritated sciatic nerve creating pain.

Symptoms such as a disability in walking suggest nerve root compression. In cases symptoms that are severe enough to consider a surgical intervention the physical examination is mostly followed by other investigative procedures. To confirm any doubts the physician might ask for, the doctor might perform any or all of the following tests:

As the pregnancy develops, the abdominal tendons and ligaments become looser to prepare for childbirth. The backs of some women become quite unstable and prone to injury. Medical evaluation should always be sought. In some cases, sciatic pain is due to pressure on the nerve that is caused by damage to the disc between the vertebrae of the spine. This creates inflammation and pain and requires specific treatment.

Most physicians avoid prescribing medications for pregnant patients suffering from sciatica but there are several steps that can be taken to relieve or decrease the discomfort. This includes:

Sciatica can occur at any time in a normal pregnancy but it is most common during the second and third trimester, when the baby is larger and carried lower in the abdomen. Known as Pregnancy-Related Sciatica, it is caused by the pressure of the baby on the sciatic nerve. This is the largest nerve in the body, about the diameter of a finger. Its fibers branch off the spinal cord at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra (L4, L5) and the first few segments of the sacrum.

??? Massage to reduce muscle tension. Some experts believe that tightness in the gluteus and psosas muscles contribute to sciatic pain. Treatment once or twice a week can help relieve stress on weight-bearing joints.

However, from a technical stand point the process really describes the development of the muscle imbalance in your hip. The Piriformis muscle is responsible for external rotation (moving your leg so your feet point outward). So over time that muscle gets tight from the positions you put your self in and weakens from lack of use.

??? Maintain proper posture and try to stand straight. ??? Wear flat shoes or ones with a very low heel. Avoid shoes that throw your weight backwards.

 
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3. Pressure caused by Isthmic spondylolisthesis which is simply when a vertebrae slips or moves... this can sometimes pinch the sciatic nerve but often times people who have this condition don't have any pain, symptoms, or even know they have it!

Did you go see your primary care physician and get diagnosis of Sciatica only to have them refer you to an orthopedic specialist and than get a diagnosis of Piriformis Syndrome... and than be told to see a Physical Therapist and the PT tells you a little heat, ultra sound, electrical stimulation and some therapeutic exercises and we will have you good as new???

Massage - Massage a common choice for people trying to get relief from back pain. It also acts as great stress reliever. But if you have acute back pain, do consult a skilled back pain therapist before going for a massage.

Back pain is caused by numerous reasons, primarily muscle imbalances from injury, diet, obesity, posture, exercise and more. Back pain treatments vary depending on the diagnosis of your pain and can vary from a passive mobilization, to drugs all the way to surgery .

Find out what's causing your sciatic pain and learn exactly which exercises and stretches you should be doing by watching our Lose the Back Pain Video. Order your copy now online at http://www.losethebackpain.com

Sciatic pain is simply caused by pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve and there are primarily four things that can create this... you may have one or more of the following:

??? Try to avoid significant weight gain. ??? Try sleeping on a firm mattress, lying on one side. A pillow rolled up under the knees may be helpful.

Diagnosing sciatica is a complex procedure. Since the pain can be indicative of other conditions as well, it is also necessary to rule out more serious conditions like infection or cancer. Sciatic is a progressive disease that can immobilize the patient to a great extent. Sciatica alternative remedies like exercises, yoga and acupuncture can be very effective to stem the progress of a highly developmental condition. On the first signs of pain in the lower back an examination by a specialist is highly recommended.

??? Moist heat alternated with ice packs ??? Chiropractic treatments may be helpful. Be sure to select a practitioner experienced in treating prenatal patients.

There are certain other techniques like yoga, exercise, massage acupuncture and chiropractic that prove to be effective back pain treatments for some sufferers. Others prefer to take medication prescribed by their doctor to lessen the irritation of back pain but they are not good for health. Adopting the natural approach to get back pain relief is therefore considered to be the most sensible approach to take if you can find someone skilled enough to do the job.

In most cases, people go to physical therapy or minimize their physical activity to break the pain - spasm cycle and in most cases your symptoms subside. However...the event will also set you up for a life time of sciatic pain if the Piriformis muscle does not recover 100% in both strength and flexibility.

If you're reading this article, it's a good bet that you have a radiating pain running down the back of your leg that just won't go away. If what I'm about to tell you sounds familiar, don't worry, help is on the way.

Sciatica is one type of back pain affecting a large number of people these days. It is characterized by pain in the hip and buttock region and sometime includes referred pain down the leg. This can go down one or both legs into the thigh, calf, ankle and foot. Stretching is often prescribed for back pain and sciatica but rarely provides any lasting relief .

About the Author:

Paul G Miller is a Ft Lauderdale chiropractic therapist who has worked with individuals with back pain problems for seven years.
If you would like to receive a free weekly newsletter on back pain relief visit www.usspinecare.com and also to get more in-depth information.

4. Pressure caused by a herniated or bulging disc. A herniation is when a disc protrudes out from between the vertebrae and this can either be caused by an event like a car accident, or, by months or years of uneven pressure due to muscle imbalances. It is also important to note that many people with herniated discs don't even experience pain or symptoms, and many don't know they have the condition.

Eat Healthy - Vitamins and minerals are important for your overall health. So, try to eat as much healthy food as possible to help get rid of stress in your body and get relief from back pain.



Article courtesy of http://www.losethebackpain.com. Get the facts on sciatic nerve pain that your not getting from your doctor... free access to back pain articles, information, and research.

These are just two examples of how muscle imbalances can affect the Piriformis muscle and cause Sciatic pain. You may not be a runner or cyclist but I'll bet you have muscle imbalances that are causing your sciatic pain!

Recovery Tip: In severe cases, the sciatic pain can run from the top of the hip to the bottom of the foot. It is very important to recognize that changes and shifting of pain is often times a sign of improvement. Further more as a way of gauging recovery, take note of how far down the leg the pain goes. If the pain goes to the foot one day and then only makes it to the calf and then to the knee and then it can only make it to the hamstring that is a sign of improvement. You should feel good about those noticeable improvements and this should give you encouragement to keep working toward a full remission of pain.

??? When getting out of bed, try rolling onto your side first, letting the weight of your feet and legs dangling over the edge of the bed, pull your body into a sitting position. This puts less stress on the lower back, helping you to avoid triggering a painful muscle spasm.

If this is the path you have been down and you're tired of all the worthless treatments that just don't work, you must read this article! I guarantee you, it will likely be far different than what you have read or heard anywhere else!

To learn more about muscle imbalances and how they affect your body, please read our article "Aches, Pains, and Injuries" which you can find on our website here: http://www.losethebackpain.com/achesandpainsarticle.html

* X-Rays * Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) * Computed Tomography (CT) Scan. * Electromyography - passing an electric current through a nerve to record the electrical waves associated with the activity of skeletal muscles. * Myelography - X-rays done after injecting a contrast medium into the space between vertebrae.

1. Pressure caused by shortening and tightening of the piriformis muscle. This is almost always due to months or years of muscle imbalances in the hip rotator muscles.

First, let me tell you why today's traditional treatment methods just flat out miss the boat. The medical community is so conditioned and focused on treating only the symptoms and trying to get in as many patients a day as possible, that many people are misdiagnosed and/or mistreated.

If you are not sure which one of the four is causing your sciatic pain, I recommend you start with the basics. Most cases of sciatic pain are caused by muscle imbalances so if you begin to work on correcting any muscle imbalances you have, you should start to see improvement right away.

2. Pressure caused by spinal stenosis, which is a decrease in the space between the vertebrae. This is primarily caused by uneven pressure and compression due to muscle imbalances.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean: 1. If you sit on the edge of your chair with you legs separated and your feet pointing outward you are keeping your Piriformis muscle in a shortened position and that's how it gets tight and with extended sitting in that position, it gets weak form lack of use. Hence the imbalance.

In addition, these helpful habits may decrease the chances of developing sciatica: ??? Avoid hours of sitting slumped at a computer or standing with a baby on one hip. Both can contribute to lower back pain.

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