Severe sciatic nerve pain! Help!

posted 3 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 3
657 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@Adeline4:  go see a PT, never been pregnant but I have SI joint dysfucntion which is what most pregnant ladies get due to ligaments relaxing. Basically your SI joint is out of whack (my pelvis was twisted) cause it to press on your nerve and tighten up the gluteal muscles (piriformis mostly) the only thing that helps is to make sure you’re always in alignment, keep great posture (imagine your pelvis as a bucket of water and that you don’t want to spill) and to strengthen the muscles around you joints. My Dr also had me on 800 mg ibuprofen 3 x a day for swelling. Ice packs on your butt/lower back will probably help and when you sleep try to do so flat on your back with 1-2 pillows under your knees so that your lower back is not arched in any way.

My exercises included low impact pilates based exercises, kegels, wall squats, (basically you want to tighten your core) If you look in the mirror does one hip tend to look higher than the other, that’s an almost sure sign it’s the SI joint. Most of the time this goes away after pregnancy but the fact remains that you probably have weak core muscles and should tend to that. I dealt with that pain for about 6 months before I sought help and about about 3 months after the fact. Since I had let it go on pretty long my muscles were basically zilch which is why it took so long for me to start feeling better. I now weight train (did barbell squats yesterday) and jog, my muscles are still tight but I pretty much do what I want and stop when I feel anything pulling. Hopefully this will go away with pregnancy but just in case I wanted to give you extra information, if you have any questions feel free to ask. Sorry this is so long but I know how painful it can be and just thought anything I can input might help!

Post # 4
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I am almost 39 weeks and around 34 weeks or so I had sciatic nerve pain for almost 2 weeks and it was HORRIBLE.  I hobbled around and could barely walk or sit for long periods of time.  My dr recommended pelvic rocks.  My cousin is also pregnant and has it badly and her dr sent her to a chiropractor and she gets pre natal massages.  I hope the pain eases up for you!

Post # 5
1849 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I’m not nearly as far along as you (I’m just shy of 14 weeks), but about 2 weeks ago, I started having sciatic pain. My left hip would go numb, but then be burning/hurting. It then traveled to my back…I was hurting! I would ice down my hip. The other thing that helped was that I purchased a Snoogle. It’s basically a gigantic body pillow, but it provides some great support. That has made a world of difference for me. I actually have feeling back in my hip again, and while I still have little episodes of it (could also just be it coming to an end…I’m being optimistic here :-)), it definitely isn’t anywhere near what it was.

Post # 6
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’m not pregnant but I have horrible sciatica because of a car accident. See if your doctor will prescribe an anti inflammatory medication, that really helps. Otherwise you need to apply pressure on your left back hip bone, even if it hurts. It helps with the pain.


a good stretch is to lie on your back. Put your right leg up in the air, and bend your Knee. Then rest your left ankle on your right leg, and keeping it straight, bull your right leg closer towards you. 

Post # 7
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I feel your pain and really feel awful for you. I’ve been having a really rough time with sciatica the past few weeks too, and I still have a long way to go (i’m 15 wks).  I’ve had plenty of experience with back pain and treatments (as in, ALL of them), and I recently started seeing a new chiropractor. He’s having me ice the low back for 20 min, then off for 1 hr, constantly. And resting. Just walking. No stretches or twisting. The goal is to get the inflammation down and THEN he can work on the adjustments. I HAD been doing heat b/c it felt better, but the ice feels pretty good too and will help reduce the inflammation.

Hopefully you’re already sleeping with pillows between your legs, but if you aren’t, maybe try that for a bit. And I second the stretch with the leg crossed ankle over knee and pulling the leg towards you. That’ll stretch the glutes, which would help release the piriformis if that’s affecting your sciatic nerve.

I bought a maternity belt but haven’t really tried it yet for any length of time. honestly, the one minute I had it on while trying it on? I already felt better. That might be a trick for you. 

Good luck!!! 

Post # 8
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

@Adeline4:  a modifiied piriformis stret?h is ideal for sciatic symptoms. you can also modify the way you sit ( do not let your hips externally rotate, a very common position in pregnancy). I think the?e most important is to see a massage or athletic therapist. you will likely need a soft tissue release done to the muscle in order to decrease symptoms. 


Thw modified piriformis stretch is to lie on your back  take your affected side (left) and bend the knee. place your hands around the back of your knee and pull upwards towards your left shoulder. you should feel resistance and a stretch drom the outside of your hip across one half of your buttocks. if nerve pain increases, decrease the stretch. hold for 30s per rep or until tension decreases 

Post # 9
5445 posts
Bee Keeper

2 suggestions: Blair chiropractic and myofascial release. 

Post # 10
2627 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Adeline4:  Ill add another suggestiont that works wonders for me as I also have sciatic nerve pain.

Foam rolling helps a lot!

Especially the IT bands. It doesnt seem correlated, but it is. When I dont do this my pain flares up. When I do it regularly it is much better!


Post # 11
2690 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I have not tried everything but not much I have tried helps.  I do heating pads when the pain gets bad but i guess I could try stretches too, although they hurt.  I need to see a chiropractor.  There are some great suggestions here.

Post # 12
562 posts
Busy bee

I’m a graduate PT student and think you’ve gotten some really good advice so far. I would recommend lying on your back and doing a hamstring stretch with your leg in the air, stop just before you get the really bad pain, and then pump your ankle up and down several times. Do this maybe 3-4 times per day. This “flosses” the sciatic nerve gently and can greatly decrease pain.


also, do the piriformis stretch described above, and also look up how to do posterior pelvic tilts (basically lie on your back with your knees bent, and flatten your back to the ground using your abs). 


Lastly, get your SI joint checked by a PT. If you do have an SI problem, I would highly recommend Kinesiotaping or an SI Belt just for a temporary solution when you are having the worst pain. 

Post # 13
983 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Commenting to follow. I am only 9 weeks along and the pain in my left side is almost unbearable. I can’t sit, stand up and put too much weight on my left foot because of the nerve at my lower back/butt area. So I DEFINITELY feel your pain. 

Post # 14
1395 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Something that the pt told me was to lay on my left side but then wrap my right leg like a cheese twirl around my left leg and keep the legs sideways whilst letting your back lay flat. It’s an amazing stretch that really does relieve pressure back there!! You can also do it with your right side. 

She also gave me a support band, though honestly I can’t say it’s done loads. It helps more to actually prop my belly up with a pillow at night so that it doesn’t pull on my back.

While laying on your right isn’t the most optimal position for blood flow, I was told that it was fine to sleep on both sides–they only really tell you to sleep only on your left if they feel the baby isn’t growing properly and could do with more blood flow. It’s being flat on your back that’s the ral no-no at this stage. Maybe switching sides will help?


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