The sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body. It begins from the lower back, runs down the back of the legs, and finally branches to the feet. It connects the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. Therefore, it is essential for movement and overall body comfort. Sciatica is pain of the sciatic nerve.
Childbirth can be linked to sciatica whereby, the pain is caused by the postpartum experience. Postpartum sciatica must be confirmed through a doctor’s consultation since sciatica may be caused by other factors.
The symptoms of postpartum sciatica will usually be evident anywhere the sciatic nerve reaches but, they are mostly centralized on the lower back. They may include;
- Back pain.
- Sharp pain on a leg’s back.
- Difficulty when sitting, standing, or walking.
- A burning sensation.
- Muscle cramps.
- Numbness and weakness.
- Tingling or needle-like sensations.
If you experience the symptoms mentioned above after childbirth, then you need to seek a professional opinion just to be certain. The doctor will analyze your medical history and will proceed to carry out a physical examination. Based on the results, you may or may not be sent to a spine professional. Sciatica will mostly be diagnosed via CT scans, MRIs, or X-rays but in this case, these will be determined by your childbirth journey.
Causes of postpartum sciatica
Generally, sciatica will originate from several sources that may include; herniated discs, back injuries from trauma, or spinal stenosis. However, sciatica can also come about due to back pain or stress brought by pregnancy. The weight that is added on the body’s front can cause you to shift how you carry yourself, putting a strain on the lower back. The weight can pressure the spine’s fragile nerves.
Suggested article: Understanding Sciatica Vs Herniated Disc
Childbirth can lead to injury or stress as a result of medical intervention or the strain of back labor. Separation of the abdominal muscles after birth can cause the pain. Breech or abnormal baby positioning can also lead to this type of sciatica. Hunching and poor posture can worsen the problem.
Remedies and treatments
The severity of your sciatica is what mainly determines the treatment action. The following treatments and remedies are effective:
- Exercises and physical treatments – These will help in healing and reducing pain. Physical remedies like alternating cold and heat on the affected area will go a long way. You can ease the pain by practicing physical remedies like gentle yoga, stretches, and essential oil massages for pain management.
- Customized postpartum physical therapy.
- Practice good posture– Breastfeed using a straight- backed chair and raise the baby with a cushion or pillow. Keep feet flat. Lift the baby with a straight back and avoid awkward twisting. Have a raised baby changing station.
- Use prescribed pain relievers.
- Surgery- For chronic postpartum sciatica, surgical procedures like endoscopic discectomy or endoscopic laminotomy may be carried out. Surgery is however only used for very severe cases.
Postpartum sciatica can be a very painful experience for recent moms but, we hope that this guide will help you understand the condition and better your mothering journey.
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– Can Stress Cause Sciatica? – The Link Between Stress And Sciatica
– Chronic Sciatica – How You Can Effortlessly Deal With It
– Disability For Sciatica – Is It An Actual Disability?
– What Causes Sciatica Buttock Pain? Find Out With Certainty
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