Why is the sciatic nerve injured during pregnancy and how to treat it?
- 1 Symptoms
- 2 The reasons
- 3 Diagnostics
- 4 Treatment
- 5 Forecasts and Prevention
The increase in body weight, the pressure of the growing uterus, changes in hormonal levels – the main causes of the disease. Treatment is hampered by the fact that pregnant women are contraindicated for the most effective medicines, novocaine blockade. The main focus is on massage, medical gymnastics, medicines for external use.
Symptoms of sciatica in pregnant women is characteristic of all cases of this disease. It all begins with a sharp sudden pain in the back and buttock – “shot through.” Then the nerve pain impulse spreads down the entire leg, and numbness and tingling may appear. The intensity of the painful sensations varies from moderate to very severe, up to the inability to move.
If a sciatic nerve is pinched during pregnancy, specific symptoms may appear. They are associated with a violation of the innervation of the pelvic organs, expressed by characteristic inflammation, bladder dysfunction. These conditions may put fetus at risk. Therefore, it is important for expectant mothers to seek medical assistance in a timely manner as soon as the first symptom appears – pain.
In most cases, trauma and inflammation of the sciatic nerve are caused by injuries of the lumbar region, degeneration of cartilage tissue with disc displacement (intervertebral hernia), and the vertebrae themselves. Viral infections affecting the nervous tissue, inflammations of the pelvic organs, hypothermia, and intoxication can also provoke the disease. Chronic diseases, especially gout, obesity, and diabetes, have a negative effect.
All of these factors can cause sciatica in pregnant women, but most often the reason for the pinching of the nerve is a special condition of the woman. The sciatic nerve is infringed during pregnancy, usually in the later periods, for the following reasons:
- Weight gain, especially if it exceeds the maximum allowable for each month of gestation. The increased load on the back and pelvis leads to a change in the anatomical shape of the spinal column, squeezing the intervertebral nerves at the exit.
- The displacement of the center of gravity due to an enlarged abdomen, even if the total body weight is normal. Often exacerbates the situation of wearing unsafe for pregnant shoes on a high platform or heel.
- Features of hormonal, due to which the body is prepared for childbirth. For example, the softening of the cartilage tissue of the pelvic bones, which makes all joints more mobile, respectively, vulnerable, and can lead to displacement.
In addition, the natural limitation of mobility in the last trimester has a negative impact on the health of the musculoskeletal system of pregnant women. A woman with a big belly is much harder to maintain the required level of physical activity. As a result, the spinal muscular corset weakens, therefore it cannot support the spinal column, protecting it from injuries.
Read also … What is dangerous intercostal neuralgia in a pregnant woman and what methods can be used to treat it during gestation
It is possible to identify sciatica on its own according to characteristic signs (pain in the leg from the affected side, limited movement). Additionally, various instrumental examinations are used for diagnostic purposes: radiography, ultrasound diagnostics, radioisotope scanning, MRI.
Not all of them are resolved in case of inflammation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy, because they are potentially dangerous for the fetus. Therefore, diagnostic measures are reduced to a safe minimum, including laboratory tests, tests for various reflexes, and ultrasound.
Therapy also has many limitations related to the position of the woman. The basis of remedial measures for sciatica is usually oral NSAIDs or injections with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They effectively eliminate inflammation, pain, but pregnancy is most often included in the list of contraindications. For example, Diclofenac with Ketoprofenom are prohibited in the 3rd trimester, Indomethacin (even in the form of an external agent) – throughout pregnancy.
Another effective anesthetic – nerve blockade with the use of anesthetic – is also absolutely contraindicated for pregnant women.
If the sciatic nerve during pregnancy pinches in the 1st or 2nd trimesters, the use of nonsteroidal drugs with anti-inflammatory effect is possible. The most safe ointment for external use or rectal suppositories (Diclofenac), special patches (Voltaren).
Prescribe them, like pills, can only the attending physician with all the possible risks. In the later stages, drug therapy is fraught with the development of heart defects in the fetus and other abnormalities, so a safe alternative is used.
Manual exposure is one of the most effective ways to relieve pain, remove vertebral displacement, and activate muscle tone. Most patients are prescribed careful self-massage of the painful areas, including to reduce pain at the time of the attacks.
However, only a specialist should carry out the procedure for pregnant women, since there is a high probability of complications and trauma. Independently to massage at home is impossible.
Special exercise complexes – the best treatment option nerve infringement. For pregnant women, special movements have been developed that exclude harmful effects, while simultaneously returning flexibility to the spine, muscles – tone. In any timeframes, back and forth deflections in the lower back are useful, with an emphasis on the knees and elbows. A positive influence is made by the lifting of the lower limbs (lying on the back), turning the body in different directions while sitting.
Gymnastics for future mothers with sciatica has features. A set of exercises is always selected individually, ready-made sets of movements can be dangerous. The doctor determines not only the type of suitable exercises, but also the duration of the session, its intensity. For physical therapy, there may be contraindications: the threat of premature birth, chronic diseases, pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, you can do it only with the permission of the doctor, preferably under his supervision.
Is the use of alternative medicine for sciatica in pregnant women justified? Like any other treatment, it must be coordinated with a specialist. The most safe and effective can be considered sedentary baths with the addition of salt, warming compresses.
Acceptance of any tinctures, decoctions, other dubious drugs is completely excluded. The feasibility of baths, additives in them must be approved by a doctor. For compresses, it is permissible to use only warm water (burning mixtures with turpentine are not allowed).
Forecasts and Prevention
Since it is more difficult to treat pregnant women for sciatic nerve inflammation due to multiple limitations, the course of therapy may be delayed. Often, sciatica that has arisen at the end of pregnancy due to overloading the spine, he goes away after childbirth. However, going to a doctor and following all his recommendations will help to avoid possible complications.
It is impossible to completely eliminate the pinched nerve in the process of carrying a child with the help of prophylaxis, but it is possible to significantly reduce the risk. What needs to be done:
- at the planning stage, to fully examine, treat all pathologies;
- before and during pregnancy not to abandon moderate sports activities;
- to monitor the gained weight, if necessary, follow a diet;
- do not walk in high heels (above 3 cm);
- avoid injuries, sudden movements, excessive loads.
Responsible attitude to their own health, proper lifestyle, physical culture will help to strengthen the body even before pregnancy. In the process of carrying all these factors in combination with following medical recommendations will be saved from various diseases, including from pinching the sciatic nerve.