Why is sciatica more prevalent during pregnancy?
The key word here is prevalent- pregnancy is not considered a direct cause of sciatica, and thus we didn’t say, “how is sciatica caused by pregnancy?” However, some explaining needs to be done for why sciatica seems to strike an unusually large amount of pregnant women. The reason is that pregnancy creates a perfect storm of conditions that lends itself to impingement on the sciatic nerve. Let’s take a look at this mosaic in greater detail:
- Activity levels decrease
- Good posture is difficult to maintain
- The added weight of a growing baby
- A shifting center of gravity
- Ligaments loosening (particularly in the third trimester) in the pelvis in preparation for labor and delivery.
- Your abdominal muscles are stretched out on the front side as your belly grows, while the network of muscles that supports your lower back is strained trying to support this unstable system.
It’s no wonder that many women in the third trimester begin to feel the symptoms of sciatica- pain in the lower back, usually limited to one side; shooting and burning pains down the leg; weakness or numbness in the lower extremities. So how can chiropractic remedy this situation?
A new life to nurture
You’ve welcomed your baby into the world and spent the first week adjusting to life as a mother, caring, feeding, and attending to your newborn’s every need. But what about your own body? In order to effectively care for your child, you need to be in a state of balance, physically, emotionally and mentally. In the immediate period after giving birth, you lose about 12 pounds between the weight of the baby, the placenta, blood and amniotic fluid. You will continue to lose weight as you urinate more frequently- this is your body expelling the excess water retained by your cells during pregnancy.
Even then, your belly is not going to shrink on its own! Your abdominal muscles remain stretched out and many women complain that they still look pregnant. A final consideration (some might say primary) is your spine: levels of the hormone relaxin can remain elevated for weeks and even months after pregnancy, which means that your pelvic ligaments are not going to tighten, and instability will still exist at the base of your spine. This is often a cause for the aches and pains of pregnancy to persist even after birth.
It’s so close you can feel it…
The third trimester is a hectic time- while the anticipation reaches its climax, a woman’s body is strained to the max to account for the full weight of the baby. Typical features of the third trimester include:
- Activity slows down
- Frequent urination
- Back pain and general discomfort
- Contractions begin
The third trimester will challenge you physically and emotionally. That’s why we are standing by to provide you with the chiropractic support you need to sustainably manage your pregnancy. Here’s how chiropractic helps women in their third trimesters.
Let’s talk about your weight
At our office in Holmes Chiropractic, education is a part of our mission, and education about weight is something that not everyone is willing to listen to with an open ear. But here’s the thing: maybe you aren’t getting the facts straight from your other doctors. While traditional medicine treats the symptoms of obesity (blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, joint problems) with medication, it leaves the individual short of options for real effective weight management. We believe in the power of your target weight and we will help you do whatever it takes to lower and maintain a healthy target weight that does not overly burden your spine.
When musculoskeletal pain becomes chronic
Chronic pain is defined as lasting for three months or more. The causes of chronic pain are varied, as they can evolve out of an acute injury, or develop as a symptom of an autoimmune disorders. Quite often, chronic pain is an accompaniment of the natural spinal degeneration that comes with aging. As we get older, the vertebrae, joints and discs of our spines become more susceptible to wear and tear; when you combine this with the loss of muscle that naturally occurs with age, you have the perfect recipe for a weakened spine that causes you a lot of discomfort. With an aging population in America, chronic pain is on the rise, and it is wreaking havoc with the wellbeing of our citizens.