Drug-Free Treatments for Sciatica during Pregnancy

29 January 2016
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Sciatica is a common complaint during pregnancy. As the growing fetus puts pressure on the lower spine, you might experience pain, tingling and numbness of your lower back. This discomfort can radiate to your hips, legs, and even your feet. While painkillers can often alleviate pain caused by sciatica, most pregnant women prefer to avoid the use of pain medications. Here are some ways that you might be able to treat your pain without using prescribed drugs. Remember to talk to your obstetrician before trying any treatments, as certain maneuvers might not be safe during pregnancy.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can move your legs and back in such a way as to relieve pressure on your lower spine. He or she will also teach you exercises to do at home that can maintain the progress made between sessions. Usually, you will need to see a physical therapist several times, perhaps even regularly throughout your pregnancy. It's important to let the therapist know that you are pregnant and also to speak up if something is causing more discomfort. Contact a representative of a company like St. Luke's Rehabilitation to get started.

Chiropractic Treatments

Some chiropractors are experienced in relieving the discomforts of pregnancy. Gentle manipulation, massage, and heat therapy might be strategies used by your chiropractor. Remember to let him or her know that you are pregnant, as certain types of manipulation might be contraindicated. It's best to ask your obstetrician for a recommendation when it comes to choosing a chiropractic healthcare provider.


Hot baths might relieve sciatic pain, but they are not safe during pregnancy. Instead, try a hot shower or applying a warm compress (a heating pad or a heated rice bag) to your lower spine. Heat can relax the tightened muscles. Many women also find heat soothing in general, and overall relaxation can make you feel less discomfort.

Deep Breathing Exercises

If you can relax all of the muscles of your body, you might experience less pain. Try going through your muscle groups from head to toe, tightening each muscle for a few seconds, then releasing the tension. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose while doing this. By the time you get to your toes, you should feel more relaxed, and your pain might be diminished.


The idea of having needles inserted in your various pressure points might make your cringe, but rest assured that the needles used during acupuncture sessions are extremely thin. Acupuncture is a type of Chinese medicine that can relieve many different ailments. It is often combined with stretching, massage, and electrical stimulation. Speak to your obstetrician about whether acupuncture is safe for you, and be sure to tell your practitioner that you are pregnant.

Homeopathic Remedies

Whether homeopathy works by actually relieving pain or simply by way of the placebo effect, many women find that these remedies are a safe, effective way to relieve discomfort during pregnancy. A homeopathic doctor can tell you which remedies would be appropriate for the type of pain that you are having. Because the remedies contain such a minuscule amount of the active ingredient, they are considered safe during pregnancy. Still, be sure to let your homeopath know that you are expecting and double check with your OB.

Sciatica is a common ailment during pregnancy, but you don't have to just live with the pain until your baby is born. Look into the various drug-free methods of controlling your discomfort, and talk to your doctor about medical alternatives in case the remedies listed do not work. Taking charge of your pain now will help you enjoy your pregnancy and can make delivery and the early days with your infant easier and less uncomfortable.