Sciatica and Pregnancy

Low back pain that goes from the butt to about half way down the leg may be caused by the dysfunction of the sacroiliac (SI) joint.  This is often mistaken for “sciatica” (which is a condition whereby the sciatic nerve becomes compressed- usually by the piriformis muscle and causes pain to refer down the leg).  The two conditions mimic each other because a sacroiliac subluxation can cause the nerves in the low back to be very unhappy and also refer pain down the leg.   The difference is that “sciatica” may travel all the way down the leg.  If the pain doesn’t go past the knee it is probably the SI joint.   This is very common in pregnancy.  Why?  Because the pelvis of the pregnant woman is designed to open up in order for the baby to slide on through.   Hormones like relaxin help the joints to relax, causing the joints to spread open further than usual.  This is good news for the delivery process but perhaps not so good for day to day living.  These hormones cause the joints to be less stable.  Coupled with the increase in pressure on these joints due to weight gain, it is likely for the the joints to become subluxated and inflamed.

The good news is that both of these conditions are fairly easy remedied.  SI joint dysfunction responds quite well to chiropractic adjustments.

A couple of secrets to help the SI joint stay healthy during pregnancy are to avoid prolonged sitting and to increase your stride once a day when taking a walk.  This will help to keep the joint moving and prevent it from getting stuck in an uncomfortable position.

There are other conditions, such as a vertebral disc herniation that can also cause pain to travel down the leg, so it is important to consult with your chiropractor when experiencing these symptoms.