Sciatica is literally a pain in the butt. According to the Mayo Clinic , sciatica is “pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve – which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.”
I had a lot of back pain after an accident that I was a pedestrian in, but I never felt anything along my sciatic nerve until the second trimester of pregnancy. I felt a stabbing pain radiating from above my hip all the way down to almost the back of my knee. I had no idea what the pain was and decided to talk to my midwife. After ruling out kidney stones, a bladder infection, and normal pregnancy pains, my midwife referred me to a physical therapist for sciatic pain.
I waited two weeks for my appointment as my pain worsened. I tried a heating pad and massage which would provide temporary relief, but nothing lasting. I also tried stretching and light walking. The stretching would cause immediate discomfort but after holding a spinal twist or a leg raise, the pain would subside for a short while. Walking was difficult. Even short trips around the grocery store were slow and painful. The pain would shoot down the left side of my body and leave me stationary for a few seconds. Tylenol held no comfort for me. I spent most of my time lying in bed or sitting on the couch with my feet up. Sadly, staying in one position for more than a few hours would also cause pain for me. This made sleeping for more than a few hours at a time difficult.
By the time I was able to attend my first appointment, I was walking hunched over and at the pace of a snail. I walked through the hospital entrance and made my way to the hallway that held the physical therapy office. I sat uncomfortably in a chair and filled out a stack of paperwork. When my name was called, the physical therapist helped me out of the chair and to a private room. Due to my pregnancy, there were restrictions regarding what my body could and could not do. I was told to lie on my back (which is usually a no-no) while my knees were slowly brought up to my chest and back down. This was not painless, but I could feel that the movement was helping. I was then told to lie on my right side while the physical therapist worked acupressure points on my neck, back, legs, and feet.
Leaving the physical therapist office I was able to walk in a normal fashion. I wasn’t hunched over and my pace was that of a woman in her second trimester of pregnancy. I continued this same treatment once a week for 6 weeks. My sciatic pain dissipated greatly. I still had a few occasional flair-ups, but keeping up on my stretches helped. I do wish that I had been able to be seen for more acupressure appointments as that was the only thing that seemed to diminish the pain immediately. Once my son was born, my sciatica was not a problem again.