Pregnancy Sciatica

During the last few months of pregnancy, as the baby grows more rapidly and the pelvic joints begin to relax to accommodate birth, expectant mothers may experience back pain and sciatica that can range from a minor discomfort to an exhausting, crippling condition.

Sciatica may be causes by the weight of the pregnant uterus, altered posture to compensate for altered shape, fatigue leading to poor posture or other factors such as softened, relaxed pelvic ligaments due to the presence of progesterone and relaxin in the body.

The pain is often worse at night and there is little western medicine can offer for relief aside from back exercises and advice about proper posture.

From the Chinese medicine standpoint, pregnancy sciatica is due to stopping of Blood and Qi (energy). Strain can weaken the back muscles, and exposure to cold can wear on the immune system, making the mother more susceptible to ailment and injury.

Acupuncture is one of the few safe and effective treatments for pregnancy sciatica. First, the acupuncturist determines whether the pain is acute or chronic. Severe pain that gets worse with rest but improves with light exercise and tender to the touch is connected to the stagnation of Blood and Qi. A large area of pain could indicate an invasion of Cold or Dampness or a constitutional deficiency. By identifying the blocked meridian, or energy channel, acupuncture can help to Qi flow and resolve the condition.

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