By Dr. Alfred O. Bonati, MD, Founder and Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon, The Bonati Spine Institute, August 2017
Sciatica pain is associated with joints of the sacroiliac and lumbar spine and just the fact that a woman is carrying the extra weight for nine months will produce pressure on the most fragile nerves at L4/L5 or L5/S1. When that pain happens, usually the person already had an injury or degeneration at those levels and the extra weight carried creates more pressure on the disc. If the disc is already partially damaged, it will bulge farther or pinch nerves more on the S1 root. When the weight is removed after pregnancy, there could still be two concerns:
- Lack of strength in the abdominal muscles.
- Once you remove the weight, the discomfort should ease up. But during the delivery, patients with a pre-existing defect, can create a hernia trying to deliver the baby by pushing.
Those two consequences can aggravate sciatica or similar pain. After the weight is removed the muscles are very lax, so it will need time before they become strong again.
This period of time will affect the lumbar spine and the symptomatology of pain is on the back, hip and on the sides or pain on the back, to the butt and the back of the thigh. Very seldom is pain felt on the lower legs. If it goes to the lower legs, then the individual needs to be examined by a professional.
Unless there’s an additional injury during childbirth or a pre-existing condition which was only worsened by childbirth, every one of these problems generally resolves within three months after delivery. Usually, these women are young and can heal faster and get stronger faster.
Exercise can help with these symptoms. A typical exercise would be those which strengthen the girdle and muscles in the stomach. For example, push-ups or similar core strengthening exercises.
Should you or a loved one be experiencing these sciatica symptoms for three months or more, we are here to help. No referral is necessary to be seen by the physicians and staff at the Bonati Spine Institute and our surgeons can complete a complimentary MRI review to determine a proper diagnosis. For more information about this simply call 855-267-0482 or complete our MRI Review.