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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are their natural treatments for sciatica?

    I have had sciatic pain since the middle of my pregnancy. I am now in the final trimester and the pain is really bad. I go for regular physio but I'm wondering if there are any natural remedies that can help me
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • John Toomey

    Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer

    I'm a down to earth practising (and fully accredited) Exercise Physiologist based in Esperance, WA. I have been a practising EP since 2004. I've been … View Profile

    It's highly likely the sciatic pain is being caused due to a big change in your posture while you're pregnant. Usually the low back becomes much more curved than normal and this can cause bits of you to press on your sciatic nerve that don't normally. (the pelvis could be tilting forward a heap more than normal, lots of extra stretch on your hamstring muscles at the back of your thigh and also affecting the sciatic nerve and what it runs through).

    If you can improve your posture the sciatic nerve pain will reduce, other ‘natural remedies’ that are not simply masking the pain may include massage, heat packs, activities which assist in reducing the load on your pelvis and low back. Of course, the best solution will be in a few weeks' time when all the extra load disappears… if you fix your posture.

  • Special interest include; Wellnes,nutrition, physical exercise, headaches and sports injuries. My aim is to improve the wellness and health of all my clients. View Profile

    One major issue qith lower back pain or sciatica dutring pregnancy is release of relaxin, a hormone released to increase elasticity of tissues in preperation for the birthing process. This combined with the posture changes, and the fact you have a little person growing inside all contribute. Lack of stability of around the pelvic girdle due to hormones and posture changes all causes increase loads on muscles and ligaments. Chiropractic and physiotherapy are both useful natura techniuqes to reduce lower back pain/sciatica. The effectiveness and how long relief last is hard to predict depending on treatment prescribed and on the level of physical activity/ exercise.

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    Dr Ryan Hislop

    Chiropractor

    Dr Ryan Hislop, Chiropractor is situated in Mudgee with the team from Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. He has a special interest in sports chiropractic … View Profile

    First of all lets look at some reasons for sciatica. Despite the common belief, pregnant women are not any more likely to get sciatica than any other group of the population. There are however, some sciatica triggers that may be induced by pregnancy.

    - As Dr Miller pointed out, Relaxin ( a hormone that relaxes pelvic muscles and joint to help prepare for birth ) may also cause a relaxation in spinal stabalising muscles

    - Uterine expansion causes the abdominal and rectal muscles to be under increased stress, which can limit core stability. 

    - Increased weight in front of the body changes posture (As John Toomey mentioned). This increases the stress on the back.

    Natural treatments are your best option currently. Both chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy are all in this category and a good practitioner will address these issues.

    You may want to find someone that has a speciality in womens health or pregnancy that has a good grasp on the changes that are occuring to your body during this period. You can usually see these credentials in the practitioners profile. If you are not sure who to go to, your best option is to contact the association. 

    Practices like ours often have a group of clinicians who have strengths in areas such as this.

    If you visit www.chiropractors.asn.au and look at the contact page, you will be able to speak to someone that will know who those specialists are in your region. 

    All the best with the next few weeks. 

    Dr Ryan Hislop
    Chiropractor
    www.ryanhislop.com.au

  • Dr Firas Hasan

    Chiropractor

    Dr. Firas is a chiropractor based in Adelaide who is passionate about the spine. His clinic offers a same day appointment and treatment guarantee. Dr. … View Profile

    Sciatica is a very simple condition to treat if the practitioner knows what they're doing and have seen it many times. In our clinic as chiropractors we see patients with sciatica presented to us daily and we can very quickly identify the cause and appropriate treatement. Often the solution is simple and does not take long and the recovery rate is excellent. In most cases the patient can very quickly go about their normal life. Look for a chiropractor with an interest in sciatica who is holistic and has an interest in assessing your feet and spine. 

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    Dr Gary Sykes

    Obstetrician

    Specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist, servicing Norwest Private Hospital, Bella Vista and the Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San), Wahroonga. Extremely affordable. Lots of extras such as free … View Profile

    Sciatica pain is due to compression of the sciatic nerve. In pregnancy this can be caused by pressure of the gravid uterus and in advanced pregnancy of the baby on the sciatic nerve. I once had a gynaecology patient who had severe sciatica and a large fibroid uterus filling her pelvis. I cured her sciatica by doing a hysterectomy.

    So as the sciatica is usually related to being pregnant, it is self-limiting and will cease to be an issue once baby is born. But it can be very severe and disabling while pregnant.

    It can be worse if there is a pre-pregnancy back problem, as this can be exacerbated in pregnancy.

    I refer patients with sciatica to osteopaths, chiropractors and physios. While they usually can’t cure the problem they can help relieve the pain. A good therapeutic massage can help. Sometimes acupuncture can help. Attention to posture, lifting and bending positions can help. Avoid high heel shoes. Wheat heat packs can help. If you are still working I am confident you will feel better when you stop as you can rest more. I prefer minimal use of analgesics as sciatica does tend to be an ongoing problem. Sometimes the pain is so bad that the patient requests an early induction of labour

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    Chiorpactor based in Glen Iris Victoria, Special intrest in family care, pregnancy, chiropractic for children and rehabilitation. Holistic approach to health with addition emphisis on … View Profile

    All great answers from everyone 

    In addition to what has been said and not to repeat everything, as well as getting chiropractic care to aid in your condition, it will also help with your pregnancy in its later stages.  Chiropractic care has been shown in various studies to reduce back pain suffered by pregnant women and reduce labour times.

    Another great modality to support you is having good core strength.  Clinical pilates or “preggie bellies”  training is an excellent activity you can do in conjuction with of chiropractic care

    Dr Craig Skicko
    www.signaturewellbeing.com.au

  • Sandra McFaul

    Physiotherapist

    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    A natural remedy is seeking the help of a trained McKenzie Physio.  They are exercise based and aim to show you exercises to relieve the pain.  You may also need some strengthening exercises both now and once you baby is born.

  • Dr Kal Ientile

    Acupuncturist

    Kal Ientile is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Registered Acupuncturist. His key focus is in pain management and musculoskeletal disorders. Kal received … View Profile

    Many great answers.

    As has been discussed sciatica can be a result of tight muscles pressing on the sciatic nerve. When this is the case it can effectively be relieved by acupuncture. The muscles involved are identified, needled and they relax.

    It is important to note that there are specific points on the body which trigger a release of oxytocin. In the late stages of pregnancy you have more oxytocin receptors than you normally would and the uterus becomes more sensitive to oxytocin. Triggering an oxytocin release can initiate uterine contractions, in fact these points are used to initiate labour.

    I bring this up to point out the need to see a fully trained acupuncturist for sciatica treatment in the last trimester of pregnancy. Dry needling short courses do not always cover this information, knowing where not to needle is just as important as knowing where to.

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