Dealing With Postpartum Sciatic Pain? What Are Your Treatment Options?

If you developed sciatic nerve pain during your pregnancy, you're not alone -- many moms-to-be start to experience a stabbing or burning sensation as the growing baby presses painfully on these nerve fibers. While most pregnancy-induced sciatica resolves itself after you give birth, in some situations you may find yourself dealing with severe back pain and stiffness even months after your child's birth. What are your best treatment options for postpartum sciatic pain? Read on to learn more about this condition and what you can do to gain relief. 

What causes postpartum sciatic nerve pain?

In most cases, severe sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy is caused by the direct pressure of your baby's weight -- once you give birth, this pressure eases and your back pain lessens. However, in some situations, the weight of your baby or the angle at which he or she is positioned is enough to cause one of the discs in your spine to herniate or rupture, leading to radiating pain that persists even after you give birth. In other cases, a shift in your spinal vertebrae could trap a nerve between two vertebrae, causing pain whenever you move or shift positions. If you're dealing with persistent sciatic pain weeks after having your baby, you'll want to visit your doctor for X-rays or an MRI to determine whether there are any structural abnormalities in your spine or pelvis that may require further treatment.

What are your treatment options if you have a pinched nerve or ruptured disc? 

If your X-rays reveal an issue with your spine or associated nerves, you'll have a few treatment options short of surgery. First, you may want to visit a chiropractor for a spinal adjustment to help relieve any pain or pressure you're feeling. Because your chiropractor can examine your X-rays prior to treatment, he or she will know exactly where to focus pressure in order to release your pinched nerve from the discs or bones pinning it into place. You may find that a single chiropractic adjustment is enough to relieve your pain completely.

You may also be able to relieve the pain and pressure of a herniated disc or pinched nerve by engaging in certain physical exercises and stretches. A licensed physical therapist should be able to recommend specific procedures that can help gently guide your spine back into a more comfortable position and reduce the inflammation that's causing much of your pain. 

When should you seek surgery for postpartum sciatic nerve pain?

There are a few situations in which surgery should be one of the first courses of action, rather than the last resort. If you're dealing with regular numbness in the affected area (or even numbness that radiates down your spine into your leg), you may need to seek surgical treatment to avoid long-term nerve damage. Damage to these nerve endings could be permanent and contribute to ongoing back pain for the rest of your life, making surgery a priority. Talk to a medical provider, like, for more help.