The sciatic nerve: what is it?

Before pregnancy, we never heard about it… or only vaguely, when a friend talked about his health problems.

But lately, with the extra pounds, you have symptoms that make you wonder, ask questions and look for information… I have lower back pain, pain on only one side and an electric shock sensation in the buttock that sometimes goes down the leg and even in the heel. What is happening to me?

The sciatic nerves are the longest of the human body. They stretch from the lower back (sacrum) to the feet (heels). These nerves can be compressed by the surrounding muscles or inflamed for various reasons. This is what we call sciatica. 

There are three groups of related problems: 

  • Disc herniation, which is an abnormal protrusion of an intervertebral disc.
  • Lower back pain, commonly know as “back strain” or “lumbago” resulting in severe pain to the buttocks and lower back
  • Sciatica is felt on one side of the body, in a buttock and down the leg, all the way to the foot. This pain is often compared with an electric shock. If it is caused by muscular pressure, it is not constant. Indeed, as long as the muscle is not contracted, no pain is felt, then suddenly, ouch! The nervous impulse sends a vivid signal to the recipient cells of the body.

Sciatic nerve-related conditions can be caused by many factors. They can appear: 

  • After a trauma (accident, fall...)
  • If the person adopts a bad posture that results in an inter-joint dysfunction
  • When the piriformis muscle is inflamed (a deep gluteal muscle acting on the pelvis). This is common in people who train poorly.
  • In case of osteoarthritis.
  • During important changes in the body like during pregnancy and delivery.

In most cases sciatica resolves itself after a few weeks but it can reappear if nothing is done to prevent it.

In case of severe pain, you must consult a doctor.

You must: 

  • Practice a sport that does not require torsions or weight lifting. The most recommended is swimming. You should always warm-up before practicing sports.
  • Avoid being overweight
  • Have a good mattress that supports your back
  • Bend your legs when picking something up.

Finally, a highly effective solution in case of sciatica is therapeutic massage. Given by a professional, this type of massage relieves pain immediately and prevents recurrence. 

During pregnancy, we suggest a massage on a therapeutic chair that gives access to the whole back, more specifically to the sacrum and buttocks. We gently work the painful area with repetitive and progressive manoeuvres to warm up the area and target the contracted muscles. 

Don’t let the problem worsen, take some time to take care of it!

Rachel et Hervé Senzeo
Massage therapists

Rachel and Hervé are massage therapists who graduated from the Kiné-concept Institute of Montreal (KCI) in kinetic Swedish massage. They are specialized in massage for pregnant women, chair massage, members of the F.Q.M, Founders of Senzeo massotherapie where they welcome you in the ideal environment to relax. Senzeo massotherapie 6571, Molson Street, Montreal. Phone: 514-764-4255

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