Today I was talking to a young woman who is 4 months pregnant, still exercising every day, and having pain in her SI joint, as well as sciatica. She doesn’t have low back pain yet, but with the way it’s progressing, that would be the next thing to begin to hurt. Pregnancy has its own set of rules, and they are important to follow for the safety of the baby, and comfort of the mother.
I’m attaching a portion of the message I sent to her because I think it’s important to share with other expectant moms. This woman already has Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, and she is familiar with the Julstro Protocol, but there are adaptations that need to happen while she’s pregnant.
Her husband is a fitness trainer and a massage therapist (how wonderful!), so I would imagine she already knows some of the things I’ve mentioned, but it’s worth repeating. We started to talk about the pelvis rotation and I said:
Your pelvis is rotating on its own because of the pressure of the baby on your abdominal muscles, which would then cause your pelvis to press up on the sciatic nerve. I think the most helpful thing would be to treat your rectus femoris (quad muscle) and then do the best you can to try to tilt your pelvis back by bringing your sacrum down and your pubic bone up. It’s not the easiest thing to do when you are pregnant, but give it a shot.
Another thing that helps, especially as you are getting bigger as time goes on, is a sling type of strap that goes under your belly and helps to take some of the downward pressure away from your pelvis and low back.
When either you or your husband is working on the piriformis (side-lying, even if you can still lie on your stomach), be more gentle than normal as you could easily irritate the sciatic nerve. Finally, be careful with this treatment because pregnancy can involve blood clots in the lower legs, but it’s okay if your doctor/midwife approves of it. There is a spasm in the middle of the calf (gastrocnemius/soleus) that refers pain right to the SI joint. Apply straight pressure on the spasm (look for it in the Trigger Point Charts section of the book) and don’t move around. Just hold the pressure for 15-30 seconds. This isn’t frequently the cause of SI joint pain, but when it is, nothing else works, so it’s worth the try.
I know that exercise is wonderful while a woman is pregnant, but for safety sake always clear exactly what you are doing with your doctor/midwife. You may need to adapt some of the exercises for a few months.
Wishing you well,