July 04, 2013,
E.D. asks from Bellflower, CA on February 24, 2007
Sciatic Nerve Inury and Pregnancy
Has anyone else out there injurred their sciatic nerve during pregnancy/labor/delivery? When I gave birth to my now 6-month-old daughter, my leg was left numbish and extremely week. It was so bad that I couldn't walk to the bathroom without someone holding me up. After a few days I was able to walk using a walker and had to keep using it for the first couple of months after Felicity was born. Not being able to walk when you have a newborn at home is high on the list of "things I don't need right now!"
I started to regain some of the feeling and strength, but once it wasn't as numb, it was VERY painful. I was up in the middle of the night more than my newborn. I usually couldn't sleep past 3am and nothing helped the pain. When you have a nerve injury, touch/massage/heat/cold only seem to make it worse. It didn't matter whether I was resting or standing. I couldn't even take the nerve pain medication that would normally have been perscribed to me because I was breastfeeding. So I had to survive on Tylenol and Motrin. I would be up in the middle of the night crying on the couch and then my dh would bring me our baby so that I could breastfeed her. I didn't want to have to give up breastfeeding, so we weren't giving her a bottle.
I saw a neurologist, a physical therapist, a podiatrist, and a neurological chiropractor but they only seemed to help slightly. They all told me that the nerve grows back an inch a month. I injurred my sciatic nerve in my hip and I had pain and numbness all the way down to my foot, so there was a long way to go.
Little by little the sensation and strength have been coming back. I'm still weak and limp on my leg and my foot hurts while I'm standing on it. I asked my neurologist last week if he thought that if I had another baby that I would injur it again. He said that some people seem to be prone to it and gave me a 50/50 chance. This was devastating to my husband and I. We had always talked about having more than 2 kids.
Now I don't know what to do. Our daughter is only 6 months old, so we obviously aren't ready to have more kids yet, but when the time comes to talk about it, I don't know what to think. Should I be a marter and risk injuring myself badly again? I could end up in a wheel chair! Should we just be happy with the two we have, like my parents keep telling me? We really wanted a big family. Should we look into adoption?
Have any other moms out there had this experience? Has anyone tried to get pregnant again after injuring their sciatic nerve? Does anyone have any advice?
Thanks for letting me vent and tell my story. Most people don't know what I've been through, just that I hurt my leg. It's nice to have other moms to "talk" to :-)
So What Happened?™
Thanks you everyone for your wonderful advice and thoughtful responses. We're still not quite sure what we'll do about having more kids. We'll just pray about it and decide when the time comes. As far as the pain goes, it's not too bad anymore- my foot just aches at the end of the day. The weakness actually bothers me more. I still can't get up on my toes even when Claire is keeping me on my toes ;-)
S.A. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2007
The same thing happened to me. My daughter is now 10 yrs old and every couple of years I sit or twist wrong and cannot move for a couple of days. Otherwise it gets better but it always feels a little 'off'. The doctor was confused and the chiropracter made it worse so I just live with it. It hasn't stopped me from doing anything but I try to be more careful because it's very scary when I can't move and I can't imagine being like that forever. Stretching seems to help. I was never able to get pregnant again so I don't know what to say about that. Sorry for not having better news for you. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
M.E. answers from San Diego on February 25, 2007
i don't know if this is helpful but i have heard good things about acupuncture and sciatica.
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K.L. answers from San Francisco on February 25, 2007
I also injured my siatic nerve while pregnant, and let me tell you, know one but someone that has also injured their siatic can understand what excrutiating, debilitating pain it causes. It infilitrates every part of your life: you cannot sit, stand, lay, move, or walk without pain. It is difficult to take care of oneself with this type of injury, much less a newborn and/or other children as well.
I was 6 months pregnant when my siatica started acting up: I was the manager and head teacher of a private, special education preschool that required me to do alot of heavy lifiting. I had initially thought that I had just badly injured my back, and took a few days off work. After a week, the situation had only gotten worse, and my OB referred me to a neurologist - I was then diagnosed with a badly pinched siatic nerve. I attended prenatal yoga classes: they didnt help. I saw a massage therapist, a chiropractor, a physical therapist - anything for a little bit of relief. Because I was currently pregnant, I could NOT take anything but simple over the counter tylenol - and that did nothing to help my pain. Every day was a struggle to make it to work, to try to function - and as my pregnancy went on, the pain got worse. Not only did my back hurt, but now all the muscles on my left side, including leg, foot, hip, shoulder, arm all hurt because of my body trying to compensate for my pain. I wasnt sleeping, because it was so uncomfortable to do so.
Finally, as a last ditch effort, my doctor suggested that I visit an acupuncturist. Now, I was very skeptical at first: I have several degrees, and work in an environment where modern medicine and treatment holds paramount, always. But, when you are in severe pain, you will try anything. And, by God, the acupunture worked!
It by no means provided instant or complete relief, but over time, my pain dimished enough for me to feel half good again, and I was able to return to work and function until the end of my pregnancy. Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to have that epidural needle put into my spine when I went into labor. LOL.
I continued to have some pain after the baby was born: I breastfed, and so could still not take any stronger pain medication, but the actupuncture really helped after I didn't have the baby weight pressing on my siatic nerve. It lasted for several months after my daughter was born, and the acupuntcture really helped to help dimish the pain quickly, without medication.
I would suggest looking into actupuncture in your area: my acupuncturist actually worked in tandem with my OB office and was a subscriber to my insurance - call your insurance company and see if they have any acupunturists on their list. Its such a widely used service now that most large insurance carriers will pay for most of it! Even if your insurance will not pay, I suggest you go anyway - anything for relief.
My siatica still acts up, and is much more "touchy" than it was before the pregnancy. But it is NOTHING in comparison to what it was before. I have only one child, and plan on having more in the future: now I know that I DO have pain relief options if my siatica acts up again.
I hope this helps. I urge you to look into the acuptuncture, and at least give it a try. If it doesnt help you, at least you know you gave it a shot. It doesnt hurt one single bit: there is no blood, no discomofort, and I found the break relaxing in itself.
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H.W. answers from Las Vegas on February 25, 2007
First, let me say, I'm sorry that you're going through this. When I got pregnant with my son (2nd child)I, too, had problems with my sciatic nerve, but it wasn't nearly as bad as you've described. I was sent to physical therapy throughout my pregnancy. And it did help, but the pain was still there. After having my son, the pain gradually went away, but it took several months. Occassionally, I still got those shooting pains all down my leg, even after almost a year. It did recede though, eventually. When my son was 3, we got pregnant again. Now I'm sure everyone is different, but with my last pregnancy, the pain came back with a vengance. There were days that I would stand up and almost fall over because of the pain. I had trouble walking, sitting, laying, everything. And this time, nothing seemed to help me, like you. While in the delivery room, my nerve was damaged further, to the point of losing feeling in my leg for several days after I had her. My daughter is now 10 months old, and the pain has since gone away again. My advice to you is to wait it out and see what happens. Like you said, you aren't ready for more kids yet, so you should just take it one day at a time. If the pain eventually goes away, assess how much you want more children. Sometimes, it's worth the risk. It was for us. (we had several other issues with our 2nd pregnancy as well as the sciatic problems) Your body will tell you if and when you're ready to have another baby. And as you mentioned, there are always other options if you aren't able to carry another child. Just take it one day at a time. For now, focus on getting yourself back to "normal" and on the beautiful children you have. Everything will work itself out, one way or another. Good luck and I hope you feel better and better each day. Take care.
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C.N. answers from San Luis Obispo on February 25, 2007
I have had sciatic nerve problems on and off all of my life, the pain is quite sharp, so I empathize with you. I don't think that the nerve has to grow back from your hip to your foot, I think that it is damaged in one spot, and that part has to grow back, or heal.
My mother had that problem when my brother was born, and he is 64 years old now. She never had anymore children, but that wasn't the cause, and her case was not as severe as yours.
Really, just a thought, maybe you should put the 3rd child dream up for a while. I had to do that and it turned out that two was enough because of other circumstances. But I, again, know how you feel and the depth of yur desire to have a third child. So good luck on that one and the sciatic pain, maybe the scientists will find a way to help you. Medical breakthroughs are happening every day, it seems.
Just get through this one and save the other decision for a while, God will guide you, just be sure that you open your mind and listen.
Carry on and enjoy your babies, C. N.
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D.C. answers from Fresno on February 25, 2007
I probably wouldn't risk carrying another pregnancy yourself. I've had that pain before and having kids to take care of ... well, you know you can't be the mom you need to be. I would recommend adoption, or finding a surrogate who could carry your child for you. Whatever you decide, I wish you tons of luck and pain-free days!
G.V. answers from Las Vegas on March 06, 2007
I am a doctor of chiropractic. Sciatic nerve pain is very common during and after pregnancy. My advice is to seek the help of a chiropractor. I attended school in Whittier and know some good doctors around your area if you need a referrral.
K.M. answers from Honolulu on February 25, 2007
So funny this should come today, while I am having "an episode" as we call it. I damaged my sciatic nerve during my twin pregnancy and they will be 3 next week. Once they were born it improved but I still have episodes evey 3 mos. to as often as every two weeks of 1-2 days where I can do nothing but lay in bed and hope it gets better. My doctor says this is as good as I can expect it to get. I've lost some weight which has helped. I've had all the meds, and really the stronger stuff doesn't work any better than the weaker OTC med you are taking now and they just make you sleep through it (which can be a blessing). You are right, massage doesn't fix this, either. I have had some relief from tiger balm and heat pads, just enough to get me through the day. But before I moved I had acupuncture (there isn't an office close to me now)and got some relief from it. It is worth trying since it seems others have had success with it.
K.A. answers from Des Moines on July 04, 2013
Hi there. I know this post is extremely old, but reading it is like reading a version of my own life...an EXACT version. My baby is now 5 months old and I still having the burning nerve pain in my foot with patches of numbness and zero strength in my toes. I'm desperate to know how you are now and if you recovered fully or not and if so, how long did it take. I'm a police officer and my career relies on the use of my foot. I struggling to deal with life every day as I've lost the ability to look after my baby or my 13 year old properly and have concerns about my future. I've never come across anyone with the same issue and I truly hope this email notifies you that someone has replied to your post even though its 5 years later. I hope you are well and am praying I hear from you soon. X