There was never any warning when the pain was going to hit. I could be simply walking across the room when suddenly a sharp pain would pierce the lower part of my body (typically the left side of my butt) and my leg would buckle under me. I stood, crooked and motionless, holding my breath and squeezing my eyes shut, waiting for the torture to stop. Finally, the pain would lift and I would begin to breathe again while gasping “SCIATIC.”
Wikipedia defines the sciatic nerve as “a large nerve that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the lower limb. It is the longest and widest single nerve in the body.” So that told me why the pain is where it is. I also discovered that the pain might be due to my expanding uterus and the pressure it may be placing on the nerve. But I was less concerned with why it was happening. I was more interested in making it stop.
I experienced this pain with all three of my pregnancies but the third seemed to be the worst. I spoke to my doctor and asked him what he could recommend to help me. He suggested rotating hot and cold packs. Of course, with two other young children to chase, I was lucky if I had five minutes to sit down to rest. I certainly didn’t have time to switch out hot and cold packs every 15 minutes.
I went through a couple of weeks when I was about six months along where the feeling was so unbearable that it was hard to imagine it ever ending. When I spoke to my doctor again, he talked about physical therapy as a possible option. Luckily, it was shortly after that conversation that it seemed to improve.
I was able to find a way to relieve some of the pain. When the pain would hit, I would sit down and bring my leg up and flat onto the seat where I was sitting while dropping my knee away from my body. I would then straighten my back and lean forward, as if I were stretching that leg (almost like sitting cross-legged with only one leg). For me, that seemed to help.
I have also had friends that have described their pain as a tingling or numbness. Mine was always just a horrible shooting pain, like someone had shot me with an arrow in my butt cheek.