5 Tips to Combat Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy

Before you begin a program or regimen to relieve your sciatica, it's necessary that you see your doctor first to understand the underlying cause of your pain.  Sciatica has multiple origins and the tips you will receive here is geared more toward helping you with Piriformis Syndrome and SI Joint Dysfunction, as these are two of the most common causes of pain during pregnancy. This list serves to inform you and guide you to relieving the pain and gaining back your daily function.  If your doctor gives you a list of exercises to alleviate your pain, make sure to follow those exercises fully and ask to incorporate these exercises with that list.

After you understand the root cause of your pain for sciatica, you can begin to address the problem with a mix of stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles.  

1) The first and best thing you can do if your pain is caused by the piriformis is to stretch

      Stretch your glutes (picture on the left).

      Stretch your hamstrings (on the right).

You can do both of these exercises in         a chair once you reach the 2nd and             3rd trimester. 

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        Stretch your quads.  

       

        Stretch your hip-flexors. 

For variations in these stretches, send an email to cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and you will be given stretches that will meet your specific needs. 

2) Fire-Hydrants and Bird-Dog

Fire Hydrants will strengthen your glutes, which will help to prevent sciatica pain. 

Lift one leg bent at 90 degrees while keeping your back straight.  Hold for 3 seconds.  Release slowly back to neutral.  Repeat 20 times. 

 

Bird-Dog is geared toward strengthening your core stability and lengthening your back muscles. 

Lift your opposite arm and leg straight out while keeping your core tight.  When you do this your back should be flat. Hold for 3 seconds and return to neutral.  Repeat 20 times. 

3) Triangle Pose and Child's Pose: Hold each for 45 seconds. Complete on both sides if possible.

Triangle Pose (on the left). 

This pose is great for release the psoas muscle that gets tight when you sit.  

Child's Pose (on the right).

This will help to lengthen your back and stretch out your shoulders. 

4) Glute Bridge

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This exercise strengthens your glutes, which will take pressure off of your lower back. 

Hold this exercise for 45 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

To modify, you can complete a glute bridge using a medicine ball if you are further along than 20 weeks. 

5) Avoid sit-ups and crunches, and any exercise that involves excessive twisting at your hips.

If you are feeling any type of pain in your hips, glutes, or back, there is a good chance that you also may have a diastasis recti, which is cause by your stomach muscles separating to make room for your growing baby.  Sit-ups, crunches, and any excessive twisting with sudden impacts or weights can cause your symptoms and pain to increase.  If you do have a diastasis recti, talk to your doctor about this and avoid these exercises throughout the remainder of your pregnancy as well. 

If you'd like to start an individualized program geared toward preparing you for childbirth, and safely stay healthy and strong during pregnancy, fill out the form below and a 15 minute consultation will be set up to go over your goals and exact needs before starting your program. 

https://goo.gl/forms/HyDitgtM1zdcZnbk1

If you have any questions regarding the best exercises for pregnancy you can join Cr3ation Fit Moms on Facebook for some awesome tips and you can email us at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com for more help.

 

How to Start Your Exercise Routine

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If you ever Googled how to get started with an exercise routine, I can guarantee you will find pages upon pages of programs available to you.  Sadly, all the information available may not exactly help you find the best program for your specific needs.  Instead of trying to fit yourself into a specific program, why not create one that meets your goals and works with the time you have available to exercise?

The first step in starting an exercise routine is to identify what goals you have for yourself.  Do you want to: 

  • Have a healthier Lifestyle
  • Lose weight
  • Gain muscle
  • Tone your body
  • Feel more energized
  • Condition yourself for athletics
  • Recover from having a baby or surgery

The list is not limited to my examples above.  The first thing you must do is write down all of your goals and when you'd like to accomplish them by.  Once you've completed this, ask yourself: Is meeting my goal in this amount of time actually doable if I consistently follow my plan? If you may not be sure about how you can meet your goals, ask for help!  You can email me at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and I will be happy to help you flesh out your goals. 

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Once this is completed, you need to make time in your schedule.  I'm not asking you to wake up at 5a every morning to exercise.  That's one way your program may come to an end pretty fast! What I want you to do is to write out a schedule of your week.  You are going to write literally everything you have to do, including eating, sleeping, chores, and shopping.  I mean everything. You are then going to circle all of the times you have free to exercise (aka - all the blank spaces).  It doesn't have to be fancy or super neat. It just has to get the job done.  

Now, once you have circled all of your free time, I want you to choose 10 minutes to an hour every day exercise.  I opted to highlight the times I planned on exercising.  Depending on my day I sometimes got in more that one session of exercise as you can see in the picture.  

Some of you may need to start with 10 minutes a day and others of you who have been exercising may need up to an hour of work to reach your goals.  Regardless of what it is, write it down.  Take a picture of it with your phone.  Post this on your bathroom mirror and in the kitchen to help you remember.  Finally, send your schedule to 3-5 people who are going to keep you accountable to this.  

 

At this point you should have:

  1. Decided your goals
  2. Chosen when you plan to exercise each day for the week
  3. Sent this to 3-5 people to keep you accountable

All that you need to do now is to start exercising!  Part of what I do as a personal trainer and coach is help people find exercises they like (or love) to do.  If there is something that you love to do that counts as physical activity, go and do that for your first week!  If you need help and suggestions on what will work best for you, send me an email and I will be happy to send some suggestions your way. 

Just so you won't have to scroll through the article, here it is again: cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com.

I conduct in person sessions at your home as well as online training and coaching.  If you are at a loss for what to do and need help staying accountable to your exercise plan, an online coaching package may be for you.  With this type of package, I work with you to set up a plan that will meet your goals and time commitments. You will receive feedback on your exercise form (how to properly complete your exercises), an app to access your workout for the day, weekly check-ins, and daily accountability.  I do this so all you have to worry about is getting that exercise in to reach your goals!  Plus, currently it's 15-20% off!!  Definitely take advantage of this opportunity!

 

 

All About the Leg Lifts: 11 Variations that will Tighten Your Tummy.

I was introduced to leg lifts as an athlete in college, but I didn't truly understand the benefits of leg lifts until after I had my daughter. After a bit of research and the completion of my Prenatal/Postnatal Exercise Certification, I decided that leg lifts were going to be a part of my recovery routine.  Leg lifts target the internal hip flexors, the "6 pack" part of the abs, and the quads. I started doing them about a week after my daughter was born and I was able to easily modify and adjust them to meet my needs in the moment. 

I was consistent in doing leg lifts for the first two months postpartum and I saw tremendous benefits: decreased back pain, a diastasis recti that was closing, and a tighter, firmer core.  After two months I figured I was ready to move and went on to harder exercises. However, as women we know that throughout any given month we experience a myriad of different hormones, and if one hormone gets a little overbearing, our physique and function can drastically change.  Around my 9 month mark being postpartum, this started happening to me, and the back pain, pelvic pain, and gap in my stomach started to come back.  Since that point in time (we are now at 15 months), I have done leg lifts nearly every day, and I have not had any issues since.  Regardless of whether you are a mom or a woman simply looking to strengthen and tighten your stomach, these simple exercises make a huge difference!

While each version of the leg raises may be different, there are a few things you should keep in mind while you preform them.  

1. Always keep your core tight.  As you do these leg lifts, your opposite hip may start to come off the ground.  Your goal is to keep your hips even the entire time.  

2. Lift your leg about a foot off the ground very slowly.  You should reach about a foot by the time you count to 3.  Repeat the same method going back down to the ground. 

3. Complete sets of 20 reps.  Once you've mastered 20 reps and it becomes easy, either add weight (ankle weights are awesome) or complete another set of 20!

The Exercises

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Toe Up - Lay on your back with your toe pointed up to the ceiling.  Complete one leg at a time.  To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Toe out - Lay on your back with your toe turned to the outside of your body.  To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Toe In - Lay on your back with your toe turned to the inside of your body. To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Left Side-Toe Straight - Lay on your left side and keep your toe straight out in front of you.

Right Side-Toe Straight - Lay on your right side and keep your toe straight out in front of you.

 

Left Side-Toe Up - Lay on your left side and keep your toe pointed toward the ceiling. 

Right Side-Toe Up - Lay on your right side and keep your toe pointed toward the ceiling. 

 

Left Side-Bottom Leg - Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the ground in front of your body.  Lift your left leg with your toe pointed the same direction you are facing.

Right Side-Bottom Leg - Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the ground in front of your body.  Lift your right leg with your toe pointed the same direction you are facing.

On your stomach-Raises - Lay on your stomach and keep your toe pointed toward the ground. Lift one leg at a time.

 

Bent Knee Leg Raises - Bend your leg to 90 degrees. Lift your leg straight toward the ceiling and release back down. 

 

 

It takes me less than 10 minutes to do all of these exercises daily.  It's crazy what just 10 minutes of exercise a day can do for your body! If you struggle with finding time or staying disciplined with an exercise routine, a 12 week program may be a perfect fit for you.  Learn how to incorporate exercises like leg lifts into your everyday life by joining my 12 Week Program: Moving Forward!  Just fill out the following form: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeh7rS1lbT557JiD4JbEa8Pz-v30xJh5CgYlyGs-St5maA5iQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

If you would like other great tips and advice, join my Facebook groups: Cr3ation Fit Moms and Cr3ation Fit Women.