Do you all remember when I mentioned that I found an awesome fix for my sciatic pain that has reared its ugly head during this pregnancy a few times now? Hope so, that was just over a week ago. 😉 And I think I may have also mentioned something about a giveaway, too, no? Ah, hold that thought…
Let me start off by saying that sciatica is not just a pregnancy-related thing for me, it’s something that I’ve been dealing with off and on since college and I always had a feeling that it would make an appearance at some point during pregnancy.
But first, a funny sciatica story (if there can be such a thing), also known as one of my most embarrassing moments that still makes me blush to this day…
1995/1996-ish, Freshmen or Sophomore year at John Carroll University
ah, 18-year-old Jaime was a fun gal
I’ll never forget the first time I woke up with an excruciating throbbing pain radiating through my hip and lower back – I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk, and my leg just kinda dangled off my body when I tried to put any pressure on it. I was in college, 18-years-old and, being young, stubborn and invincible, I gave it a good week of being practically bed ridden thinking it would just go away before I went to actually see someone and admit that something was wrong. Not sure what my last straw was… maybe I got tired of the rug burn I was getting on my cheek from crawling across the floor to get to the bathroom. Who knows. Either way, I managed to whine loud enough and long enough in a friend’s ear until she threw me in the back of her car and pretty much tossed me out the side door without stopping or looking back as I rolled to the doors of the cheapy clinic right around the corner from school.
I hobbled in, checked in at the front desk, was taken to an exam room by a staff member, and told to take off my clothing from the waist down and wait for the doctor. So when she left the room, I did as I was told and took everything off from the waist down. I covered myself up with the thin paper sheet they provided me on the exam table and waited the obligatory 20 minutes for the doctor to make his/her way to the room. I laid in pain, half-naked, awkward and bored and I counted the holes in the ceiling as I waited. And waited. Until finally, a knock on the door!
And as the door opened in slow motion, a glow of light beamed from the hallway, outlining the silhouette of the most attractive, young, drool-worthy doctor I had ever seen. Patrick Dempsey had nothin’ on this guy. He couldn’t have been more than 25, had piercing blue eyes and perfectly messy brown hair in a James Dean bad-but-oh-so-yes-please-good-boy sort of way, and looked pretty damn amazing in that white lab coat. He came over to me (so attentive), stood next to the bed (his cologne was what heaven smells like), asked what brought me to the clinic that day (so thorough) and I told him it was my hip. Er, my leg. Or s-s-something maybe with my back. I wasn’t completely sure but I managed to stutter that something in that general area was k-k-killing me. And as the doctor moved the paper sheet to take a look at my hip, he…
froze like a statue.
I swear I saw a little flicker of, I don’t know, panic? confusion? flash across the back of his eyes. Um, was it that bad??? Did I sprout a tail? No and no. A tail would have been 100 times better. No, the first words out of his mouth still echo in my ear to this day and make me blush like a freaking 12-year-old giving my crush a paper heart valentine. With a boob hanging out.
“Oh…huh…..ermmmm……why did you take your underwear off?!@??”
“Ummm, (crawling into a little ball of lint and stuffing myself out of sight into one of the tiny holes in the ceiling tile) ’cause…the…lady…told…me…to….question mark??!!?”
Apparently, just jeans would have been sufficient, though if I remember correctly, I think I even took my socks off. MORTIFIED. I was seriously, mortified.
From there, I swear (at least this is how I remember it) he barely picked up my leg by my pinky toe, moved it around for a quick second, pretty sure he was looking over his shoulder the whole time kinda like a “do do do, I don’t see you, if I don’t look, there’s nothing
vagina uncomfortable about this”. He mumbled something about “blah blah, probably a pulled muscle, blah”, wrote me prescription for vicodin, and fumbled for the doorknob as he backed out of the room with his eyes focused hard on his shoes. To this day, I don’t know who was more uncomfortable…him or me.
Needless to say, I didn’t actually get a proper diagnosis until years later when I had my dad take me to the ER during another sciatic episode.
Oh, and I kept my undies on for that visit. 🙂
Anywho, I’ve been to my current doctor more times than I choose to remember now for the same issue…I have a herniated disc in my back that gets irritated once in a while. When it’s irritated, in not so medical of terms, the inside of the disc bulges which then pinches the sciatic nerve that runs all the way down the back of my leg to my foot. It can happen when I get out of the car, or if I sit cross-legged for too long, or if you just look at me funny…basically without warning it can come on pretty quickly and hurt for a lot longer than I’d prefer if ever given a choice. Although hurt would be the understatement of the year. If it’s bad enough to go to him for it, my doc gives me a cortisone shot in me bum and loads me up with prescriptions for pain killers and sleeping pills, but says that surgery is not a route he’d want to take with me since at this point it happens so infrequently, usually once a year or so, sometimes more, sometimes less.
But imagine my fear knowing that if I can aggravate my back by doing nothing more than staring into my coffee mug, I could certainly someday be in a world of hurt carrying around a 30-pound baby bump. It wasn’t really something I could avoid if I ever wanted to have children of my own. And here I am, going on 37 weeks pregnant and 35 pounds heavier, and it’s already happened. Twice.
Since being pregnant, I thought about going to a chiropractor, even went as far as emailing a few for prices, but by the time I heard back, I was feeling better, back at work and off the crutches.
I looked on You Tube for videos on pregnant sciatic nerve stretches, but my big belly gets in the way.
I’ve tried the heating pad until I burned myself red.
I’ve tried ice until my skin was numb.
I’ve tried laying as still as possible for days.
I’ve tried getting on all fours and doing the cat stretch.
Then I tried the Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy…and I swear my biggest fear right now is that I’m going to sound like a cheesy infomercial – but I promise, I’m not being compensated in any way, shape or form for this.
What it is: 2 squishy balls (almost like softball-sized exercise bouncy balls) that come with a book…the book explains how to breathe while you pretty much let your body melt into the balls after placing them in specific spots under your body to stretch out different body parts. And it sounds so so simple but holy crap, nothing I have ever tried has been able to stretch out my back the way this does.
2 squishy balls. Who knew?
The book that I have is for pregnancy (there is also the original for non-pregnant people) that has pictures for each position and also shows alternative positions if you’re really really pregnant and can’t get comfy in the original pose or don’t want to lay flat on your back. There are positions and placements for upper back, lower back, pelvis, hips, shoulders, neck, knees, feet, ribs…you name it, you can stretch it. It gives positions that are supposed to help make delivery easier, and others that are supposed to help you tone your tummy back up after the baby comes.
And just so I’m explaining it correctly, it’s not just for pregnancy or sciatic nerve pain, it’s for any kind of stretch you want, whether you’re in pain or not.
Right now, my favorite positions are the ones geared toward stretching the lower back, relaxing the hips, and easing sciatic pain. One of my regular go-to positions talks about how when you first put the ball under your spine, you should pay attention to whether the curve of your back feels more like a violin bow curving upward or a hammock curving downward. Though I usually initially find myself more like a violin, the goal is relax your arch like a hammock, so when I’m focusing on relaxing and stopping my muscles from tensing, instead of the “haaaaa” or “sssssss” breathing sounds the book recommends, I actually whisper “haaaaaaaammock” over and over and it completely helps me melt into the balls. 🙂
And while I haven’t yet read the original book (not specifically for pregnancy), I can only imagine the benefits of this anytime. Oh, and you better believe I’ll be bringing this to the hospital with me when baby comes.
Ok, I’m finished gushing and raving about my new balls.
After contacting the company at http://www.elainepetrone.com/ to tell them how much I absolutely love love love the Miracle Balls, they have very graciously donated 2 kits for my awesome readers…one original Miracle Ball Method kit for my non-pregnant friends, and one Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy kit for my fellow preggos.
To enter the giveaway, just comment below…tell me something embarrassing, tell me what you had for dinner last night, or tell me something you wore in the 90’s that looked better than my huge black belt in the college picture above. Whatever you’d like to say, even if it’s just a quick hello!, comment below by 3pm (CST) on Friday, May 20th. ***Please specify if you’d like the original kit or the kit for pregnant mammas (I’m giving one each) and please include your email address so I can get in touch with you after the drawing!***