Pregnant women often experience back pain. Although this is not surprising, back pain in pregnancy could be caused by various factors such as weight gain, hormones and a change in your center of gravity. Nevertheless, you must not simply ignore the pain. There are ways to relieve lower back pain. It ranges from maintaining good posture, performing certain activities to physical therapies.
Causes of Lower Back Pain in Pregnancy
The back pain typically occurs at the sacroiliac joint, the area where the pelvis and spine meet. There are various possible reasons for this. The common causes are as follows:
- Weight gain. Women naturally gain weight during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the weight increases. The spine supports the weight and may overtime cause lower back pain.
- Posture changes. This has something to do with the shift in the center of your gravity. Without you even noticing, your posture gradually begins to bend forward. This may result in back strain or pain.
- Hormone changes. When you are pregnant, your body produces “relaxin,” a hormone that allows the ligaments in your pelvic area to relax, and the joints to become looser. In effect, it loosens the ligaments that support the spine as well, which could lead to instability. Once the spine is unstable, it becomes more prone to strain and pain.
- Muscle separation. As your body prepares itself for the baby’s delivery, your uterus expands. The parallel sheets of muscles that run from your rib cage to your pubic bone may separate along its center seam. This may result in back pain.
- Stress. Pregnancy can affect your emotionally as well. When you are emotionally stressed, you may experience muscle tension in the back. This is why during the stressful periods of your pregnancy, you may experience increased back pain.
The good news is that there are ways you can try to ease or prevent your lower back pain during your pregnancy. Consider these methods, as they are easy to handle and can be incorporated into your daily activities:
Practice good posture
Prevent or ease back pain during pregnancy by practicing good posture. Good posture plays a major role in avoiding injury, misalignment and other cause of back pain. During pregnancy, you gain weight and the center of your gravity shifts forward. This is normal as your baby grows. There is too much weight on your belly that you tend to lean back to avoid falling forward. This could strain your lower back muscles, which may cause or contribute to your back pain.
Pain usually is brought about or aggravated by bad posture. So better take note of the following principles of good posture:
- Sit and stand up straight.
- Hold your chest high.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Do not lock your knees
It may be difficult for you to move around because of the weight. When you stand, it is important that you stand with wide stance. This will provide better support and comfort. If possible, avoid standing for long periods of time. If you do, make sure that you take breaks in between. Also practice good posture when sitting. You can place a small pillow on your lower back when sitting. This provides support and comfort.
Avoid lifting heavy loads as much as possible. Know your limits. You can always ask for help when you need something lifted. When you lift small objects, do not lift with your back or bend at the waist. This can cause muscle strain, lower back or pelvic pain. When lifting, squat down and always lift with your legs. This evens out the weight and the pressure is shifted on the legs.
Have the right gear
Sometimes, wearing the right shoes could make the difference. At all cost, do not wear high heeled shoes. It can shift your balance further forward and may cause you to fall. On the other end, wearing flat shoes is also not recommended. What is recommended are shoes with good arch support. Wear low-heeled shoes.
Wearing maternity support belt may also help. Maternity belts may have limited impact on easing your back pain. However, they may be good as additional support for some women.
Sleep on your side
Sleeping on your side when you are pregnant can help ease the back pain. Do not lie flat on your back. The better position is to lie on your side and keep one or both of your knees bent. You may also consider using support pillows. You can place pillows behind your back, under your abdomen and between your knees.
Heat, Cold or Massage
Like in other pain, trying heat, cold or massage may also be helpful. You can apply ice pack or heating pad on your lower back or pelvis to provide pain relief. With permission from your health care professional, start with cold compress. Put ice pack on the painful area for around 20 minutes for several times a day. Shift to hot compress two or three days after. Be very careful not to apply heat on the abdomen. If you want to try a massage, make sure that get a massage that is safe for pregnant women.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Incorporate certain physical activities in your daily routine. This can help you strengthen your back and certain muscles. You may try walking, stretching, swimming, stationary cycling or water exercises. One simple exercise is to simply stretch your lower back. When exercising, you must consult a health professional first. You may also try physical therapy. Ask a physical therapists on what exercises and activities are best for pregnant women.
There are therapies that may help relieve lower back pain in pregnancy. Research suggests that acupuncture and chiropractic treatment provide comfort and relief for some pregnant women. These traditional treatment options have been noted for their contribution in providing pain relief and comfort. However, discuss the matter with your doctor first before considering complementary therapy.
Consult Your Health Professional
It is important that you do basic measures to prevent or manage your back pain during pregnancy. This decreases your chances of experiencing chronic back pain after delivery. However, if your back pain is severe and lasts for more than two weeks, consult your health care provider. Your provider may recommend certain medication or other treatments.
Keep in mind that pain may also be a sign of preterm labor. If you experience other symptoms such as fever, burning sensation during urination, or vaginal bleeding, contact your health care professional immediately.
Get Help and Support
If you continue to experience back pain during your pregnancy, get professional help. Your back problem may need proper treatment. This is because back pain may be caused by some other condition or underlying problem. When it comes to pain, you need a specialist you can trust.
Arizona Pain and Spine Institute provides relief for lower back pain and other pain conditions. We look into your concern and consider various factors. We use a wide range of treatment combinations and pain management solutions. We have state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology. Our team of professional, knowledgeable and experienced specialists see to it that you get utmost care and better results. That is what you deserve.
We stay true to our mission. We improve our patient’s quality of life by managing and alleviating their pain. Call us now at (480) 986-7246 and make an appointment. Get started today.