Back Pain Relief During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, approximately 50-70 percent of women experience back pain. While reasons behind the back pain may vary, the majority are due to increased hormones, a change in the body’s center of gravity, gaining additional weight, a change in posture and added stress. Back pain during pregnancy isn’t surprising, but it still deserves attention. You can probably blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting strain on your back.
It may also cause back pain if it’s pressing on a nerve. In addition, the extra weight you’re carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why your back may feel worse at the end of the day. The hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend or even lift things.
As many as three-quarters of pregnant women experience back pain at some point. Most often the pain appears in the later months or becomes worse as pregnancy progresses. It may also even persist after the baby arrives, but postpartum back pain usually resolves in a few months.
The good news is, your baby is growing. That’s exactly what should be happening — but it can still be tough on your back. You’ve got lots of company — most pregnant women experience back pain, usually starting in the second half of pregnancy. Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint — and it’s no wonder. You’re gaining weight, your center of gravity changes and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis. Often, however, you can prevent or ease back pain during pregnancy.
What kind of lower back pain is common in pregnancy?
When your nice baby grows up within you, the lower spine turned inwards to support your baby‘s weight. At the same time your breast enlarged and your top spine slightly curved to support breast enlargement. Such temporary alteration of your spine can cause lower and top back pain.
In preparation for the birthing process of your baby, your body secretes a hormone named ”Relaxin” which soften your body ,joints, ligaments and tissues for moving of your body parts more easily. But weight of you with your baby is quite more than normal to you. Your soft body experienced pain in carrying out that weight. The weight of your growing baby and uterus also puts pressure to your blood vessels and nerves of your pelvis and back which can cause back pain.
Experts describe two common patterns of lower back pain in pregnancy: Lumbar pain, which occurs in the area of the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back, and posterior pelvic pain is also felt in the back of your pelvis. Some women have symptoms of both types of low back pain.
Lumbar pain is like the low back pain you may have experienced before you were pregnant. You feel it over and around your spine approximately at the level of your waist. You might also have pain that radiates to your legs. Sitting or standing for long periods of time and lifting can make it worse and it tends to be more intense at the end of the day.
Even more pregnant women have posterior pelvic pain, which is felt lower on your body than lumbar pain. You may feel it deep inside the buttocks, on one or both sides or the back of your thighs. It may be triggered by activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a tub or a low chair, rolling over in bed or twisting and lifting.
Positions in which you’re bent at the waist – such as sitting in a chair and leaning forward while working at a desk – may sometimes make posterior pelvic pain worse. Women with posterior pelvic pain are also more likely to have pain over their pubic bone.
How to get Back Pain Relief during Pregnancy?
Try to use your body more efficiently. Stand up straight and tall, ensuring your chin isn’t tilting upwards. Avoid standing for too long in one position. If your job involves standing for long periods, keep changing from one foot to the other, sit down when you can and try to take a walk at lunchtime.
Use plenty of pillows in bed for support, keeping your thighs parallel. This prevents your top leg from twisting across your body into the recovery position while you sleep. To get out of bed, roll on to one side and push yourself up to a sitting position, then slowly stand up.
Rather than carrying heavy shopping, shop online, or ask a friend to help you. If you have a toddler, try not to carry her on one hip, as this puts a strain on your back. Ask for help with housework, and ask a colleague to help if any tasks at work strain your back. Wear comfortable shoes with broad supporting heels and straps to prevent your feet from slipping about and your ankles from becoming twisted.
Wear the right size of supportive maternity bra. Make sure the straps are wide enough and the cups are big enough to avoid extra strain on your shoulders and ribcage. At work, and when driving, consider a lumbar support for your chair. Try not to cross your legs and check that the position of your computer screen and chair is correct. Try to move away from your desk regularly and get fresh air at lunchtime.
There are things you can do to minimize your back pain. Consider these seven ways to relieve back pain during pregnancy, from good posture to physical activity. Here’s what can help!
Exercising for Back Pain Relief during Pregnancy
You may feel more like curling up in bed than exercising if your back hurts and even during these months of pregnancies, but don’t take to your bed for long periods. Bed rest is generally not helpful in the long run for lower back pain and even labor and can may even make you feel worse. In fact, exercise may be just what you need.
Regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility. That can ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for pregnant women include walking, swimming and stationary cycling. Exercising does wonders during pregnancy. It boosts mood, improves sleep and reduces pregnancy aches and pains. It helps prevent and treat gestational diabetes and may keep preeclampsia at bay. It prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance, and makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider before embarking on any exercise regimen.
Swimming: Healthcare providers and fitness experts hail swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides cardiovascular benefits and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra pounds.
Walking: One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It’s also easy to do almost anywhere, doesn’t require any equipment beyond a good pair of supportive shoes and is safe throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Low-impact aerobics: Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and tones your body. And if you take a class for pregnant women, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of other moms-to-be and feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby.
Stretching: Stretching is wonderful for keeping your body limber and relaxed and preventing muscle strain. Add stretching to your cardiovascular exercises to get a complete workout.
Yoga: Yoga can help maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little if any impact on your joints. But you may have to augment a yoga regimen with walking or swimming several times a week to give your heart a workout.
Weight training: If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason to stop, although most women should reduce the amount of weight they’re lifting (you can do more repetitions to ensure that you’re still getting a good workout). If you take the necessary precautions and use good technique (meaning slow, controlled movements), weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles.
Good Posture for Back Pain Relief during Pregnancy
As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. To avoid falling forward, you might compensate by leaning back which can strain the muscles in your lower back and contribute to back pain during pregnancy. Keep these principles of good posture in mind:
- Stand up straight and tall.
- Hold your chest high.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Don’t lock your knees.
Slouching strains your spine. So using proper posture when working, sitting or sleeping is a good move. For example, sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees will take stress off your back. When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support, rest your feet on a stack of books or stool and sit up straight, with your shoulders back.
When backache persists after you are in bed for the night, shift your body into a more back-friendly position. Sleeping on your side and using strategically placed pillows for support can provide relief from aches and pains, and help you get some much-needed rest.
The right gear to help get Back Pain Relief during Pregnancy
Wear low-heeled not flat shoes with good arch support. You might also consider wearing a maternity support belt. Although research on the effectiveness of maternity support belts is limited, some women find the additional support helpful. These thick elastic bands worn around the hips and under the belly cradle and support lax abdominal muscles. Especially helpful if your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, wearing a maternity belt can improve posture and decrease lower back pressure. Some women say they can’t get by without one!
Lift properly! When lifting a small object, squat down and lift with your legs. Don’t bend at the waist or lift with your back. It’s also important to know your limits. Ask for help if you need it.
Lumbar Support Pillows – Does your desk job require you to sit for hours? Good posture is just as important while sitting down as it is when you are standing upright. Keep your head and shoulders in line and use a lumbar support pillow (a small pillow specially designed to fit the lower back) to keep your back properly positioned and pain-free.
TLC for Back Pain Relief during Pregnancy
Taking steps to ease soreness and tension and generally taking good care of yourself can’t hurt. At the very least, you’ll feel better temporarily. Take the time to try these measures to help get back pain relief during pregnancy:
- Learn relaxation techniques. They may help you cope with the discomfort and may be especially useful at bedtime if your back pain is just one more thing that makes it hard to get to sleep.
- Try heat or cold. There’s some evidence that heat may provide a bit of short-term relief. Try soaking in a warm (not hot) tub, which can also help you relax. Or place a hot water bottle (or hot pack) on your lower back. Although there’s no hard evidence that cold helps, applying a cold pack is easy to do and worth a try if heat doesn’t work for you.Whether you use heat or cold, cover the pack or bottle with a thin cloth to protect your skin.
- Relaxing in a warm bath with no more than two or three drops of lavender or ylang ylang essential oils may help to ease your muscle pain. However, lavender oil should be used only occasionally in your first trimester, as it may stimulate contractions
- Treat yourself to a massage. A Prenatal massage by a trained therapist may provide some relief. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover therapeutic massage and paying for one will strain your finances, you may want to enlist your partner or a friend to give you a gentle backrub – it may not address the underlying problem, but it might help you relax. (Most insurance companies don’t cover massage, though a referral from your caregiver might do the trick. It’s worth looking into.)
If you continue to have severe back pain during pregnancy or back pain that lasts more than two weeks, talk to your health care provider. He or she might recommend medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or other treatments.
Keep in mind that back pain during pregnancy might be a sign of preterm labor. Also, back pain during pregnancy that’s accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever or burning during urination could be a sign of an underlying problem that needs prompt attention. If you’re concerned about your back pain, contact your health care provider right away.