Tip #1 Its Imperative To Strengthen The Abdominals And Glutes
Often, when your , its because you are not utilizing the stronger muscle groups that help stabilize your body’s frame. As you gain pregnancy weight, the discomfort may worsen.
When my Pilates instructor gave me deep core strengthening and glute exercises that I could do at home, I found the exercises immediately helped to alleviate my back discomfort. In many ways, the exercises reminded those muscle groups to wake up. So, instead of my back doing all the work, these muscles could take over when I needed them.
My favorites? Bridges with a good bum squeeze at the top and pelvic tilts that gently wake up the transverse abdominals.
What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy
Your body undergoes a lot of physical changes during pregnancy which can put some strain on your body and back. First of all, your ligaments loosen and stretch as your body prepares itself for going into labour, which affects your posture and can place strain on your joints. Weight gain and increased fluid retention can also put pressure on the sciatica nerve, causing sciatica, which is a type of pain that runs from your lower back and hips to your feet.
Later on, in pregnancy, most women will experience a shift in their centre of gravity due to weight gain, which can lead to bad posture. You might find yourself leaning backwards more often, for example, placing strain on your back. This weight gain might also cause your muscles to tighten which can also cause discomfort in your lower and upper back.
All of these changes are a normal part of pregnancy, however, and luckily, there are a few different ways that you can relieve your back pain safely whilst pregnant.
When To See A Doctor
There is usually no reason for concern when you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy. However, if you are experiencing severe back pain that does not go away with over-the-counter medicine or rest, it may be time to visit your doctor. Also, back pain similar to a pulsing sensation could be a sign of early labor. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing pulsating pain in your back or rhythmic cramping pains prior to your due date. In rare cases, severe back pain could be a sign of a more serious condition such as osteoporosis or septic arthritis. However, these conditions are very rare, and your doctor can properly diagnose the cause of your back pain.
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Tip #3 Place Your Legs Up A Wall
As pregnancy progresses, your legs, knees and feet begin to feel the effects of greater body weight and pressure. Here is another favorite movement of mine especially during pregnancythat I discovered through my yoga practice.
This restorative yoga pose involves simply placing a yoga mat or blanket as a back cushion near a wall. Make sure it is level and smooth.
Lie on the floor with your bottom against the wall and allow your legs to climb straight up the wall.
Stretch your arms outward and turn your palms up.
Take deep breaths.
It feels so good to reverse the blood flow and give your joints a break. Hang out for a few minutes and enjoy. If the back of your legs feel like this is too much of a stretch, you can always bring the soles of your feet together and let the knees butterfly to the side.
Another Common Question We Get From Moms Is How Do I Know What Strength And Stability Work That I Should Be Doing
This is a great question, and often depends on the individual. Some moms might need to work more on core strength, others might need pelvic floor strength, some might need core stability, and others might need low back or hip strength. This is why it is important to develop a plan that is customized to you, and not generic exercises on a worksheet or from the internet. This is why we are currently offering FREE Total Body Diagnostic visits for moms. During this visit, we will discuss what you are struggling with, what your goals are, and look at your movement head to toe. We will then come up with a plan that is customized to you to help you reach your goals, and feel great in your body!
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How Can I Strengthen My Back During Pregnancy
Regular physical activity is important when you are pregnant and can protect your back. If your doctor says it’s OK, you can do some gentle exercise like walking or water exercise. Talk to a physiotherapist for specific exercises to strengthen your back.
Stretch your lower back by kneeling on all fours with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and round your back. Hold the posture for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Keep your tummy muscles strong with pelvic tilt exercises. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Tilt your pelvis and hips backwards so the curve of your back is flat to the floor. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. You can also do this exercise standing up or sitting on a gym ball.
Strengthen your tummy muscles and pelvic floor by gently drawing in the lower part of your tummy towards your spine. Keep breathing. Gradually lengthen the time you hold the posture. Brace these muscles whenever you lift, push or pull something heavy.
Exercises To Ease Back Pain In Pregnancy
This gentle exercise helps to strengthen stomach muscles, which can ease back pain in pregnancy:
1) Start on all fours with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, fingers facing forwards and stomach muscles lifted to keep your back straight.
2) Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, letting your head and bum relax downwards gently do not let your elbows lock and only move your back as far as you comfortably can.
3) Hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position take care not to hollow your back, it should always return to a straight, neutral position.
4) Do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully.
Doing prenatal yoga or aquanatal classes with a qualified instructor can also help build your muscles to better support your back. Ask at your local leisure centre.
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How Is A Back Injury Treated During Pregnancy
If you injure your back while you are pregnant, simple exercises and using back support are usually enough to fix the injury. In very rare cases, pregnant women can have a serious injury such as a herniated disc. In this case you might need surgery. Back surgery is usually safe, however, both for you and your baby during pregnancy.
Many women have a pre-existing back condition before they become pregnant, such as scoliosis, spondylolisthesis or a lumbar disc condition. Sometimes your back problems get better during pregnancy, but sometimes they get worse. It’s important to mention any back problems to the medical team who are looking after you.
Talk to your doctor if you need to take medicine to control back pain. Paracetamol is one of the safest painkillers during pregnancy. Do not take aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Nurofen while you are pregnant.
Your back injury should not affect labour or pain relief during labour. It is also usually possible to have an epidural if you have a back injury. Tell the hospital about your condition because there are different positions you can use to ease back pain during labour.
How To Alleviate Back Pain During Pregnancy
Pregnancy will change a womans body in more than one way. As your baby grows inside your uterus, you will gain weight, and your center of gravity will shift. Your body will also release hormones that help loosen your joints and ligaments, slowly preparing you for birth.
Unfortunately, these changes often result in terrible back pain for future moms. If like many pregnant women, you are suffering from back pain. Follow these different tips on how to alleviate back pain during your pregnancy:
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Simple Ways To Reduce Pain In The Upper Back While Pregnant
If youre worried that learning how to relieve upper back pain during pregnancy could require a major lifestyle change, rest assured that a few simple changes can go a long way. You will need to focus on avoiding activities that can strain your back muscles, and on keeping your spine neutral while standing, sitting, and sleeping:
What Happens To Your Back During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, changes to your hormones cause the ligaments in your body to relax and stretch to prepare you for labour.
This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause backache. The weight of your growing baby also puts extra strain on the arch in your lower back.
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How Can You Prevent Or Minimize Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain may not be prevented completely, but there are things that you can do to reduce the severity or frequency.Here are a few steps you can take to help reduce the back pain you are experiencing:
- Use exercises approved by your health care provider that support and help strengthen the back and abdomen.
- Squat to pick up something instead of bending over.
- Avoid high heels and other shoes that do not provide adequate support.
- Avoid sleeping on your back.
- Wear a support belt under your lower abdomen.
- Consider having your back adjusted by a chiropractor.
- Get plenty of rest. Elevating your feet is also good for your back.
Use Pillows For Support
If you need to sit for long hours during the day because you have work to do, you should use a pillow for an added back support. It will help relieve any tension from your back, allowing you to be comfortable as you sit for the entire day.
While using an ergonomic chair would always be helpful, adding pillows on your lower back can help to maximize its comfort. With a pregnant body, you need the most back support that you could get that no regular ergonomic chair could offer. As you add a cushion behind your lower back, practice good posture to prevent upper back pains, which can be uncomfortable.
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How Can You Treat Back Pain During Pregnancy
There are a number of things you can do to treat back pain during pregnancy. Some of the steps you take to avoid back pain may also be used to treat current back pain.Here are some other common interventions:
- Ice or heat
- Medications used to treat inflammation
- Sleep on your left side, and use a support pillow under your knees.
- Schedule an appointment with a licensed health care professional such as a chiropractor or massage therapist.
Loose Pelvic Ligaments In Pregnancy
Another common contributor to lower back pain during pregnancy is a loosening of ligaments, especially in the pelvic area. During pregnancy, a woman produces relaxin, a hormone that causes ligaments to loosen and relax. Relaxin aids the birth processallowing the pelvis to stretch and accommodate the passage of a baby but during pregnancy relaxin can contribute to discomfort and pain in the pelvis and lower back.
I remember pain in my pubic bone and my sacroiiliac joints on either side of the sacrum, in the upper glutes worsening as my pelvic ligaments loosened and my pregnancy progressed. It felt like my joints were slipping out of place during daily movements like kicking off my shoes.
Looser ligaments can worsen pre-existing postural problems, such as exaggerated lordosis, as well. The loosening of pelvic ligaments leads to instability, and this is also a root cause of low back pain, says Micheline.
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Hot And Cold Compresses
To ease your back pain, you can try using a hot and cold compress on your back. Applying first hot and then cold compresses to the area that is sore, can lower the body temperature helping to constrict the blood vessels, reduce swelling and decrease inflammation in your muscles. However, make sure to consult a health professional such as your GP or midwife before trying this, because it is not safe to apply heat to certain parts of the body such as your abdomen whilst pregnant.
Look For A Physiotherapist
If you can no longer handle the pain, and your obstetrician-gynecologist advised you to see a physiotherapist: you should ensure that you look for the best one to provide pain relief during your pregnancy. You can easily search for the best physiotherapist Brisbane or whichever area youre in, and you should be able to experience comfort with continuous treatments and therapy sessions.
Ideally, look for a physiotherapist near your area, so you wouldnt have to go through the trouble of driving for long distances to find relief for your back pain. Moreover, if you cannot get out of your household, some clinics can offer help online, allowing you to have professional service without stepping outside.
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When To Get Help
Talk to your GP or midwife if your back is very painful and affecting your quality of life. You may be referred to a physiotherapist.
Contact your GP urgently if you have back pain and you:
- lose feeling in one or both of your legs, your bum or your genitals
- cannot control the need to pee or poo
- feel the pain is intense at the start of the second or third trimester – this could be a sign of early labour
- have a fever, bleeding from your vagina or pain when you pee
- have pain under your ribs, on one or both sides
- suddenly need to pee very frequently
Try Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
Another contributor to back pain is overly tight pelvic muscles. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you work on those internal muscles by doing whats basically a massage of your pelvic floor through your vagina. This type of treatment has added benefits, too, as Mickeler says it can reduce the incidence of tearing during delivery, and give you a head start for recovery after your baby is born.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist can also assess the shape of whats called your deep core, which consists of your pelvic floor, your diaphragm, your transverse abdominis and a muscle in your lower back. Mickeler explains that if one part of your deep core isnt working well, it can mean that other parts of your body will have to compensate, which may lead to pain. Aside from working internally, pelvic floor physiotherapists can also use exercise- and rehab-based techniques to help with low-back pain.
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When Should I See My Doctor For Back Pain During Pregnancy
Even if you experience only mild back pain, it is important to inform your doctor. He or she can recommend the best methods for you to manage those symptoms and can then monitor you throughout your pregnancy for worsening symptoms.
If your symptoms are severe, become severe, and are persistent or prolonged, call your doctor right away.
You should call your doctor and seek immediate medical care if your back pain is accompanied by:
- Numbness or weakness: Severe pain, numbness or weakness in the legs may be a sign of a condition called sciatica. While sciatica is not common, its symptoms can be similar to normal back pain. However, sciatica can cause leg pain that is more severe than your back pain. You will likely feel it below the knee and in your foot and toes, along with a tingling sensation, numbness or weakness. Call your doctor immediately if you feel weakness in one or both legs, or lose sensation in your legs, groin, bladder, or anus.
- Fever and dull ache: A fever accompanied by a dull ache across your lower back or along the sides of your back could be a sign of a kidney or bladder infection, or urinary tract issues. This would require immediate attention and treatment with antibiotics. Call your doctor immediately if you feel back pain accompanied by painful urination, blood in the urine, chills, or fever.
Lumbar Lordosis In Pregnancy
I spoke with Micheline Cerra, a PT with 30 years of experience. Micheline is the owner of in San Francisco, and has three young sons. Over the course of her career, Micheline has worked with dozens of expectant moms.
“During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity shifts as the baby grows in the front of her body, Micheline explains. “This causes exaggerated lordosis and weakens the core which both contribute to the back pain.”
As the baby grows and the weight of the fetus increases, it takes up more space in the belly and moves the center of gravity forward. Some womens bodies accommodate this shift by hyper-extending the lower spine in an exaggerated forward curve.In addition, the weight of the babyespecially in the later monthspulls on the lower back, increasing the lumbar curve.
An exaggerated lumbar curve can tighten the long muscles that run down either side of the spine. The tighter a muscle becomes, the more painful it can feel. Tight muscles tend to be more dehydrated, and the fascia surrounding them can become stickycreating the painful muscular knots all of us have experienced at some point or another. During pregnancy, this tension can become chronic, and can persist postpartum.
Physical therapy can be really helpful. “Pregnant patients can be taught to have a stronger core, and better postureboth help with back pain, Micheline says.
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