Treatment For Early Back Pain During Pregnancy
No matter what stage of your pregnancy youre in, there are ways to treat back pain. You probably wont be able to prevent it completely, but you can help to minimize the pain.
Follow these tips for reducing back pain throughout your pregnancy.
If your back pain seems to be linked to your stress levels, things like meditation, prenatal yoga, and extra rest can all be helpful ways to manage your stress levels.
Using A Lumbar Roll Helps Avoid Pregnancy Back Pain While Sitting
Using ergonomically supported posture while sitting for extended periods can help decrease the frequency and intensity of back pain.
- Sitting up straight and aligning the ears, shoulders, and hips in a vertical line is recommended.
- Using a lumbar roll in the small of the back can help support the spinal curvature.1
- This roll may also help reduce pelvic pain that occurs from a sit-to-stand position.1
- Inflatable lumbar rolls are best suited for pregnant women to accommodate the change in body size and posture.1
Taking short breaks every hour and briefly stretching or walking a short distance is typically recommended.
Natural Ways To Deal With Back Pain During Pregnancy
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Disclosure: Im not a physician, yall, so Im just going to say it again up front this is what helped ME personally. Its the plan I came up with in conjunction with my midwife. So please run all of these ideas for finding back pain relief by your OB/GYN or midwife FIRST.
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Postural Correction Helps Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain
Maintaining an ergonomically supported posture throughout the day can help take a considerable amount of stress and strain off the lower back tissues. Doctors also advise taking rest, limiting strain and high impact activities, and performing stretches and exercises to build strength in the pelvis, hip, and lower back. Pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs are not considered safe during pregnancy and must be avoided.
Treatments For Back Pain In Pregnancy
More good news: Unless you had chronic backaches before you got pregnant, your pain will likely ease gradually before you give birth.
Meanwhile, there are many things you can do to treat low back pain or make it rarer and milder:
- If you need to pick something up from the ground, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes. Choose low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Remember, as hormones loosen joints, you may need to buy a larger shoe size.
- Don’t sleep on your back.
- Wear support hose.
If your back pain persists, you may want to consult your doctor to see what else you might try. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications. Acetaminophen is safe for most women to take during pregnancy. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are not advised. In some cases, your doctor may recommend other pain medicines or muscle relaxants that are safe during pregnancy.
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Taking Rest And Applying Heat Therapy Can Help Heal Sore Tissues
Taking short periods of rest during the day helps ease muscle spasms and relieves acute pain. While taking rest, keeping both feet elevated can help bend the hips and decrease the curvature in the lower spine.2
Using a heat patch in the lower back area and/or rear pelvis can help reduce soreness, decrease muscle spasm, and improve blood circulation. The heat source must be used for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and be of a tolerable temperature. Placing a barrier, such as a towel, is advisable to avoid burns.
Maintaining an optimal level of function throughout your pregnancy and having the least amount of discomfort are the main goals of treatment for back pain during pregnancy.
Physical therapy encompasses postural modifications, back strengthening, stretching, and range-of-motion exercises. Appropriate physical therapy and exercise for pregnant women instructed by a trained therapist can help strengthen the soft tissues and muscles around the lumbar spine .2
- Flexion exercises help make the abdominal muscles stronger, improve core strength, and decrease the lumbar curve.2
- Extension exercises help increase strength in the paraspinal muscles that provide stability to the spine.2
Physical therapy and exercise to reduce back pain in pregnancy include low-impact options, such as pelvic tilts, knee-to-chest stretch, straight leg raise, curl-ups, side-lying leg raise, and the Kegel exercises.2
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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Stop Lifting Heavy Items
The current advice by doctors is that the maximum weight a pregnant woman should lift in her late pregnancy should be 25% less from what she was able to lift before she became pregnant.But that is a piece of advice from doctors that leave you shaking your head. How in the world should someone know what 25% is?So our recommendation is simple: make sure you do not carry anything that is heavy. Period.That means you should not carry all your groceries from your weekly run to the supermarket yourself. Ask someone to carry it for you, especially when you already have lower back pain!
Search Strategy And Study Selection
We conducted a literature search using the OvidSP search platform in 3 bibliographic databases – Medline, Medline In-Process and Embase, using indexing terms related to pregnancy, LBP, and neuraxial techniques to include articles indexed as of November 13, 2015. The search was limited to human data in pregnant and post-partum patients and restricted to the English language.
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Management Of Back Pain In Pregnancy
The treatment of back pain in pregnancy depends on the stage of pregnancy, underlying cause, aggravating factors, and the presence of other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems. Both medical and psychological treatments may be warranted in some cases when the ability to perform daily activities and participation in social events is significantly affected, impairing the quality of life.
The management approach is typically multidisciplinary and may include treatments from an obstetrician, orthopedic specialist, neurologist, and/or neurosurgeon. Physicians evaluate the posture, range of motion in the lower extremities, leg-length inequality, tendon reflexes, gait pattern, joint pain, and the degree of curvature in the lower spine. Maintaining an optimal level of function throughout the gestation period and having the least amount of discomfort are the main goals of treatment for back pain during pregnancy.
After the warning signs and symptoms are ruled out, treatment options typically include postural correction, physical therapy, medical management, and/or surgical intervention.
What Are Some Causes Of Back Pain During Pregnancy
There are several reasons why you may experience back pain during pregnancy. Sone of the most common causes include:
- Weight gain: As you gain weight during pregnancy, the spine has to support that added weight. That change causes lower back pain. The weight of the growing baby and uterus can also put pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back, causing pain.
- Changes in hormones: During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and joints to loosen in preparation for giving birth. The hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen as well. This, along with the shifting of joints, can lead to instability and pain.
- Changes in posture: Poor posture, excessive standing or sitting, and bending over can trigger or increase your back pain. In addition, while youre pregnant, your center of gravity shifts forward as your uterus and baby grow, causing your posture and the way you move to change. This can result in strain and pain.
- Stress: Stress can cause muscle tension in the back, resulting in back pain or back spasms. You may experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
- Chronic back pain prior to pregnancy.
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Natural Ways To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
When your baby bump is causing back pain, there are plenty of things you can do to feel better without taking over-the-counter pain killers.
During pregnancy, that bowling ball, a.k.a. baby, inside your uterus changes your whole centre of gravity, which results in your pelvis arahifting forward. This can lead to a common form of back pain known as pelvic girdle pain , which spans from the middle lower back area all the way around to your hips and pubic bone, says Sarah Mickeler, chiropractor and founder of West End Mamas, a clinic in Toronto that specializes in pre- and postnatal care.
At the same time, in order to compensate for this forward shift in their pelvis, many women naturally lean backward, which increases the curve of their lower back, potentially leading to low-back pain. Ouch!
All of this can add up to a lot of aches and pains, but the good news is there are a number of ways to prevent and treat it. Pregnancy does not have to hurt, says Mickeler. Here are some ways to find relief from pregnancy-related back pain.
Book A Physical Therapy Appointment
Physical therapists, in addition to treating acute injuries, help pregnant women work through back pain by manipulating joints, muscles, and nerve pressure points and providing exercises that expectant moms can continue at home. Rick Olderman, M.S.P.T., a Denver-based physical therapist and the author of Fixing You: Back Pain During Pregnancy, says that one of his goals is to educate patients by “teaching them how to walk, sit, stand, bend forward, lie down, and exercise” in a healthy, back-supporting way.
One thing he does is placing tape on the backs of pregnant women’s knees to “remind them to unlock their knees,” a habit that can put pressure on the large muscles of the legs and hip joints and the back, he says. Because women’s joints become lax as a result of hormonal changes, Olderman also helps show women the importance of limiting their joints’ ranges of motion to about 75 percent. “It may feel good to stretch, but the tissue stress becomes greater,” he says, and can actually exacerbate pain. Some health insurance plans cover physical therapy, which is not always the case with other complementary therapies.
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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.
Reasons For Back Pain In Pregnancy
Back pain can occur during any trimester, though it frequently arises in later months as the babyand your bellygrows. The pain can be mild or severe, and it often occurs in the lower back. Some women have greater odds going into pregnancy, such as women who are overweight and those who already have back problems.
You dont have to have pre-existing back problems, however. Pregnancy itself changes your body in ways that can lead to back pain. For example, as your uterus becomes heavier, extra strain is placed on your back muscles, which can alter your posture and cause discomfort.
Pregnancy changes your center of gravity and accentuates the curve in the lower back, Dr. Meyer explains. Weak abdominal muscles and core strength will make the back curvature changes worse, since these muscles stabilize your back. This, in turn, can cause pain.
But thats not all. When youre pregnant, your body releases a hormone called relaxin that loosens ligamentsthe tissue that connects bones to each otherin your pelvis. This loosening can affect back support and contribute to pain.
Other reasons women experience back pain during pregnancy includebut are not limited tostress, poor posture, too much standing, injury and trauma.
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A Final Word On Pregnancy Back Pain
Sometimes, back pain during pregnancy is just par for the course.
But sometimes, its not. According to Mayo Clinic:
Keep in mind that back pain during pregnancy might be a sign of preterm labor or a urinary tract infection. If you have back pain during pregnancy thats accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever or burning during urination, contact your health care provider right away.
Make sure to keep your provider apprised on your back pain from visit to visit, and dont hesitate to call in with concerns in between appointment. The nurse line is there for a reason, and they know what to listen for youre not bothering them.
Overall, hang in there! Pregnancy is one wild ride, full of ups and downs.
But I hope that this article gives you a bit of relief, so you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.
Ways To Deal With Pregnancy’s Aches And Pains
As youve surely learned by now, pregnancy comes with lots of aches, pains and strange symptoms. The good news? All that soreness means your body is getting ready for delivery! As you get further into pregnancy, your ligaments loosen up to give baby more room to break out of your womb which unfortunately leads to feelings of wobbliness and pressure for you, especially around your hips and pelvis. You might not feel total relief until baby is out of your belly and in your arms, but here are a few ways to ease the aches at least a little.
Take a hike
Okay, not up Pikes Peak, but at least a nice stroll. Keeping light exercise in your routine can energize your body and help you cope with the sore spots.
Managing your nutrition increases energy levels, keep your weight gain in check and gives your body an overall advantage.
Dont be ashamed to just lay back and kick your feet up when you feel like it. Propping up your heels helps blood flow and reduces the risk of clots and swelling.
Take a dip
The soothing weightlessness of swimming can help ease some of the pressure on your body and provides a bit of low-impact exercise.
Heat it up
Try placing a heating pad at the small of your back to soothe the soreness. To make your own heating pad, fill a cotton tube sock with plain white rice, tie up the loose end, and pop it in the microwave until its nice and warm .
Get a rubdown
Cushion while you snooze
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Never Forget Exercise And Good Posturing
Nothing can take the place of practicing a good posture in preventing and managing back pain. From simple acts like holding your chest high and standing and sitting up straight to practicing exercises like low backstretch and yoga under the supervision of an instructor can help to straighten the spine and relieve the pressure the abdomen places on the spine.
Practical Ways To Deal With Back Pain In Pregnancy
Dealing with back pain in pregnancy is sadly a reality for many women, in fact its estimated that about 50% of women in the US will have a significant complaint of back ache during the nine months.
And its not just back pain, women can also suffer from nerve related conditions such as Sciatica and Meralgia Paresthetica. Combine this with the fact that medical professionals advise the use of paracetamol only as pain relief medication, and the nine months of pregnancy suddenly feels a whole lot longer!
Here are six alternatives to deal with back pain in pregnancy:
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