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How To Help Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Stop Lifting Heavy Items

Managing low back pain during pregnancy

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!

Ways To Get Relief From Back Pain During Pregnancy

Here are 7 tips that can help you get rid of pregnancy back pain

Back pain is one of the most common complications during pregnancy, but it doesn’t mean its easy to handle, especially on top of other physical and hormonal changes during this phase.

Back pain may be because of the change of center of gravity, weight gain, weight of the developing fetus or stress on the pelvic muscles.

Whatever may be the reason, there are ways one can manage it, and here are 7 ways according to the doctors of Mayo Clinic that can help you relieve your back pain during pregnancy:

How Often Should You Do These Stretches And How Long For

The more often you get to do these stretches, the better. When I was pregnant I would hold them for 15 to 20 seconds and do them about 3-4 times a day in the morning when I woke up, before going to bed in the evening, and any time in between during the day when I felt like I needed to move.

Keep in mind we don’t need to aim for the most intense sensation ever! We’re actually just looking for that initial gentle pull which begins to get your body moving in different ways, so dont feel you need to push too hard into these stretches.

While these stretches help to manage or prevent pain, they also have the benefit of helping to prepare your pelvis for the essential mobility that it needs to get ready for birth.

Recommended Reading: When You Hurt Your Lower Back

Dont Let Cramps And Back Pain Ruin Your Pregnancy Experience

We understand that cramping and lower back pain in early pregnancy can be confusing, painful, and stressful. Despite this, however, it is important not to let those symptoms ruin the incredible experience youre in the middle of.

While its easy to get overwhelmed by whats happening with your body, the end result is really something to marvel at.

If youve experienced cramping and lower back pain during pregnancy, what types of pregnancy back pain relief did you use?

How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy

Nonpharmacologic Remedies for Back Pain During Pregnancy ...

Back pain is incredibly common during pregnancy, in fact, it affects more than two-thirds of pregnant women and is experienced in varying degrees of severity by most expectant women.

Though most women experience some level of general discomfort during pregnancy, 50 to 70 percent of women specifically report struggling with back pain during pregnancy.

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So Should I Just Put Up With It Or Can I Actually Do Something About It

You can definitely do something to help this!

So many pregnant women think that they have to put up with this because its to be expected during pregnancy no!

Whilst it may be common, that doesnt mean it cant be treated.

Besides, if you had a choice, I dont know a woman that wouldnt want to rid herself of pain.

Lets work together to keep you mobile and strong in your third trimester and then give you the energy, strength and mobility to power on through labour and birth!

To improve pelvic pain you should

How Can I Avoid And Reduce Back Pain

  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Change positions and move frequently.
  • Avoid bending arching, and twisting motions, you will feel less discomfort.
  • When lifting heavy things, keep your back straight and use your leg muscles instead of your back when picking things up.
  • Whenever you are sitting, put your feet up on a stool or box so your hips tilt forward and the curve in your lower back flattens out.
  • Many women get pain relief from using moist heat or cold packs, getting a massage, or sitting in a warm bath.
  • Some women find wearing supportive, low-heeled shoes or an abdominal support binder can also help. Gentle exercise, along with walking 20 minute most days, can relieve or lessen back pain. Exercise helps strengthen the back muscles, decrease muscle tightness and spasm, and keep the joints in good position.
  • Sleeping on your side with a body pillow in your arms and between your knees may help as well.

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Third Trimester Back Pain

Your third trimester is when lower back pain may be the worst. Your belly is heavier, putting considerably more stress on your back and your center of gravity shifts to the front of your body as baby grows and you will find yourself leaning backwards for relief. However, by continuing to lean backwards, you are adding strain on your lower back. Your body is preparing for labor and your joints are loosening, resulting in subtle posture shifts that can have a big effect.

You may also be more sedentary due to fatigue, and as your baby gets larger and runs out of room to move in your womb, it will put direct pressure on your abdominal muscles that help stabilize the spine and support the back depending on their positioning.

Think About Your Posture

5 Easy Exercises To Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

When youre standing up, keep your head up and your shoulders back as much as you can.

When sitting on a chair, try to keep:

  • your hips level with or slightly higher than your knees
  • your bottom at the back of the chair
  • your back supported by the chair
  • your feet resting flat on the floor.

If you work in an office, the top of your computer screen should be set up just below eye level. Your keyboard should be at a comfortable height so your forearms are flat. Try to get up regularly so you dont get stiff.

Try not to slump when youre sitting on the sofa. Use cushions to support your back and have your feet resting on the floor. It may help to lie on your side if you are watching TV or relaxing.

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Safety Tips For Exercising While Pregnant:

  • After your first trimester, avoid exercising while lying flat on your back.
  • This position causes the uterus to put pressure on a major vein called the inferior vena cava, which pumps blood back to your heart. Impeding this blood flow can make you dizzy, short of breath or nauseated.
  • Exercise in a safe environment and avoid uneven terrain. As you gain weight during pregnancy, your center of gravity will shift and can affect your sense of balance.
  • Wear supportive shoes.
  • Avoid over-heating and drink water before, during and after exercise.
  • Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. If you cannot talk while exercising, slow down the activity or take small breaks.
  • Changes In Center Of Gravity

    Your center of gravity is the imaginary spot around which all parts of your body are balanced.

    Its normally located at the sacrum bone near the second sacral level.

    This is your lower back!

    As a womans abdomen grows, the center of gravity shifts, altering the way gravity acts on her body.

    Read More: Risk of lower back pain increases with weight.

    The natural lower back curve is also accentuated, adding stress to the lumbar spine. Additionally, muscles, ligaments, and joints have to work harder to keep her body upright.

    The outcome of all these changes is often lower back pain. Back problems that were already present can worsen, as well.

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    Is Lower Back Pain In Early Pregnancy A Sign Of Miscarriage Or Ectopic Pregnancy

    While most cramping and lower back pain in early pregnancy is nothing to be concerned about, both can be signs of serious problems. Contact your medical provider immediately if youre concerned.

    Back pain and abdominal pains in early pregnancy can sometimes be the first thing women notice if theyre suffering from a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

    Abdominal pain in early pregnancy is predominant with both of these conditions, but it is often confused with lower back pain.

    If youre experiencing cramping and lower back pain in early pregnancy that will not let up, increase in intensity, or occur at regular, close intervals like contractions, call your OB or midwife.

    Also contact your doctor if your stomach pain is accompanied by bleeding or spotting, especially heavy bleeding with bright red blood.

    Its easier said than done, we know, but try not to worry too much until you talk to your healthcare provider. Always call your doctor if your cramping and lower back pain are accompanied by other symptoms, especially vaginal bleeding or passing tissue.

    But feel free to contact them anytime youre concerned. Thats what theyre there for!

    Frequency And When It Presents

    Nonpharmacologic Remedies for Back Pain During Pregnancy ...

    Research shows that around 50% of people who are pregnant will experience low back pain during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. Low back pain during pregnancy can be mild or associated with specific activities. For some people, it can be chronicthat is, pain is persistent and lasts more than three months.

    One-third of pregnant people will suffer from severe low back pain that reduces their quality of life, while 10% report that low back pain affects their daily routine and ability to work. For most people, low back pain starts between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy, but for some, low back pain may occur earlier.

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    Prepare A Complete Medical History

    Let your provider know your history of any traumatic back or pelvic injuries, herniated discs, chronic back pain, scoliosis or surgical treatments . This information is not only important for managing low back pain during pregnancy.

    It is also very important for your anesthesiologist, should you need spinal anesthesia or an epidural. (This has nothing to do with whether you want pain control for labor or not.

    This is in the event that you need anesthesia you want your Anesthesiologist to be prepared.)

    Symptoms Of Back Labor Vs Back Pain Or Typical Labor

    If youre wondering what it feels like when your babys sunny-side up or how you can tell the difference between back labor and plain ole pregnancy back pain, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

    • Back labor will set in when youre actively in labor. Dont worry that the aches and pains that you may be feeling in your back are a sure sign of back labor theyre not. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ticks them off as regular back pain that comes from strain on your back muscles, weak abdominal muscles, and pregnancy hormones.
    • Heres where it can get confusing: Regular contractions come and go, giving you time to catch your breath between contractions. But back labor may not give you that rest. You may feel a constant pain in your lower back that becomes especially intense at the height of a contraction.
    • If you go into labor preterm you probably wont have back labor. Some experts says that back labor is more likely if youve passed week 40.

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    Clinical Studies On Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

    Shaw reports the results of a chiropractic and medical collaborative study indicating that 75% of pregnant patients who received chiropractic care during their pregnancies stated that they found relief from pain. In addition, a retrospective chart review of 400 pregnancies and deliveries investigated the relationship between pregnancy and low back pain. The results of this survey support the hypothesis that back pain, pregnancy, and labor are associated, and emphasize the need for further studies. Findings indicated relief from back pain during the pregnancy in 84% of the cases. The authors also noted that chiropractic manipulation may significantly decrease the incidence of back labor. The relative risk of experiencing back labor was almost 3 times greater if back pain was experienced during the pregnancy.

    It has also been reported that there may be a relationship between back pain throughout pregnancy and a longer duration of the labor and delivery process. A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times.

    Types Of Back Pain And When They Might Occur During Pregnancy

    Exercises for Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy

    There are many types of pain, and different people experience pain in different ways and at different times. For example, you might notice sharp jabs when you make certain movements, like getting out of a car or walking up a flight of stairs. Or, you might have muscle cramps or spasms when you sit or sleep in certain positions. Pain can come on suddenly or slowly, and you might feel anything from a sharp pain to a constant dull pressure or a throbbing ache that comes and goes. You might even experience a combination of these sensations. Sometimes it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact site of the pain. For example, you might have trouble distinguishing back pain from soreness in your pelvis or hip.

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    Strengthen Your Back Muscles

    Since your back is at risk, it makes sense to strengthen it. Starting early in your pregnancy, engage in light weight-lifting exercises that can help to strengthen your lower back.

    Some examples are:

    • Deadlifts: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Using light weights or even none at all, bend at your waist and allow your hands to hang toward the floor. Keep your core and pelvic floor tight, and maintain full control as you bend down and come back up. Deadlifts are also used by serious weightlifting competitors and are often done with heavy weights. If you are pregnant, remember to use light weights to avoid injury it doesnt take much to strengthen your lower back. Youre just trying to avoid back pain not win a weightlifting competition!
    • Arm and leg lifts: Get on all fours on the floor. Slowly extend one leg back and then up, maintaining full control the whole time. If you are able, lift the opposite arm and point it straight out. However, if you feel uncomfortable or if you are not able to maintain your balance, omit the arms or do them separately.

    Find The Proper Shoes

    You may be a fashion maven who receives regular compliments on your maternity style, but if you’re wearing high-fashion shoes, you’re not doing your back any favors. “High heels increase the curvature of your back and create pressure” that drives the weight of your pregnancy directly into your lower spine and hip joints, Dr. Rosser says. You may also lose your balance and heels cause you to be less stable.

    But walking in flats isn’t the answer either, because they leave your feet, which tend to spread during pregnancy because of hormonal changes, unsupported. Poor foot position can manifest itself as imbalance and pain all the way up your legs and back. To get the best support-and to relieve the most pressure-Dr. Rosser advises a low-heeled shoe that is comfortable with either a built-in arch support or an orthotic insertion. The slight rise of the low heel will help distribute the weight that’s on your legs in a more stable and back-supportive way.

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    Stretch 3 Thoracic And Shoulder Stretch

    How to do it:

  • With your hands on the counter/chair or even a wall, walk the feet a little further back till you can comfortably let your shoulders and chest lower down.

  • Feel free to bend the knees a little if there is too much sensation down the back of your legs. The aim with this stretch is to help open up the shoulders and get the upper back moving more freely.

  • Hold for 10-60 seconds, as often as you can throughout the day.

  • If you have any concerns with a large abdominal separation or feel a bit unsupported here, you may prefer to do this stretch with your hands on a wall, above shoulder height when you are standing.

  • How it helps

  • Allowing the upper part of the spine to move more easily takes more of the load off the lower back

  • Forward leaning again for baby’s position and to give mum’s back a break.

  • This stretch is SO great for new mamas who are doing a lot of carrying and feeding!

  • Is Lower Back Pain Normal In Early Pregnancy

    5 Best Pregnancy Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises

    Yes. This pain in your lower spine or even your pelvis is caused by a pregnancy hormone called relaxin, which makes your ligaments and joints relax and become looser, so your body is ready to give birth. In fact 5080% of womenexperience back pain during pregnancy.

    According to the NHS, ‘during pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.’

    Pregnancy hormones temporarily loosen your ligaments, making your back vulnerable. Add in the effect a bump has on your posture and the pressure of a baby on your spinal nerves, and its easy to see why back problems are so prevalent in mums.

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