What Are The Symptoms Of Back Pain During Pregnancy
The most common back pain for pregnant women is the lower back or lumbar pain. This occurs in the area of the lumbar vertebrae and/or the posterior pelvic. The pain can be dull or sharp, continuously or occurring at irregular intervals. The pain may also spread to the legs.
Posterior pelvic pain is felt lower on your body than lumbar pain, deep inside the buttocks or the back of your thighs. Standing or sitting for a lengthy time, lifting heavy things or climbing stairs may worsen the condition.
A small percentage of pregnant women may also suffer from sciatica, a condition caused by a herniated disk at the lower spine. The pain can radiate down to your legs and even your feet and toes. You may feel some numbness and tingling sensation in your legs. For serious sciatica cases, numbness can be felt in your genital area as well as difficulty to urinate or defecate.
Schedule A Chiropractic Consultation
Most chiropractors are skilled at adjusting soon-to-be moms. There are even special tables designed to accommodate the physical changes that take place during pregnancy.
Chiropractors arespecialists in spinal health. Well find the root cause of your lower back pain and devise a plan to reduce it.
Sometimes, the pain will resolve completely.
A pelvis free from misalignment and restriction can also make delivery easier.
Other Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain
A gentle massage over the lower section of your back can do a lot to help relieve inflammation and discomfort around your sciatic nerve. Its best to go to a professional masseuse, whos experienced in pregnancy-specific massages. A lot of spas even offer special mom-to-be massages to help relieve all of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, while also making sure you and baby are safe.
You can also use a tennis ball to give yourself a massage at home. If youre early on in your pregnancy, you can lay on your back with the tennis ball under your lower back to roll out the tension. As your pregnancy progresses, we recommend you do this while sitting against the back of a chair.
Make sure you avoid sitting for long periodsif you have a desk job get up and take a walk regularly. Its also a good idea to use heat packs on your lower back or buttocks while youre sitting, to help keep tension from forming in those muscles. Being mindful of your posture while sitting will also help reduce irritation around your sciatic nerve. Taking a warm bath, using over-the-counter pain relievers, or using a foam roller on your buttocks and lower legs are all great ways to ease the pain.
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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.
Strap On A Maternity Belt
If you have pelvic girdle pain around your middle lower back and hips, a maternity belt may relieve your pain. This support garment does the work of the ligaments, muscles and fascia of the girdle area, explains Richter. But, she cautions, it should not be worn all of the time, because those muscles will stop working and will need to be retrained after you have your baby. I usually recommend that clients wear them during more taxing activitiessuch as activities with lots of bending, lifting, walking or standingjust so theyre not in discomfort, she explains. And then I give them exercises to try and resolve the issue.
Mickeler warns against wearing the belts too tightly, which can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse. Because of this, its best to have a practitioner guide you on how to use one.
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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.
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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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.
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.
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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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How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy Tips From Experts To Feel Better
- 10 Jan 2022, 11:42 IST
Experiencing severe back pain during pregnancy? You are not alone! Lower back pain affects many women during pregnancy.
Dr V Aruna Kumari, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Sarjapur, Bangalore says, one of the obvious reasons is that you are carrying a lot of weight around your abdomen, affecting your back and posture. A woman goes through several physiologic changes that contribute to back and pelvic pain. Such changes can disrupt your normal day-to-day activities.
How The Intervention Might Work
Exercise therapy is a management strategy that is supervised or ‘prescribed’ and encompasses a group of interventions ranging from general physical fitness or aerobic exercise, to muscle strengthening, various types of flexibility/stretching or progressive muscle relaxation exercises. It is further defined as any program in which, during the therapy sessions, the participants were required to carry out repeated voluntary dynamic movements or static muscular contractions . Regular exercise can have both physical and psychological benefits, depending on the content of each programme, and the individuals adherence . The exercises recommended for pregnancyrelated LBP are similar to those used for nonspecific LBP, with minor modifications, and are thought to have a similar mechanism of action .
Yoga is a form of complementary and alternative medicine that incorporates a fluid transition through a number of poses , to promote improvements in joint range of motion, flexibility, muscular strength and resistance, balance, concentration and selfconfidence, and a series of breathing exercises that facilitate mental relaxation and introspection .
Progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation aims to relax muscles, reduce stress responses and decrease pain sensations. The technique involves deep breathing and progressive relaxation of major muscle groups, which promotes systematic relaxation .
Acupuncture, alone or with exercises
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Exercises To Support The Lower Back & Strengthen The Core
Here are three exercises that I relied on while pregnant, and I continue to use regularly with pregnant clients. They should be suitable for any pregnant woman since the range of motion is small and they are gentle motions. These movements shouldn’t hurt. If they bother you or increase your pain, stop immediately and consult a physical therapist who can offer other exercises better suited to you.
#1. Whole Abdomen StrengtheningSit up tall on a chair, hands clasped behind your head. Take deep breaths, and as you exhale, practice pulling your entire abdomen back toward your spine. Imagine your lower spine lengthening and softening as your abdominal muscles contract.
If you do not feel pain, add a small tilt backward as you exhale. Keep your spine straight, and try to feel the increased strength required of your abs to support your lower spine. The tilt can be super tinya little goes a long way.
#2. Standing Glute StrengthThis exercise is especially good for instability and pain in the SI joints. Stand up tall, with your heels together and your toes turned out in a V shape .
As you exhale, squeeze your glutes together, and feel how this helps you externally rotate your legs. At the same time, gently bring your abdomen back toward your lower back, imagining your lower back lengthening and softening.
Pregnancy is a great adventure, topped only by what comes after!
Complementary And Alternative Medical Treatments Provide Added Pain
Safe pregnancy pain management techniques that may be used along with conventional medicine or as an alternative option include one or a combination of the following treatments2:
Research indicates favorable results for these therapies when used under the guidance of a trained medical professional.
Back pain during pregnancy affects the lower musculoskeletal system, causing excessive strain on the lower back, hip, pelvis, and legs. Women who follow appropriate treatment protocols and engage in back and core strengthening therapy during early pregnancy can avoid or reduce the severity of lower back pain.2
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Causes Of Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
While added weight can be the culprit when it comes to pregnancy-related lower back pain, two other primary causes exist for the problem. These are the growth of the uterus itself and hormonal changes during pregnancy.
The expansion or growth of the uterus as a pregnancy progresses actually shifts a womans center of gravity. This alteration impacts the lower back, and sometimes significantly so.
It is something of a cliché to comment on the hormonal change that occurs during pregnancy. More often than not, the focus of that change is on a pregnant womans mood and related issues. However, it is important to understand that the hormonal change associated with pregnancy also loosens the ligaments and joints that connect to the spine. This change typically results in persistent lower back pain.
How To Reduce Back Pain
You can prevent back pain or reduce it by:
- wearing comfortable, supportive, low-heeled shoes
- not standing for long periods of time
- sitting with your bottom against the back of a chair and sitting up tall – put a small cushion at your lower back if needed
- tucking your hands under your bump for support if standing for long periods
- not lifting heavy objects – if you need to lift anything, bend your knees and keep a straight back
- staying active with gentle exercises and stretching
- being aware of your posture
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Description Of The Intervention
European guidelines recommend that LBP and PP , are managed by providing adequate information and reassurance to patients that it is best to stay active, continue normal daily activities and work if possible, and by offering individualised exercises where appropriate. Similarly, prenatal practitioners in the United Kingdom and Nordic countries give women information about how to manage LBP, PP or both during their pregnancy and may refer them to physiotherapy for a more specific treatment programme. However, in the United States, women are taught that LBP is a normal part of pregnancy. Interventions that have been used to date to help manage the pain include exercises, frequent rest, hot and cold compresses, abdominal or pelvic support belts, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbs, yoga, Reiki, paracetamol, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs .
For this review, we conducted a broad search for studies that assessed the effects of any intervention that prevented or treated LBP, PP, or a combination of both for women at any stage of their pregnancy. We identified studies investigating the effects of: exercise , pelvic belts, osteopathic manipulative therapy , spinal manipulative therapy , neuro emotional technique , craniosacral therapy , transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation , kinesiotaping , yoga, acupuncture, acupuncture plus exercises, and a multimodal approach incorporating manual therapy, exercise and education.
Think About Your Posture
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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What Are The Best Options For Pregnancy Back Pain Relief
Once youve determined that a critical problem is not causing your cramping and lower back pain in early pregnancy, the fun part beginstrying to figure out how to find pregnancy back pain relief!
A sad reality of pregnancy is that cramping and lower back pain can continue throughout the entire pregnancy.
This means looking for ways to alleviate the problem since many medications are not recommended during pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor about relief methods that are safe for you. Here are some that the mothers in our community have found to be the most effective for pregnancy back pain relief.
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
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