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What Can I Do For Back Pain During Pregnancy

Does Back Pain Mean Miscarriage

What can I do for lower back pain and hip pain during pregnancy?

Back pain can occur in both early and late miscarriage. It is possible to experience back pain throughout pregnancy without it relating to a miscarriage, as it is a normal side-effect of carrying a growing fetus in the womb. However, intense pain in the lower back is commonly a feature of late miscarriage.

See A Physical Therapist

If your pain is severe or other interventions are not quite doing the trick, a physical therapist may be able to help. Our goal is to reduce muscle tension while preserving muscle strength and correcting the instability that causes the pain.

We will create a personalized plan for you that may include stretching and breathing exercises that can help relax the pelvic floor muscles and improve their length. We may fit you for a belt or brace to help stabilize the pelvis. Therapy may also include manipulation of the tailbone and myofascial release of the pelvic floor muscles that anchor onto the tailbone, from both internally and externally, which can further reduce muscle tension and pain.

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How Can Back Pain During Pregnancy Be Treated

Back pain is very common in pregnancy and is usually not serious. While it may not be completely preventable, there are some changes you can make to reduce the severity or frequency of your back pain. Some treatments for back pain include:

While these treatments can help reduce symptoms of back pain, some small changes in your habits can also help prevent triggering or worsening back pain. Some changes are:

  • If you need to pick something up from the ground, squat down instead of bending over.
  • Avoid wearing high heels or other shoes that do not provide adequate support.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back.
  • Elevate your feet often, especially when sitting for a prolonged period of time.
  • Wear a support belt or support hose, if needed.

Unless you experienced chronic back pain prior to pregnancy, your pain will most likely ease gradually before you give birth.

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What You Need To Know About Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica will most likely occur during the third trimester, when both you and your baby are bulking up . Most women typically experience pain just on one side, though you may feel it in both legs.

Sciatica can be constant or intermittent, depending on the amount of pressure placed on the nerve. Pain may increase as you put on more weight and retain more fluid.

And it can stick around for a few months or so after youve given birth, until youve shed the excess weight and fluid pressing on the nerve.

Is Walking Good For Upper Back Pain

How to Soothe Your Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

Exercise and stretches These muscles help support your spine. Exercise will also strengthen the muscle groups that support your mid-back to help relieve back muscle pain. Both specific exercises and stretches for this region together with general exercise, such as swimming, walking, cycling, are recommended.

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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.

When To Worry About Pregnancy Back Pain

Low back pain that’s worse when you’re standing but eases once you sit or lie down is considered normal during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor if the pain starts to radiate down your legs into your calves or feet interferes with daily activities or is associated with other symptoms such as fever, chills, weight loss, weakness, or sensory issues.

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When Can It Start

Low back pain can occur at any point in your pregnancy.

Some women experience discomfort or pain early in their first trimester, others may not experience anything until their third trimester and some are fortunate enough to experience no pain at all.

Experiencing pain early in your pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you will have pain through to the end, especially if you seek advice and treatment from your maternal health physiotherapist early.

Back Pain Is Common During Pregnancy But Can Be Reduced

Relieving Back Pain During Pregnancy

Back pain is a common part of pregnancy, especially in the later months. If youre pregnant, back pain may be making your life miserable.

You dont have to accept aches and pain as simply part of your condition, however. Consider the many things you can do to prevent or relieve back pain during pregnancy.

Many pregnant women can ease their back pain through postural awareness and exercises that relieve back strain, says Rebeca Sandoval, MD, an OB-GYN at Scripps Clinic Hillcrest. But if your back pain persists, seek medical attention. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your pain and ways to address it.

Women should consult with their health care provider before starting any new medications or treatments for any pregnancy-related discomfort, Dr. Sandoval adds.

Causes of back pain during pregnancy

Several factors can contribute to back pain during pregnancy, including weight changes, pregnancy hormones and a shift in posture.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause ligament laxity, especially where the pelvis and spine connect. This helps to prepare for passage of the baby through the birth canal, but it can lead to joint instability and cause back pain.

As the weight of the baby increases, so does pressure on the spine and pelvic areas. Women typically gain between 25- to 35-pounds during pregnancy.

There is also a change in the bodys center of gravity during pregnancy due to an expanding uterus. This can cause postural changes and put stress on the 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.

How Can I Keep My Back Strong During Pregnancy

As mentioned above, keeping yourself exercising and active throughout your pregnancy will give you the best chance at reducing any LBP

Dont feel like you have to wait until pain arises to do something about it. Consult your physiotherapist early and they can give you exercises to start to help reduce the likelihood of pain beginning.

Things that you can do to keep yourself fit and strong include

  • Walking: it does not have to be strenuous, but a light-moderate pace for approx. 30minutes per day
  • If you predominantly sit for work, try and get up out of the chair every hour and walk a lap around your office
  • Try sitting on a fit ball at work
  • Attend a pregnancy specific exercise class

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Who Is Most Likely To Have Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

You’re at higher risk for lower back pain if:

  • You’ve had this kind of pain before, either before you got pregnant or during a previous pregnancy
  • You have a sedentary lifestyle
  • You are not very flexible
  • You have weak back and weak abdominal muscles
  • You are carrying twins
  • You have a high BMI
  • You’ve had spinal fusion in the past for adolescent scoliosis

Other Remedies For Sciatic Nerve Pain

Pregnancy Exercises For Back 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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Is Back Pain Normal At 5 Months Pregnant

Studies show that lower back pain usually occurs between the fifth and seventh months of being pregnant, although in some cases it begins as early as eight to 12 weeks. Women with pre-existing lower back problems are at higher risk for back pain, and their back pain can occur earlier in their pregnancy.

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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Avascular Necrosis Of The Femoral Head

Biological changes in pregnancy resulting in high levels of natural steroids, including adrenocorticoid, estrogen, and progesterone hormones, combined with weight gain, may cause increased joint pressure and muscle strain in the hip. These changes may result in a condition called avascular necrosis of the upper part of the femoral bone . The condition causes destruction of bone tissue in the femoral head due to lack of blood supply.2

The symptoms of avascular necrosis of the femoral head start around the third trimester and include2:

  • Pain that is felt deep in the groin
  • Radiating and referred pain to the lower back, thigh, and/or knee

The symptoms are exacerbated on bearing weight, such as while standing and/or walking.

Treatments For Back Pain During Pregnancy

Managing low back pain during pregnancy

Try the following remedies to relieve your pregnancy backaches:

  • Consider getting a crisscross support sling or belly band. Designed specifically for a pregnant figure, these support bands can help take the burden off your lower back.
  • No reaching for the stars. Or items on the top shelf, for that matter. Use a low, stable step stool to avoid putting any additional strain on your back.
  • Think happy thoughts. A calm mind leads to a looser back. You can also try some prenatal yoga, which will relax both your mind and your back.
  • Strengthen your stomach. Do pelvic tilts to strengthen your abs, which in turn support your back. Or sit on an exercise ball and rock back and forth.
  • Go hot and cold. Soothe sore muscles by applying cold compresses, then warm compresses in 15-minute intervals.
  • Take a warm bath. Or, if you have a pulsating showerhead, turn it on for a free back massage.
  • Get a massage. Speaking of massages, go get one .
  • Talk to your doctor. Ask your practitioner about physical therapists, alternative medicine specialists such as acupuncturists, or chiropractors who might be able to help. You should also call your practitioner if you have severe back pain.

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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.

Contact Your Family Doctor If:

  • Your pain worsens or does not go away after 2 weeks. Back pain could be a sign of preterm labor.
  • You lose feeling in your back, legs, pelvis, or genital area.
  • You have a fever, a burning feeling when you pee, or vaginal bleeding. You may have a urinary tract infection or kidney infection.
  • You have an injury or trauma that results in back pain.

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What Exercises I Can Do To Ease Backache When I Pregnant

The gentle exercises below may help ease backache in pregnancy.

Stretches for lower backache:

  • sit with your bottom on your heels with your knees apart
  • lean forward towards the floor, resting your elbows on the ground in front of you
  • slowly stretch your arms forward
  • hold for a few seconds

Stretches for middle backache:

  • go down on your hands and knees
  • draw in lower tummy
  • hold for a few seconds
  • gently lower your back down as far as feels comfortable

Stretches for pain in the shoulder blades and upper back:

  • sit on a firm chair
  • brace your tummy muscles
  • interlock your fingers and lift your arms overhead
  • straighten your elbows and turn your palms upwards
  • hold for a few seconds

If back pain persists, changes or becomes severe, see your doctor or midwife for advice. They may advise you to see a physiotherapist. At any stage, if the back pain is associated with any , seek medical advice urgently.

How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy

5 Exercises to Help Get Rid of Back Pain During Pregnancy

More than 60 percent of pregnant women experience lower back pain, particularly posterior pelvic pain and lumbar pain .

You might have back pain in early pregnancy, but it usually starts during the second half of pregnancy and can get worse as your pregnancy progresses. It may persist after your baby arrives, but postpartum back pain usually goes away within a few months.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Back Pain In Pregnancy

  • Lower back pain. If you haven’t had it before, this is a dull pain which you feel when you bend forwards. It restricts your ability to move the lower section of your spine. Certain muscles in your back will hurt when pressed .
  • Pelvic girdle pain . This results from loose ligaments and joints in your pelvis. You may feel pain at the back of your pelvis, where there is a joint between your hip bone and the bottom bone in your spine. This joint is called the sacroiliac joint. The pain may be stabbing, shooting, dull or burning, and it may come and go. PGP can radiate into the back of your thighs too . If you also feel pain on or around your pubic bone at the front, you may have a type of PGP called symphysis pubis dysfunction .
  • getting up from sitting
  • walking for a long time
  • lifting and carrying small weights

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.

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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

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