Here Bodytonic Clinic Share Their Top 13 Ways That Women Can Alleviate The Symptoms Of Pregnancy
It is very common for pregnant women to experience back pain, especially during the early trimesters of their pregnancy. In fact, 50% of women will experience back pain during pregnancy, in some capacity. Unfortunately, back pain can be very irritating and uncomfortable to deal with, especially whilst managing your other pregnancy symptoms too. To help you through this time, Bodytonic Clinic has brought you their top tips for dealing with back pain through your pregnancy.
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.
Lower Back Pain In Pregnancy
Mechanical instability in the lumbar spine and pelvis commonly results in lower back pain in pregnant women.
- The lumbar spine undergoes compensatory lordosisan increase in the reverse C-shaped curvaturewhich causes excess strain on the lumbar joints, muscles, ligaments, and discs.
- The psoas muscle in the hip, which stabilizes the spine and helps in hip and leg movements, is shortened due to the compensatory lordosis, exacerbating the lower back pain symptoms.2
Lower back pain symptoms may start at any time during pregnancy. These symptoms may feel like:
- A dull ache or sharp, burning pain in the lower back area
- One-sided pain in the right or left area of the lower and/or mid-back
- Pain that radiates into the back of the thigh and leg, and sometimes into the foot
- Foot drop, a condition characterized by the inability to lift the front part of the foot while walking
Sciatica symptoms typically occur if a lower lumbar and/or upper sacral nerve root is impinged in the lower spine due to a lumbar herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, facet joint disorder, or muscle sprain and spasm.
Women with a history of back pain, pre-existing lower back disorders, multiple pregnancies, and/or those who are in the younger or older age-groups may be at a higher risk of developing lower back pain in pregnancy.2
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Thigh Pain In Pregnancy
Temporary compression, pulling, and/or loss of blood supply to a peripheral nerve may occur in the thigh during pregnancy. The swelling of soft tissues and pressure from the growing uterus may add additional pressure on these nerves.
Thigh pain may occur under these circumstances when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve gets compressed. This nerve provides sensation to the waist area and the front and side of the thigh.2
Compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve results in a condition called meralgia paresthetica, which causes one or more of the following symptoms, typically on one side of the body6:
- Burning or achy pain in the outer side and/or front of the thigh
- A cold, icy feeling in different parts of the thigh
- Buzzing or vibrations in the thigh
Meralgia paresthetica pain increases with activity, such as while standing or walking, and alleviates when sitting.6
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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Path To Improved Well Being
There are several causes of back pain during pregnancy. These are due to changes that occur in your body.
Pressure on back muscles
As your baby grows, your uterus expands and becomes heavier. This puts added weight on your back muscles. You may find yourself leaning backward or arching your low back. The pressure can lead to back pain or stiffness.
Weakness in stomach muscles
Your growing baby also puts pressure on your stomach muscles. This can cause them to stretch and weaken. Your stomach and back muscles are connected. Your back muscles have to work harder to offset your belly.
Pregnancy can alter your center of gravity. The way you move, sit, and stand can cause pain to your back and other parts of your body. A compressed nerve due to poor posture also can cause pain.
Many hormones change when you are pregnant for different reasons. Later in your pregnancy, hormones increase to relax the muscles and ligaments in your pelvis. This prepares your body for labor. If your muscles and ligaments become too loose, it can lead to back pain.
Anxiety and built-up tension can make your back muscles tight or stiff.
To help prevent back pain, be mindful of how you sit, stand, sleep, and move.
If you have back pain, these tips can help relieve soreness and stiffness.
Causes Of Back Pain During Early Pregnancy
One of the major culprits of back pain during pregnancy is the action of hormones. The function of these hormones in pregnancy is to prepare the ligaments and joints in your pelvis for childbirth, but they can act on any joint in your body too. Bob explains back pain during early pregnancy is really due to hormonal changes particularly with progesterone and relaxin. Their job is to prepare the pelvic cavity for pregnancy. These hormones help to relax the pelvic muscles and loosen the ligaments and soft tissues, which can lead to the back being overburdened.
For some newly expectant mothers, back pain is an early sign of pregnancy. Early pregnancy back pain can be exacerbated by worries about the baby and the pregnancy and related stress which can increase muscle tension and cause discomfort. Other stresses such as family, work or other issues, coupled with the release of progesterone and relaxin which are helping your joints and ligaments get ready for the process of giving birth, are bound to contribute to an aching back.
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What Causes Severe Back Pain During Pregnancy 5 Causes
During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is a very important hormone in pregnancy because it allows the ligaments in the joints of the pelvic area to relax and prepares your body for the whole birthing process.
The downside is that this same hormone can also cause the ligaments which support the spine to loosen and create instability, causing you severe back pain.
Weight gain is a given in pregnancy. Women typically gain about 25 35 pounds, which is completely normal in a healthy pregnancy.
The side-effect of weight gain is that the spine has to make some serious adjustments in order to support the weight of your growing baby.
The baby and uterus also put added pressure on the nerves and blood vessels around the back and pelvis area, which can cause severe back pain.
Center of Gravity Changes
Your body is starting to gain weight which causes a change in your center of gravity.
As your baby grows, your center of gravity will start shifting forward . This puts a lot of strain on your back as you try to overcompensate your muscles to stay balanced.
So many things change in your body during pregnancy which can lead to emotional stress. Its been proven that our emotions can affect us physically too.
This can cause unnecessary tension in the back to where you may experience muscle spasms and back pain.
Muscle Separation AKA Diastasis Recti
As your uterus expands so does your rectal abdominal muscles.
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.
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When Should I Be Concerned About Rib Pain
If you have concerns about rib pain or nothing seems to be helping, its a good idea to call your doctor.
Call, too, if youre having rib pain in your upper abdomen, particularly if its flaring up under the ribs on the right side of your body. Pain that appears in this area is a possible symptom of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication thats characterized by high blood pressure. Other signs of preeclampsia include severe headaches, changes in vision and nausea.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain or discomfort is common during pregnancy and should be expected to some degree by most women. Back pain may be experienced during any point of your pregnancy however, it most commonly occurs later in pregnancy as baby grows.Back pain can disrupt your daily routine or interfere with a good night of sleep. The good news is there are steps you can take to manage the back pain that you experience.
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What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain during pregnancy is related to a number of factors. Some women begin to have lower back pain with the onset of pregnancy. Women who are most at risk for back pain are those who are overweight or had back pain prior to pregnancy.Here is a list of potential causes of back pain or discomfort during pregnancy:
- Increase of hormones Hormones released during pregnancy allow ligaments in the pelvic area to soften and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birthing process this shift in joints and loosening of ligaments may affect the support your back normally experiences.
- Center of gravity Your center of gravity will gradually move forward as your uterus and baby grow, which causes your posture to change.
- Additional weight Your developing pregnancy and baby create an additional weight that your back must support.
- Posture or position Poor posture, excessive standing, and bending over can trigger or escalate the pain you experience in your back.
- Stress Stress usually accumulates in weak areas in the body, and because of the changes in your pelvic area, you may experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
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.
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How Can You Prevent Back Pain During Pregnancy
How Does Rib Pain Change During Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, you may not experience any rib pain at all. Some women, however, will feel rib pain during the later stages of their pregnancy when their body starts to stretch in earnest. Heres how rib pregnancy can change as the months progress:
- First trimester: Because rib pain is often caused by an ever-expanding body particularly a uterus that keeps stretching to accommodate a growing baby it doesnt tend to occur in the first trimester. By the end of the first trimester, its likely that your baby weighs only an ounce or less. Whats more, many women dont gain very much weight in the first few months of their pregnancies. Those who have morning sickness may even lose a few pounds.
- Second trimester: As your baby continues to grow, you may experience some rib pain and shortness of breath, which crops up as your growing uterus pushes up against your diaphragm and compresses your lungs.
- Third trimester: Rib pain tends to continue later in pregnancy, when the uterus is expanding in earnest and putting more pressure on the ribs. Your baby is also growing bigger and likely throwing a few jabs or kicks into your ribs too.
The good news: In the weeks before you deliver, your baby often gets ready for birth by dropping into the pelvis, which takes the pressure off your ribs .
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When To Contact Your Health Care Provider
Experiencing back pain is usually not a reason to contact your health care provider, but there are situations where contacting your provider is necessary.You want to contact your health care provider if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Severe back pain
- Increasingly severe or abrupt-onset of back pain
- Rhythmic cramping painsThis could be a sign of preterm labor.
Severe back pain may be related to pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, vertebral osteoarthritis, or septic arthritis. These are not common, but it is something your health care provider will examine for if you are experiencing severe back pain.
Frequency And When It Presents
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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Looking After Your Back During Pregnancy
Backache during pregnancy is very common, especially in the later stages when your ligaments loosen and the growing baby affects your posture. The stress on your body caused by pregnancy also puts you at greater risk of back injury.
One reason why your back is at particular risk of injury is that you gain a lot of weight in your abdomen. This puts extra strain on the arch in your lower back and it can also strain the joints.
The changes to your hormones during pregnancy cause your ligaments to relax, which can aggravate your lower spine and pelvis.
If you are unfit, overweight or if you smoke, you are more likely to experience backache or sciatica during pregnancy. Regular exercise can reduce this risk.