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What Helps With Back Pain During Pregnancy

Get A Prenatal Massage

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A certified prenatal massage therapist can bring quick relief when back pain is acute, especially when it’s the result of muscular clenching that irritates nerves and sends pain signals to the brain. Research has shown that in addition to relieving pain, regular prenatal massage can help alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnancy.

Swedish massage is the most common and advisable method of prenatal massage because it is gentle and soothing, and it uses long, smooth strokes that won’t aggravate the joints or push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way. Women should first consult with their doctors to make sure prenatal massage is safe and then make sure the prenatal massage therapist is certified. To be comfortable on the massage table, a side-lying position is usually best.

How To Treat Or Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy

  • Maintain a good posture

    As the centre of gravity shifts forward due to the increasing growth of the baby, women have to lean back to avoid falling forward, which can strain their back muscles. To improve your posture, you should try to stand straight and tall. While sitting, you can place a rolled cloth or towel behind your back for support. Keep your shoulders and back relaxed. If you are standing, try to pull your hips forward.

  • Massage your back

    In case of a backache, you can apply a heating pad or ice pack and massage. After consulting your doctor, you can put cold compression on your back for a few minutes. After 2-3 days, you can switch to a heating pad and apply it to the area.

    Your sleeping position during pregnancy makes a lot of difference. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

  • Do physical activities

    Do some gentle physical activities, but only after consulting your doctor. Try to do some pregnancy-safe stretching exercises which can give you relief from back pain. Stretch your lower back as well.

  • Sleep properly

    Always remember to sleep on your side and not on your back. You should keep your knees bent and put pillows between your knees for support.

  • Lift things in a proper way

    Avoid lifting any heavy objects. If you want to lift something, do not bend at the waist. Instead, squat down and lift the object with your legs, and not with the back.

  • Limiting Standing And Walking Reduces The Occurrence Of Back Pain

    If standing and/or walking causes or aggravates pregnancy back pain and leg pain, a maternity brace and comfortable walking shoes that provide shock-absorbing properties may be used. In general, any activity that includes long periods of standing and/or walking must be avoided and intermittent sitting must be performed.1

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    Other Causes Of Back Pain There Might Be Other Causes Of Your Increasing Back Pain Like:

    • Stress

      Stress can lead to back pain, irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. Excessive worrying about your baby, pregnancy, work, or family can lead to stress, which causes tightening and weakening of muscles.

    • Weight gain

      Due to weight gain during pregnancy, your back may find it hard to support the growing weight, therefore, causing strain on the muscles. This leads to pain in the lower back.

    • The posture of the body

      As your belly grows bigger, your posture will change due to the shift in the centre of gravity. This will lead to changes in posture while you are sitting, walking, or sleeping, and eventually, trigger back pain.

    • Muscle separation

      As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscles , which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the centre seam. This separation may worsen back pain.

      Gaining some weight during pregnancy is normal, but it may contribute to back pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

    • Round ligament pain is common and normal during pregnancy

    As the uterus and surrounding ligaments stretch to make room for the baby, it can cause short, painful spasms. Rest and other home remedies may help. But do call your healthcare provider, if the pain wont go away.

    Exercise Most Days Of The Week

    How To Deal With Back Pain During Pregnancy

    Research shows that compared with not exercising, prenatal exercise decreases the severity of low back pain during and following pregnancy. A review that included 135 studies concluded that prenatal exercise is safe and beneficial for the fetus. Try to spend 20 to 45 minutes on most days of the week walking, swimming, or cycling on a stationary bike at a mild to moderate intensity level.

    A strong core can also relieve pressure on your back and support proper posture during pregnancy.

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    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.

    Back Pain During Pregnancy: 7 Tips For Relief

    Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 20, 2021.

    Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint and it’s no wonder. You’re gaining weight, your center of gravity changes, and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis. Often, however, you can prevent or ease back pain during pregnancy. Consider seven ways to give pregnancy back pain the boot.

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    When To Call Your Doctor

    In most cases, mild aches and pains in your back will not need medical intervention. However, there are some situations where it would be a good idea to seek professional advice. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or you have any concerns about the pain, you should contact your midwife or GP.

    • Severe pain, or pain that lasts for more than two weeks.
    • Pain that starts and finishes abruptly.
    • Pins and needles in your fingers or toes
    • Back pain in the second or third trimester, as this could be a sign of an early labour.
    • Any fever, bleeding from your vagina or pain when you wee.
    • Pain in one or more of your sides, under your ribs.

    In extreme cases, where you lose feeling in one or both of your legs, your bum, or your genitals, the NHS advises you to call 999 or go to A& E.

    Bend And Lift Properly

    Managing low back pain during pregnancy

    Bending and lifting incorrectly can irritate spinal nerves. Its important to maintain good balance and center of gravity whenever possible.

    • Avoid lifting anything heavy.
    • If you must lift something, bend your knees and hinge your hips back. Never bend over with straight legs.
    • Try to bear equal weight in each hand when carrying groceries, items for work, etc. A backpack worn over both shoulders might be helpful, too.
    • Hold any objects youre carrying close to your body.

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    Back Pain Has A Trigger

    While not always the case, you can often identify what you were doing earlier in the day that may have triggered back pain. You may have been on your feet for too long, slept poorly, or lifted something that resulted in a muscle tear. Labor pains tend to come on without a specific trigger, whereas back pain is a chronic condition.

    When To Contact Your Doctor

    Back pain is typically a normal part of pregnancy. But in some cases, it can be a sign of serious problems, like preterm labor or a urinary tract infection.

    Back pain thats accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or vaginal bleeding shouldnt be ignored. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.

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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.

    Think About Your Posture

    How To Deal With 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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    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.)

    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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    What Back Pain During Pregnancy Feels Like

    Every mum-to-be experiences pain differently, so there’s no hard and fast rule. For some, the pain may be stronger during certain movements. For others, the pain can radiate down the legs. The pain can come on suddenly or it might present more slowly. The pain can also vary in intensity. 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.

    Strengthen Your Back Muscles

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    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.

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    The Reason You Should Invest In A Pregnancy Support Belt And Maternity Support Belt

    The back pain you experience going through pregnancy, is a result of extra strain being put on your muscles, tendons and skeleton. Eventually, this leads to inflammation and trying to find relief from inflammation is not easy during pregnancy. After all, most anti-inflammatory medications are not considered safe.

    One of the best ways of reducing inflammation and subsequent lower back pain during pregnancy is to exercise. However, you may find that exercising challenging as your bump continues to grow. But, exercising is good for both mum and baby, and ideally, you should try to exercise as much as possible. Exercise will help you to avoid excess weight gain and help to keep you fit for the birth.

    It is all about being prepared. Investing in a pregnancy support belt or a maternity support belt will help you to exercise safely.

    Causes Of Back Pain In Pregnant Women

    Pregnancy back pain typically happens where the pelvis meets your spine, at the sacroiliac joint.

    There are many possible reasons why it happens. Here are some of the more likely causes:

    • Weight gain.During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. The spine has to support that weight. That can cause lower back pain. The weight of the growingbabyand uterus also puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back.
    • Posture changes.Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. As a result, you may gradually — even without noticing — begin to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
    • Hormone changes.During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, leading to instability and pain.
    • Muscle separation.As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscles , which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the center seam. This separation may worsen back pain.
    • Stress. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms. You may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.

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    Wear A Maternity Support Belt

    A maternity support belt is designed for those suffering from lower back pain during pregnancy. It wraps around your belly and waist to lessen the burden of pregnancy weight, support your lower back, and help you get relief from pelvic or sacroiliac pain. A maternity support belt is especially helpful when youre going to be on your feet for a prolonged period of time.

    Physical Therapy And Exercise

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    Your healthcare provider or a physical therapist can recommend exercises to strengthen your low back and reduce pain. Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles of your low back, boost flexibility, and reduce the stress on the spine.

    Safe exercises during pregnancy include walking, swimming, cycling, and low-impact aerobic exercises .

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    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 causes fever, chills,weight loss, weakness, or sensory issues.

    What Causes Pregnancy Back Pain

    On average, a woman typically gains between 25-35 lbs during pregnancy. This weight is typically held in the abdomen, in turn, putting more weight on your back.

    Joints become much less stable due to hormone production. This allows your pelvis to spread as your little one grows .

    As your body changes, your posture may be putting additional strain on your back.

    Now, if youve landed on this page, youre one of the lucky ones! Not because you have the back pain , but because you can now do something about it!

    While taking medication is pretty much out of question, there are simple, yet effective ways that can help your body feel more at ease at your last stretch. I promiseyoure almost there! And if you still have a bit to go, even better. Getting a head start on strengthening your muscles will only benefit you both during your pregnancy as well as postpartum.

    Heres how-

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