Back Pain During Pregnancy: 5 Tips for Relief
Posted on November 08 2017
Is pregnancy becoming a pain in your back?
Is carrying such a large front load on the body making your feel stiff and sore? Well, you’ve got lots of company! According to research conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, roughly 50 to 70% of all pregnant women experience back pain.
Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy that is nothing worrisome but still needs to be treated. The good news is: your baby is growing! The bad news is: it can be added pressure to your back area! Usually starting in the second half of pregnancy, there are many reasons why you might be struggling with back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
Here are some of the most common causes of back pain during pregnancy:
- Muscle separation: when the uterus expands, the rectal abdominal muscles may separate along the center seam. This separation can cause back pain since your baby is creating additional weight that your back must support.
- Hormone changes: during pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that can cause problems by creating joint laxity, especially in the pelvis. This hormone can also cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen which can lead to back pain and instability.
- Stress: pregnant women might notice an increased back pain during stressful periods. This is because emotional stress can lead to muscle tension in the back.
- Weight gain: pregnancy can cause you to gain as much as 25 and 35 pounds, or a quarter of your body weight. This weight gain can add stress to the back and other weight-bearing structures.
- Posture change: your center of gravity will gradually move forward as your uterus and baby grow, causing your posture to change. Poor posture, excessive standing, and bending over can further increase the pain you experience in your back.
Treatments for Back Pain
- Purchase the right gear. You might want to consider wearing a maternity belt. Wearing a maternity belt can greatly help you during your pregnancy, especially if you are suffering from lower back pain, or hip and pelvic pain. Carefully designed to make pregnancy easier by lifting up your belly and providing back support, you simply need to wrap it around your back and let it work its magic. Also, wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support and avoid wearing high heels which can aggravate your back pain condition.
- Exercise. Exercising regularly may relieve your pain and stiffness. This can strengthen your muscles, boost your flexibility, and ease the stress on your spine. You could try walking, stretching, and swimming. Other safe exercises for pregnant women include stationary cycling, yoga, tai chi, or relaxation classes.
- Improve your posture. Try using posture when working, sitting, or sleeping for long hours. When standing, try standing up straight and tall, and hold your chest high. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed. When sleeping, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees to take stress off your back. Keep in mind that good posture also means sitting properly. Get a chair with proper back support or place a pillow behind your lower back. Rest your feet on a stool and sit up straight with your shoulders back.
- Heat and Cold. Heat and cold therapy may provide effective relief from your lower back pain. Cold therapy can minimize your inflammation and swelling. In addition, ice can decrease your tissue damage and numb your sore tissues. There are many options for cold therapy, such as a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Apply the cold compresses on the painful area for up to 20 minutes, several times a day. Switch to heat therapy after two or three days. Heat therapy may include putting a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful area.
- Chiropractic. Chiropractic therapy is widely used as a pain relief alternative with pregnant women. It is a hands-on spinal manipulation of the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue. Make sure to consult with your doctor before seeking chiropractic care.