A sore back often comes along with pregnancy. Here’s how to get relief.
Back pain is a common complaint among pregnant women. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 80 percent of expectant mothers experience low back and pelvic pain. Although the discomfort usually subsides after delivery, it may occur again during another pregnancy.
Back pain during pregnancy is a consequence of the changes your body is going through, but you don’t have to just stick it out. At-home treatments or a trip to an orthopedist can help relieve your discomfort so you can enjoy a comfortable pregnancy.
What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?
As the baby grows in your abdomen, your center of gravity naturally shifts forward. The extra weight of the baby combined with your forward tilt stresses your lower back and often causes pain.
Hormones play a role as well. A hormone called relaxin released during pregnancy loosens the ligaments in the pelvic area in preparation for the delivery through the birth canal. Yet the weakening of those ligaments saps your joints and lower back of the strength needed to support your back as it adjusts to the weight of the growing baby. This results in an aching back.
How to Manage Back Pain During Pregnancy
You can manage your pregnancy-related back pain with some at-home remedies and simple lifestyle changes. Always consult with your doctor about the best solutions, but here are seven techniques that are typically safe and effective.
- Improve Your Posture. To counter-balance your forward tilt, stand up straight and keep your chest high. Relax your shoulders and back, and don’t lock your knees. A wide stance when standing provides optimal support. When sitting, make sure the chair has a supportive back, or slip a small pillow behind your lower back.
- Lift Properly. If you must lift a heavy object, bend from your knees and lift with your legs. Don’t pick up the object by bending at your waist as that will strain your back. A better idea is to ask someone for help if you need to carry bulky items.
- Wear the Right Shoes. Wearing high heels will exacerbate your forward-leaning posture. Switch to low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Another option is to wear a maternity belt to support your belly and lower back.
- Get a Massage. A good massage is a relaxing way to take away your back pain during pregnancy (or anytime). Try booking an appointment with a massage therapist who specializes in treating pregnant women.
- Stay Active. Exercises that strengthen your core muscles or your quad muscles can relieve back pain. Prenatal yoga with its emphasis on stretching is also beneficial. Try gentle workouts such as walking or water exercises, too. Just ask your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
- Try Hot & Cold Therapy. Hot and cold therapy is a tried and true method for relieving back pain. When you heat your back, blood rushes to the sore muscles, which relaxes them and reduces pain. Cold has the opposite effect, but can be just as beneficial, particularly if you notice any swelling. By constricting the blood vessels, cold cuts down on the swelling and the pain.
- Change Your Sleep Position. To help alleviate back pain, sleep on your side with your knees bent. You can slip a pillow between your knees if you’d like. If you do lie on your back, put a pillow under your back to support it, as lying straight can block blood flow to the fetus.
If you’ve experienced back pain before, it’s likely your back will be sore as you carry your child. But you can be proactive and try these measures to reduce your pain.
We’re Here to Help
If these tips fail to alleviate your discomfort, make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. He or she can suggest exercises or other approaches to ensure you aren’t suffering from unnecessary pain.
New York Bone & Joint Specialists have helped thousands of patients overcome back pain with both non-surgical and surgical methods. Contact us today for treatment options.