- Causes of Body Back Pain During Pregnancy
- How to Stop Back Pain During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is like every part of your body starts talking to you. Most of the time, the talking isn’t in a nice way. One of these common body talks is back pain. As your baby bump grows in size, numerous hormonal changes cause a raft of pains all over your body.
If you are experiencing any back pains, then the good news is that your baby is growing healthy. The reason for the sudden back pain is the tendency of increased hormones to relax bone ligaments. Ligaments are the tough tissues joining a bone to another bone in a joint.
The pain is mostly felt on your lower back but extends to your upper back at times. Some women have also experienced pains on their shoulders, ribcage or between the breasts. But did you know there is way on how to stop the back pain of pregnancy?
Well, I have prepared this post to help you feel better, even without over the counter painkillers.
Causes of Body Back Pain During Pregnancy
Information provided by the American Pregnancy Association shows that about 50 to 70 percent of women experience back pains at some point during a pregnancy.
During a typical pregnancy, back pains are felt at the joint where your spine and pelvis meet. This joint is referred to as a sacroiliac joint. Possible reasons for these pains differ from person to person. However, here are some of the likely causes.
1. Increased body weight
Weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable. A typical weight gain usually ranges from 25 to 35 pounds. Consequently, your spine then has to support all this body weight increase resulting in lower back pain.
Additionally, the growing fetus and uterus also exert pressure on blood vessels supplying the back and pelvis area. It’s the pressure that manifests itself regarding lower back pain.
2. Body Posture Changes
Your growing baby bump causes a shift in your center of gravity. Gradually, you start to adjust how you walk to compensate for your body imbalance. You may not notice it, but it happens out of the blues.
As you adjust your walking posture, forcing yourself to lean backward, you put your back muscles under increased strain. Straining the back muscles leads to pain after a while.
3. Hormonal Changes
If there is something that goes berserk during pregnancy, it is an upsurge in hormonal levels. Of these hormones, it is relaxin that is responsible for your back pains. It loosens the ligaments around the pelvic area and surrounding joints as the body prepares for birth.
At the same time, this hormone softens the muscles and ligaments which support your spine. The overall spiral effect is increased back pain and instability.
4. Separation of Muscles
This is perhaps a leading cause that worsens your back pains. The expansion of the uterus causes the separation of two parallel muscle sheets.
Your rectal abdominis muscles running from your ribcage up to your pubic bone separates along the center seam. It is this separation that makes back pains more severe.
5. Increased Stress
Pregnant women are advised to restrain from stressful activities as it is detrimental to the health of the baby. Developing emotional stress potentially increases muscle tension in your back. These tensions are felt as back spasms or back pain.
It is probably why you feel increased pain in your back when you become stressed.
How to Stop Back Pain During Pregnancy
In as much as back pains are common during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that you should confine yourself to 9 months of feeling miserable. It is a sign of nothing you need to worry about unless you felt chronic pain on your back before your pregnancy.
The pains gradually decrease up until your due date. In the meantime, here are possible ways of easing your pains and keeping yourself as comfortable as possible as your body does its job of growing the baby.
1. Maintain a Good Posture
The first step of stopping back pains would be to stop one of the causes. As your center of gravity shifts forward, most people compensate for these by leaning back to counterbalance the effects. Leaning back strains muscle, causing back pains in the process.
To stop the pains if you have been trying to lean back to maintain your balance, try to keep these good posture principles for pregnant women:
- Hold high your chest
- Straighten your body and stand tall
- Relax your back and shoulders
- Relax your knees and keep them from locking
When you intend to stand for long, maintain a comfortable wide stance as your means of support. You could also rest a foot on a toddler stool, as you alternate between your two feet. Taking frequent breaks from standing helps ease your pains too.
How you sit also contributes to a good body posture. Sit on a chair with adequate back support. Alternatively, place a pillow (small sized) behind your lower back as a support mechanism.
2. Try Cold or Hot Massage
Massage therapy provides relief from pains which may not be limited to back pains. For acute back pain, a prenatal massage would be a quick relief to the pains resulting from muscular clenching.
Apart from alleviating pains, a prenatal massage eliminates anxiety and depression during the pregnancy stages. One of the most recommended massages is Swedish massage. It is gentle, soothing, and uses long strokes that don’t aggravate joint pains.
But first, consult your doctor on whether a prenatal massage would be great for you. Once you are free to do so, ensure the prenatal masseuse is certified before you begin the therapy.
For temporary relief, you can have your partner give you a gentle, localized massage session.
3. Perform Regular Exercises
Exercising provides an excellent way of stopping back pains during pregnancy. Exercises keep your muscles from tightening, hence causing back pains. Before you jump into any exercise you may think of, remember that some of them can be uncomfortable for your pregnancy.
One of the most pregnancy-friendly forms of exercising is swimming. By taking the pressure off your spine, you would effectively ease your pain worries. Doctors recommend that paddling through the pool lanes either up or down would be ideal for you.
This form of exercising relieves your body of pressure, tones your arms, legs, core muscles, and back. Deep breathing in the process of swimming as you stay afloat relaxes you emotionally. As you advance through the pregnancy, breaststroke swimming strengthens your back and chest muscles.
4. Seek for Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors are mostly associated with joint adjustments and cracking. That is why many people worry about being twisted. However, in the hands of a well-trained certified chiropractor, it can be a great way of stopping back pain in pregnancy.
Using joint manipulation (you’ll see the famous popping sound) gives relief to pregnant women. Other soft tissue work, prescribed exercises are mostly used to stop muscle tightness, compressed nerves, body imbalance as well as joint misalignment.
The key to success when using this method is finding an experienced chiropractor. A special table should be in place to accommodate your baby bump.
5. Lift Right and Sleep on Your Side
As you pick up small objects, don’t bend at your waist or use your back to lift. What you should do is squatting down and doing the lifting using your legs. Do not also lift weights beyond your limits. If the heavy object must be lifted, ask for help.
Sleeping on your side rather than your back stops back pains in some instances. While on your side, have either of your knees bent (even both knees). You might also want to consider having a pregnancy pillow for added support. The pillow can be used between your knees, behind you, and under the abdomen.
6. Try Out Acupuncture
Acupuncture refers to a medical condition that is common in East Asia. It uses fine needles inserted into the exact pressure points on your body. The technique used corresponds to your emotional as well as physical health.
The needles are used to remove blockages around the painful parts of the body that interfere with the normal flow of energy through the body. Instead of the needles (might be a frightening prospect to some) the practitioner may use the finger in a technique called acupressure.
A couple of studies also show a correlation between acupuncture, acupressure, and improved digestion, higher energy levels, morning sickness relief, back pain stoppage, and eased migraine headaches.
Again, before you make an appointment, be sure to talk everything through with your doctor. It is the best way of ascertaining that the technique is great for you. Next, find an experienced, certified acupuncture therapist who has worked with pregnant women before.
Alongside Yoga and prenatal massages, having a meditation session helps you stop pregnancy back pains. But unlike the previous two, meditation is something you don’t need to schedule a session for. You can practice meditation at any place or time, without booking an appointment.
One of the simplest forms of meditation is to find somewhere quiet you can lie or sit on. Once there, focus on your deep, slow inhalation and exhalation. Some people prefer to do so in silence, while others choose to listen to a guided program and calming music. Choose one that works for you.
Meditation is most effective for those who are stressed at some point. It stimulates the brain to reduce the production of stress hormones. Keeping your stress hormones in check stops its toxic effects such as increased back muscle tension.
8. Have the Right Gear
Apparently, stopping pregnancy back pains can also be done by making simple lifestyle tweaks on what you wear and use every day. One of these is changing the type of shoes that you wear. Avoid high heeled shoes which tend to shift your weight further forward, putting you at higher risks of falling. Instead, wear shoes with low heels (not flat) which adequate arch support.
Another consideration would be to wear a maternity support belt. Their benefits are not well documented, but some pregnant women note that having the added weight gives them some relief.
We hope you now have some ideas on how to stop the back pain of pregnancy. In most cases, pregnancy back pain signals nothing worrisome. However, if it lasts for more than two weeks straight, then it is time to talk to your healthcare provider. If there is a serious underlying condition, then alternative medication may be prescribed.
If there are any other accompanying signs such as vaginal bleeding, burning sensation when urinating and fever, then seek immediate medical attention. It might be a case of urinary tract infection or preterm labor.