Conquering Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Posted by Dr. Chris Oswald on 2016-04-14
Though muscle and joint pain is something that is considered common and to be expected among pregnant women, it is something that definitely can and should be avoided. If not properly attended to, the sharp pains you are getting used to could eventually lead to long term chronic back pain. Many sufferers say that their back pain started in pregnancy and continues to persist or that the epidural really aggravated their back.
Lower back pain in pregnancy typically occurs between the fifth and seventh month of being pregnant as the hormone relaxin reaches higher levels as the increased size of the baby starts to create a greater strain on the pelvic and spinal area. In some cases, pregnancy pain in the lower back can begin as early as 8 to 12 weeks after becoming pregnant.
Pain in the lower back will keep mothers up at night, constantly trying to find that sweet spot when sitting down, and make normal everyday tasks that much more complicated. It is important to know what is happening to your body during a pregnancy and what to do to eliminate unnecessary aches and pains.
The Cause of Your Back Pain
Your body is drastically changing. Tasks such as bending over, lifting up a heavy book, or walking up the stairs can trigger significant pains throughout your body. It’s important to know why:
1. Hormonal Changes
During pregnancy, hormones are released that loosen up all your joints and ligaments to soften to prepare for the pregnancy. This will alter the support your back is used to receiving due the softened area around the pelvis. This is leaving your spinal joints more prone to strain and dysfunction.
2. Here Comes the Weight
The main cause of back pain during pregnancy (primarily lower back pain) is obviously in the gaining of weight. In a pregnancy you are gaining as much as a quarter of your body weight in a short amount of time which doesn’t bode well for your muscles and joints as it causes strain on the disc joints and connective tissue.( on a system that is already looser is quite significant)
3. A Lot of Shifting
Your center of gravity will gradually move forward as your uterus and baby grow, which causes your posture to change. The natural curvature of the spine will arches which is a process called hyperlordosis. Mid thoracic joints flex and strain resulting in your neck moving forward to compensate. This will cause your scalene or front neck muscles to shorten and aggravate the nerves in your arms causing numbness and tingling. This will commonly be misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel.
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.
5. Those Crazy Hip Flexor Tissues
As your pelvic joints loosen your hip flexors tighten to maintain stability in the lower body. The only issue is that they cause much compression to the lower back discs and nerves that go down the leg.
How to Not Let the Back Pain From Pregnancy Get to You
We now know what your body is going through and you can take comfort that there are ways you can eliminate the back pain that comes with pregnancy. Here are a couple of steps you can take to make sure back pain doesn’t get the most of you:
1. Get Help
First things first, you should also try to surround yourself with as much positivity from family and friends as you can. You should also consult a chiropractor if you are experiencing any kind of light to severe, chronic back pain. In the event pain shoots down the leg you must contact a chiropractor immediately as you are likely experiencing sciatica. Sciatica involves immense and constant pain to the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.
2. Posture Perfect
Practicing good posture is especially important in the midst of a pregnancy. When you stand, stand up straight, hold you chest high, don’t lock your knees and try to keep your shoulders back and in a relaxed position.
By six month into maternity, the pelvis becomes disconnected from the body. Women often roll onto their side at night using their head to initiate the turn. This can often lead to lower neck joint compression and extra kinks and pains. Great ergonomic products such as this personal pillow offered by MuscleCare are ideal and scientifically tested and proven to help expecting mothers.
3. Lifting properly
It’s important when picking something up that you squat down and use your legs to lunge yourself up. If you feel like lifting a child or a certain object will cause you some strain, it’s wise not to attempt it unless you absolutely have to. You can run into a lot of back pain issues more easily when you are bending over to pick up objects as it will tighten the hip flexors causing more lower back pain. If someone a bit more capable is around, the point of a finger is much easier than bending over any day. (Bending and twisting with a toddler into a car seat is a common cause not pain)
4. Stay Active
It is important you keep a proper exercise during your pregnancy. Back pain exercises and doing activities such as yoga, going for walks, and doing aquafit can help you in many ways aside from avoiding back pain such as: improving circulation, helping digestion, reducing stress, enhancing restful sleep, increasing energy, improving mood, limiting weight gain, and reducing fatigue.They also better prepare the pelvic muscles for a greater tolerance to the discomfort experienced during childbirth. This better flexibility will help improve posture, build up muscle and tone, which will ultimately reduce added pain. Remember not to overdo it however. You will need to find a healthy mix of activity and rest.
5. Relieve your back pain
Dr. Chris Oswald- Lecture at Mother risk, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto, Canada
Stretches to Help Back Pain From Pregnancy
Side of Leg
Back Extension (avoid full extension)
There will always be those days where the pain can get too much and performing normal tasks become too difficult. You can take comfort in knowing there are proven back pain remedies with all natural ingredients that are safe for the mother and the developing baby. MuscleCare topical pain relief formula is the only proven topical pain relief that is safe for both the mother and the fetus. Every ingredient is natural and safe in all MuscleCare products. There is no limit, you can use as much as you need to relieve muscle and joint pain you are experiencing.