How to manage pregnancy back pain?
The good news is your baby is growing. That’s exactly what should be happening – but it can be tough on your back! Many pregnant women experience back pain, usually starting in the second half of their pregnancy.
Causes of Back pain in pregnant women
Pregnancy back pain typically happens where the pelvis meets your spine, at the sacroiliac joint (SIJ), in the joints of the lumbar spine, at the joint between the two halves of the pelvic rim known as the pubic symphysis.
There are many possible reasons why it happens. Here are some of the more likely causes:
During pregnancy, your body makes a hormone called Relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and thus the joints 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, particularly if prior to pregnancy you had some weakness of the muscles supporting this region.
As the uterus expands, two parallel sheets of muscle (the rectus abdominis or the 6 back muscles), which run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate at the centre seam.
During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain weight. The spine has to support that weight which can cause lower back pain. The weight of the growing baby and uterus also puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back.
Pregnancy shifts your centre of gravity. As a result, you may gradually – even without noticing – adjust your posture and the way you move. Tis may result in bac pain or strain.
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 of back pain in stressful times during your pregnancy.
Treatments for Back Pain
There is good news! Unless you had chronic backaches before falling pregnancy, your pain will likely ease gradually before you give birth.
Meanwhile, there are many things that you can do to treat lower back pain or to make it milder or rarer:
Improve Your Posture
Slouching strains your spine. So, using proper poster when sitting, working or sleeping is a good move. For example, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees will take stress off your back. When sitting at your desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support, rest your feet on a stool or stack of books and sit up straight, with your shoulders back.
Wearing a support belt may also help. Your physiotherapist is the best person to advise if one is likely to be beneficial for you.
Your physiotherapist is an expert when it comes to assessing and managing your pregnancy related back pain. After a thorough assessment with your physiotherapist, there is a lot that can be done to assist in improving your joint position and control.
Regular general exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility – which may ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises include:
It is best to discuss your pre-pregnancy and current exercise regime with your physiotherapist who can recommend the best exercises for your needs which will help to strengthen your back and abdomen.
Contributer: Juli-Ann Riley
Juli Riley Physiotherapists consults from FEMINA HEALTH daily.