Do you remember that moment when you started getting more massive, and your back starts to get more and more painful as days go by? I sure do. It was probably one of the most ‘painful’ periods during my pregnancy. When your baby is growing at a healthy rate, you can expect your back to do some extra work for you.
Experiencing back pain is no joke, especially if you need to work seated down for hours per day. Most pregnant women experience this during the second half of the pregnancy, so it is good to know that you are not alone. As this could last up until it is time to give birth, it is best to understand how you can deal with back pain during pregnancy effectively.
Allow me to share what I have discovered about the causes and possible solutions to this problem. With this information, you would be able to know how you can help yourself better. So, now, let’s get started.
A Closer Look At The Usual Causes Of Back Pain In Pregnant Women
When back pain strikes, it is usually caused by your pelvis meeting the spine at a point called the sacroiliac joint. Now, these happen due to several conditions. Some pregnant women experience just one of them, while others need to endure the excruciating pain brought about by several states.
The most common reason is weight gain. A healthy weight gain during pregnancy is usually around 25-35 lbs. The additional weight also has to be supported by the spine, which could then lead to back pain.
Aside from the weight itself, you can also expect some pressure pain on the nerves and blood vessels in your pelvis caused by the growing baby in your womb. Typically, your doctor would require you to wear a pregnancy support belt to help you with the weight and reduce the back pain.
Another common cause of back pain during pregnancy is associated with the hormonal changes that a pregnant woman experiences. During gestation, the body tends to produce a hormone that is referred to as ‘relaxin’. This particular hormone causes the ligaments in the pelvis to relax.
This happens to allow the woman’s body to adequately accommodate pregnancy strain, which would then help ease the passage of the baby right through the birth canal during standard delivery. However, this hormone also tends to relax the ligaments in the spine. This, therefore, causes instability, discomfort, back pain for the pregnant woman.
As you grow bigger, your center of gravity shifts. You would naturally respond to this by adjusting both your posture and your movement. There may be times that having poor posture would strain your back instantly. It is a must to know the right pregnancy posture and to use the right pillow that would bring you more comfort.
Another possible cause of back pain is called muscle separation. This happens when the rectal abdominal muscles separate along the central part of the seam. Note that this muscle runs from the rib cage down to the pubic bone. Although not everyone experiences this, it could be one of the reasons that could worsen your back pain.
Stress is likewise considered one of the culprits of back pain. Emotional stress, in general, could lead to muscle tension in the lower back. This could lead to muscle spasms in the lower back area. You would notice the pain getting worse during the stressful periods of pregnancy.
Posterior Pelvic Pain And Lumbar Back Pain
These are the two most common conditions you could experience, and they typically begin around the second trimester of the pregnancy. The former refers to the pain in your pelvis. The pain is also usually felt at the backside of your thighs or the sides of one or both buttocks.
One indication that your condition is possibly posterior pelvic pain when the discomfort escalates when you walk, climb the stairs, twisting, lifting something, or when you get on or off a low chair.
When you have such a condition, it is also likely that you experience pain right on the pubic bone.
The lumbar back pain is experienced when the pain is at the lumbar vertebrae located in the lower back. The pain is higher than the posterior pelvic pain. The pain can be felt around the spine area at the level of the waistline.
When it comes to lumbar back pain, the pain itself radiates down to the legs. The pain is aggravated by prolonged standing and sitting. This is why ensuring the right posture and avoiding prolonged stationary positions should be avoided.
There are rare instances when a pregnant woman can also experience extreme severe back pain. The pain itself can be associated with septic arthritis, osteoporosis, or vertebral osteoarthritis. When you experience rhythmic pain in your pelvis or lower back, it is crucial to see a doctor right away as it could be an indicator of preterm labor.
How To Relieve Yourself From Back Pains During Pregnancy
OK, here’s a bit of good news – your back will gradually diminish towards the end of your pregnancy. Unless you have been experiencing chronic back pain before getting pregnant, you can expect that the pain will reduce progressively and ease.
While waiting for this to happen, you can do certain activities that would help alleviate the pain to make it more tolerable. However, you should also check with your doctor first if you intend to do any of these.
As when you were not pregnant, regular exercising can help strengthen your muscles. With stronger muscles, you can ease the stress and pressure subjected to your spine due to the bodily changes your baby experiences.
Safe exercises during pregnancy may also include swimming, power walking, and stationary cycling. Prenatal yoga and pilates are also recommended. Several pregnancy centers can provide you with an accent to these activities.
Being mindful of your posture can contribute to the reduction of pain in your lower back. With the growing baby, slouching can be tempting. However, this strains the back, which leads to unbearable back pain. This is why a pregnancy belt would be helpful.
Your posture when you are sitting down, and sleeping also matter. For instance, you can put a pillow between your-your knees. This would displace the stress off your back. When you have to be seated for a long time, you can put a supporting pillow or roll a towel and place it on the backrest of your chair.
If your chair is not ergonomically designed, you can use a stack of books to become a footrest. This would help your sit up straight and, at the same time, keep your shoulders and back straight as well. You may also take a breather during work and stand up or walk for 5 minutes every 25 minutes interval.
Heat and Cold Compress
Another proven technique that helps reduce pain (and even inflammation) is the heat and cold compress approach. Applying heat and cold alternately would help ease back pain. This can be done by placing a cold compress on the painful section of the back for at least 20 minutes about three to five times a day. Do this for three straight days.
After three days, you can start switching to a heat compress. Do the same procedure, but this time, use a heating pad. Be extra careful not be apply heat right to your abdomen. After 2-3 days, stop utilizing the method and see first if there is any improvement.
Try Alternative Approach Such as Acupuncture
Opting for an alternative medical approach is also a possible solution. For instance, you could attempt acupuncture.
There have been several studies linking the efficacy of acupuncture in relieving pain. See to it that you only seek the help of a registered Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. If you are interested, discuss this with your health care provider.
As mentioned earlier, emotional stressors can also contribute to back pain as well. It would be immensely helpful to get some professional help. You would be able to talk about what you are going through, and the doctor can accurately diagnose your condition.
Back pain is inevitable, but it should not be feared. Just like the morning sickness, this would diminish over time. There are techniques you can do to address them. Here are some pointers you can try to prepare yourself for this stage:
Purchasing a pregnancy belt before getting pregnant and keeping it handy can be useful.
Investing in maternity pillows, heating pad, and cold compress is also advised.
Get your health care provider involved when deciding which approach to apply.
Never take pain medication without your doctor’s advice.