Pregnancy Back Pain
Can you prevent pregnancy back pain is a question I hear all the time. The answer is yes!
You can definitely reduce back pain or sustaining a back injury. Participating in an appropriate pregnancy exercise workout and using the correct lifting technique will help.
It is common to experience some back pain as your belly grows. In fact, most pregnant women experience back pain, usually starting in the second half of pregnancy.
Your body changes all the time with each trimester.
But there are some steps you can take to stop it from becoming a debilitating injury.
Causes of Back Pain
1. Sitting for long periods.
2. Standing for long periods.
3. Poor posture.
4. Poor technique when lifting.
5. Lack of exercise.
6. Being overweight or obese.
7. Being stressed or anxious.
8. Bad work practices.
9. Carrying, pushing or pulling loads that are too heavy.
Causes of Back Pain in Pregnant Women
Here are some of the more likely causes:
1. Muscle separation
As the uterus expands, the rectal abdominis muscles, may separate along the center seam.
This separation may worsen back pain.
2. Increased Weight gain
During a healthy pregnancy, most women will generally gain between 25 and 35 pounds.
As you gain weight, your spine has to support that weight. That 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.
3. Posture changes
Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity.
As a result, you may gradually start to adjust your posture and the way you move.
4. Hormone changes
When pregnant, your body makes a hormone called relaxin.
Relaxin allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and the joints to 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.
Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms.
This is why you may find that you experience an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
Common Back Injuries
1. Disc problems
2. Structural problems
3. Soft tissue injuries – like sprains and strains
5. Postural stress
6. Sciatica (nerve irritation)
When You Have Back Pain During Pregnancy You Cannot:
1. Exercise properly.
2. Lift your child (if you already have a child).
3. Carry heavy bags.
4. Perform required household chores.
5. Function at work.
6. Sit for long periods of time.
7. Sleep properly (when you do get the opportunity to sleep!).
Treatments for Back Pain in Pregnancy
There are a number of treatments for back pain. Some you can do yourself. In the more serious cases, you will need to seek professional medical help.
1. Appropriate Prenatal Exercises for the Back
Whether you’re pregnant or not, regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility. That can ease the stress on your spine.
I have listed the safe pregnancy exercises you can do. But for now, these three basic activities will help get you started. they are walking, swimming, and stationary cycling.
2. Heat and Cold
Some women find that applying heat and cold to their back may help.
If your doctor approves, start by putting cold compresses on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day.
After several days, switch to heat by placing a heating pad on the painful area. Make sure you do not apply heat to your abdomen during pregnancy.
3. Improve your posture
I have an entire dedicated section in my online program to showing you how to, and how not to, pick up items.
You see, slouching and using poor lifting technique strains your spine. So using proper posture when working, sitting, or sleeping is a good move.
4. Acupuncture for Pregnancy Back Pain
Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving low back pain during pregnancy.
Check with your health care provider if you’re interested and only see a practitioner who is qualified for pregnant women.
5. See Your Doctor
If your back pain continues, book in an appointment to see your doctor. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications.
You should call your doctor right away if you experience severe pain, increasingly severe pain, pain that begins abruptly or rhythmic cramping pains.
How to Prevent Back Pain During Pregnancy
1. Avoid standing on concrete or hard surfaces for long periods of time.
2. Sit in a supportive chair, do not slouch.
3. Stand with correct posture.
4. Sit with correct posture to prevent back pain during pregnancy.
5. Avoid bending, reaching and twisting at the same time.
6. Avoid reaching when lifting an object, keep load close to your body.
7. Position your computer screen at eye level.
8. Avoid using a laptop while sitting on the couch.
9. Use a wide stance when lifting.
10. Distribute the load to avoid carrying one big load.
11. Buy a mattress that supports your spine to prevent back pain during pregnancy.
12. Avoid household chores that put extra strain on your back (digging, moving pot plants).
13. Invest in a stand to hold papers or reports on your desk so you don’t have to look down to read.
14. Invest in a good pair of shoes. Avoid high heels if possible.
15. If you must carry heavy items, use a backpack that distributes weight evenly.
16. To avoid neck pain by not cradling a mobile phone between your ear and shoulder.
17. Avoid lifting baby off floor without using your legs.
18. Avoid lifting baby out of high chair and twisting at the same time you put baby down.
19. Avoid slouching in chair while cuddling baby.
Complacency is often the greatest reason you will suffer a back injury.
Until you experience the debilitating nature such an injury you will likely pay little attention to the technique you use.
This is where we want you to be proactive and learn how to use correct manual handling technique when lifting.