Pregnancy is physically pretty rough on women. When you become pregnant, your body changes quickly. This can cause new discomfort and pain to arise, from morning nausea to irritating back pain. If your back has been bothering you, you might have questions about your condition and what you can do. Hopefully, this article can provide you with helpful answers.
Is Back Pain During Pregnancy Common?
Don't worry, you're not alone! Most pregnant women experience back pain at one point or another, and levels of severity can vary between expectant mothers. The most common direct cause of the pain is the weight gained during pregnancy, which puts additional strain on your joints and ligaments. In certain cases, internal pressure from the pregnancy can cause inflammation surrounding the sciatic nerve, which creates back and leg pain.
Your risk for back pain while you are pregnant is increased if you had it before you conceived, if you are overweight or obese, and if this is not your first pregnancy. Pain may appear as early as 8 weeks after conception, but most expectant mothers experience it around 5-7 months into their term.
What Parts Of The Back Are Affected?
Pregnancy primarily impacts two parts of the back: the lumbar, or lower back, and the tailbone. Aside from rare sciatic nerve pain, discomfort in other areas of your back is most likely not related to the pregnancy.
Lumbar pain is caused by carrying around the additional pregnancy weight all day. Since the strain you feel is cumulative, lumbar pain is most commonly felt in the afternoon and early evening. Working on your feet for long stretches of time will increase your risk for lower back pain. Poor posture when standing, walking, and lifting heavy objects can all contribute to the strain on your back, as well.
Pain in the tailbone is felt as a result of pressure on the back of your pelvis. As the baby grows, this internal pressure increases, making it difficult for your pelvic floor muscles to give your tailbone proper support. You may feel this pain on one side or on both, and it tends to be most intense when seated. Digestion problems related to the pregnancy, like gas or constipation, may worsen tailbone pain temporarily.
How Can You Ease The Pain?
Fortunately, there are many ways to soothe back pain caused by pregnancy. Solutions depend on the area of the pain you're experiencing, and you'll likely find that not all treatments are equally effective. Here are a few pain-relief methods for you to consider:
- Exercising. If your core muscles are too weak, your back will be strained by your weight. Working on exercises that strengthen these muscles can help protect your spine from doing all the work alone. For pain in the tailbone or back of the pelvis, pelvic floor exercises can have the same supportive benefit.
- Swimming, especially in warm water. Swimming improves general muscle strength and flexibility. Warm water can soothe your back while you swim, temporarily reducing your pain. Consider taking swim classes specifically targeted at expectant mothers, since these provide a wonderful opportunity to share health tips with other pregnant women.
- Receiving acupuncture or massage therapy. When performed by a professional, both of these therapies have been proven to positively affect back pain sufferers. Be sure that your therapy practitioner has experience treating pregnant women before the treatment begins.
- Wearing a support belt. Maternity belts are excellent for relieving lumbar pain, since they lift the weight away from the lower back and more evenly distribute it across the spine and core muscles. If you have to work on your feet for several hours a day, a support belt is a must.
- Side sleeping with a maternity pillow. For some expectant mothers, ditching back pain is as easy as sleeping with a maternity pillow that allows them to comfortably take strain off of their backs. Resting on your back may cause your pain to worsen, so endeavor to lie on your side whenever possible, and always make sure your pillow holds the weight of your belly.
Back pain in pregnancy is unfortunately very common, but at least that means it's perfectly normal. If you've tried various treatments to resolve your back problems and you still can't get any relief, talk to your doctor. You may need to take certain medications or attend physical therapy to soothe your discomfort. For more information about treating back pain, visit http://cochiropractor.com.