Back Or Lumbar Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain or discomfort during pregnancy is experienced by 50-70% of women. The good news is there are steps you can take to manage the back pain. This is highly recommended as 25% of women who have chronic back pain later in life associate this pain beginning while pregnant.
What causes back pain during pregnancy?
* As hormones released during pregnancy ligaments in the pelvic area soften and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birthing process of your baby
* Your center of gravity changes during pregnancy and will gradually move forward as your uterus and baby grow, this causes your posture to change
* Weight increase: as your baby grows the increase in weight adds pressure to your lower back
* Poor posture, excessive standing, and improper lifting or bending can increase pain.
* Stress - stress emerges in the weakest part of your body which during pregnancy can be your lower back.
Can back pain be prevented or minimized?
Here are a steps you can take to help reduce or prevent pain:
* Exercises (even a little bit every day) approved by your doctor or midwife, that support and help strengthen the back and abdomen
* Squat to pick up something using your leg muscles vs your back (bending over from the waist is a sure way to eventually tweek a muscle)
* Avoid high heels or shoes that do not provide arch support
* Put a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back
* Wear a high quality support belt which provides lift: (we found supporters made of elastic stretch out so make sure the band is made of very durable material. some have optional shoulder groin bands for extra support.
* A quality chiropractor can realign your back (many changes occur during pregnancy)
* Rest when possible and elevate your feet at night if you have a chance.
What can you do to treat the back pain you are experiencing?
* Ice your back at night with a gel pack to reduce inflammation which is causing pain
* Use a brace or back support device (there are many out there so chose wisely, make sure they are adjustable and are not made of elastic which breaks down with washing)
* Sleep on your side if possible with a support or pillow in between you legs
* Only if you are in high discomfort: Medications used to treat inflammation(often times a support band can prevent this need)
* Use a chiropractor or massage therapist (licensed of course)
When should back pain cause me to seek help?
Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing any of the following:
* Severe pain (you must judge this based on comparison)
* Increasingly severe or abrupt-onset of back pain
* Rhythmic cramping pains; this might be a sign of preterm labor
Severe back pain may be a sign of other diseases associated with pregnancy. Although not common, your health care provider will investigate other possible ailments if you are experiencing severe back pain.
What are your Next Steps:
* Talk to your health care provider about an approved exercise program to support your back and abdomen
* Try a couple times a day to get off your feet and relax(this may sound impossible if you have other children, but even sitting to read book with them can provide back relaxation)
* Find a Chiropractor in your area
* Purchase a support belt
* Purchase a sleep aid pillow or just use a thin regular pillow between or under your knees for side and back sleeping
C. Christensen has a B.S. in exercise physiology and M.Ed in Science Education. She currently works in the maternity field educating midwives, doctors and women about various pregnancy discomforts and solutions to prevent and heal. http://www.babybellyband.com
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