What Can I Do To Ease Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Medically reviewedDr Ashwini NabarbackachesMassage your backmassageWarm bathwarm bathHot or cold compressSupport beltSupport pillow in bedsleep more comfortablyKneeling on your hands and kneesComfortable footwearExercise to reduce strain on your backPelvic floor exercisesCheck your posture when you sitdriveTry alternate therapiesyoga
- Taking too many painkillers. An overdose of painkiller tablets or pills could be harmful during pregnancy. While paracetamol is considered safe for pregnant woman, it should be taken for the shortest time possible. Also, be aware that ibuprofen is not considered safe during pregnancy. So, always check with your doctor on the medicine and its dosage before use.
- Lying on your back. While you may feel more comfortable on your back, it is not recommended because of the pressure it puts on your back. This can again lead to more back pain, rather than less.
- Wearing high heels. The ligaments that control your lower back are softened during pregnancy, so they are more at risk of being stretched and damaged. The problem with high heels is that they alter your posture and put a strain on this already weakened area. This could contribute to lower back pain, which can be severe.
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See A Physical Therapist
If your pain is severe or other interventions are not quite doing the trick, a physical therapist may be able to help. Our goal is to reduce muscle tension while preserving muscle strength and correcting the instability that causes the pain.
We will create a personalized plan for you that may include stretching and breathing exercises that can help relax the pelvic floor muscles and improve their length. We may fit you for a belt or brace to help stabilize the pelvis. Therapy may also include manipulation of the tailbone and myofascial release of the pelvic floor muscles that anchor onto the tailbone, from both internally and externally, which can further reduce muscle tension and pain.
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What Is A Tens Unit
A TENS unit uses a low-voltage electrical current. This current travels to the body through the electrodes that you attach to your body in specific areas.
To use a TENS unit while pregnant, you attach the electrodes to your body with sticky pads.
When you turn the device on, the current stimulates your nerves and encourages your body to release endorphins.
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Complementary And Alternative Medical Treatments Provide Added Pain
Safe pregnancy pain management techniques that may be used along with conventional medicine or as an alternative option include one or a combination of the following treatments2:
Research indicates favorable results for these therapies when used under the guidance of a trained medical professional.
Back pain during pregnancy affects the lower musculoskeletal system, causing excessive strain on the lower back, hip, pelvis, and legs. Women who follow appropriate treatment protocols and engage in back and core strengthening therapy during early pregnancy can avoid or reduce the severity of lower back pain.2
Ways To Ease Back Pain During Pregnancy
Brian Levine, MD, MS, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility . He is the director and founding partner of CCRM New York and was named a rising star by Super Doctors from 2017 to 2019.
Low back pain and pelvic pain are among the most common problems that occur during pregnancy if you are pregnant and experiencing these symptoms, read on, you’re not alone. About half of pregnant women will complain of significant low back pain symptoms. The changes your body experiences during pregnancy are dramatic, and these physiologic changes can cause unexpected pain and difficulty with seemingly normal activities.
Contrary to popular belief, back pain is not only a problem later in pregnancy. In fact, the incidence of back pain during pregnancy peaks around 18-24 weeks. While the added weight of the developing fetus is a large component of why pregnant women develop these symptoms, it is not the only reason. A complex set of physiologic changes in the body can contribute to the development of lower back symptoms.
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Why Is Back Pain So Common In Pregnancy
One of the most common complaints during pregnancy is back pain. In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of all women experience some degree of back discomfort. Most back pain is related to the physical changes that happen during pregnancy, including hormones, changes in the center of gravity, and posture. Unfortunately, it typically gets worse as pregnancy progresses.
When To Contact Your Doctor
Back pain is typically a normal part of pregnancy. But in some cases, it can be a sign of serious problems, like preterm labor or a urinary tract infection.
Back pain thats accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or vaginal bleeding shouldnt be ignored. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
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Wont Electrical Stimulation Induce Contractions
If you are careful about where you put the sticky electrode pads, you will not induce contractions.
You might hear the same precautions and areas to avoid regarding massages during pregnancy.
Areas to avoid
The body has trigger points, so you must avoid using the electrodes on some body areas.
There are a couple of areas of the feet and ankles to avoid because those spots may induce contractions.
Also, avoid using the TENS unit on your handâs webbing between the thumb and your pointer finger.
In some cases, you may wish to avoid shoulder areas, too. We know that is the best place to relieve tension, but you may find there are pressure points on the shoulders that impact the pelvic floor, which is hard at work during pregnancy.
If at any time you notice uterine contractions, shut the TENS unit off right away.
Using A Lumbar Roll Helps Avoid Pregnancy Back Pain While Sitting
Using ergonomically supported posture while sitting for extended periods can help decrease the frequency and intensity of back pain.
- Sitting up straight and aligning the ears, shoulders, and hips in a vertical line is recommended.
- Using a lumbar roll in the small of the back can help support the spinal curvature.1
- This roll may also help reduce pelvic pain that occurs from a sit-to-stand position.1
- Inflatable lumbar rolls are best suited for pregnant women to accommodate the change in body size and posture.1
Taking short breaks every hour and briefly stretching or walking a short distance is typically recommended.
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What To Do When Pregnancy Becomes A Pain In The Tailbone
Many women experience lower back pain during pregnancy. For approximately one-third of pregnant patients, the aching annoyance becomes a significant pain in the rear or more precisely, the tailbone.
The tailbone, or coccyx, sits at the bottom of your spine, above your tush and behind your uterus. It helps stabilize you when sitting and serves as an attachment point for the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and uterus.
While approximately 70% of women experience low-back pain at some point in their lives, 50% – 80% report back pain in pregnancy. For nearly 10% of them, the pain can be debilitating.
Tailbone pain is often caused by the pelvic ligaments loosening and shifting. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin. The hormone makes your pelvic ligaments looser and more flexible to make room for the baby to grow and enable you to give birth.
This can cause tighter contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, which help stabilize the body. The pelvic floor muscles are connected to the tailbone, leading to pain.
As your abdomen expands, your center of balance is altered and your posture shifts, adding pressure in the low-back and tailbone, which typically aren’t weight-bearing. Your growing baby may also begin to put pressure on the tailbone, making sitting and standing painful.
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Treatment For Early Back Pain During Pregnancy
No matter what stage of your pregnancy youre in, there are ways to treat back pain. You probably wont be able to prevent it completely, but you can help to minimize the pain.
Follow these tips for reducing back pain throughout your pregnancy.
If your back pain seems to be linked to your stress levels, things like meditation, prenatal yoga, and extra rest can all be helpful ways to manage your stress levels.
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What Can You Do
Some back pain can be prevented:
Try using proper body mechanics. For example, if you need to pick something up, squat down, bending at your knees and keeping your back straight. Avoid bending over from your waist.
Use good posture when sitting or standing and do back-strengthening exercises. Ask your healthcare provider about back exercises that are right for you.
Avoid activities that strain the back, like lifting and moving heavy objects.
Wear shoes that provide good support.
Sleep on your side with pillows between your knees for support.
Apply heat, cold, or massage to the painful area.
If you are having discomfort, talk with your healthcare provider. Back pain relief may need rest, supportive garments, or other types of treatment.
Prevention and treatment of back pain are important to avoid injury and to decrease the chance for long-term or chronic back pain. Because back pain in pregnancy can be a symptom of more serious problems, like preterm labor, always talk with your healthcare provider if symptoms are severe or last longer than 2 weeks.
Avoiding And Easing Back Pain In Pregnancy
Try these tips:
- bend your knees and keep your back straight when you lift or pick something up from the floor
- avoid lifting heavy objects
- move your feet when you turn to avoid twisting your spine
- wear flat shoes to evenly distribute your weight
- try to balance the weight between 2 bags when carrying shopping
- keep your back straight and well supported when sitting look for maternity support pillows
- get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy
- have a massage or a warm bath
- use a mattress that supports you properly you can put a piece of hardboard under a soft mattress to make it firmer, if necessary
- go to a group or individual back care class
You can take paracetamol to ease back pain while you are pregnant, unless your GP or midwife says not to. Always follow the instructions on the packet.
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Physical Therapy And Exercise
Your healthcare provider or a physical therapist can recommend exercises to strengthen your low back and reduce pain. Regular exercise can strengthen the muscles of your low back, boost flexibility, and reduce the stress on the spine.
Safe exercises during pregnancy include walking, swimming, cycling, and low-impact aerobic exercises .
How Can You Prevent Back Pain During Pregnancy
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How Can You Prevent Or Minimize Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain may not be prevented completely, but there are things that you can do to reduce the severity or frequency.Here are a few steps you can take to help reduce the back pain you are experiencing:
- Use exercises approved by your health care provider that support and help strengthen the back and abdomen.
- Squat to pick up something instead of bending over.
- Avoid high heels and other shoes that do not provide adequate support.
- Avoid sleeping on your back.
- Wear a support belt under your lower abdomen.
- Consider having your back adjusted by a chiropractor.
- Get plenty of rest. Elevating your feet is also good for your back.
What Is A Heating Pad Used For During Pregnancy
Using heat or ice packs are common methods of treating muscle and join pain. Both methods are noninvasive and not addictive. In general, recurring pain like the aching back, hips, or joints you may experience as your pregnancy progresses should be treated with heat.
Heat therapy opens blood vessels, increasing blood flow and bringing fresh supplies of oxygen and nutrients. This helps reduce joint pain and eases soreness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The warmth from a heat pack can also increase your range of motion while decreasing muscle spasms. Overall, its a good way to find pain relief during pregnancy.
Twinges and aches go hand-in-hand with pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, nearly every woman should expect some degree of back pain during her pregnancy.
You may experience back and pelvic pain during pregnancy for the following reasons:
Muscle cramps are another symptom of pregnancy for some women. These involuntary muscle spasms come on quickly and can be painful.
Close to half of all pregnant women will experience muscle cramps at some point. While most of them happen in the legs, they can also occur in the back, abdomen, and even in the hands and feet.
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Causes Of Back Pain In Pregnancy
There are several physiologic changes that occur in a pregnant body that can explain the increased chance of developing back pain. The most notable is the weight gain that occurs during pregnancy which is typically 25-35 pounds, with at least half of that weight gain occurring in the abdominal region. The weight change also shifts the posture of the spine and changes your body’s center of gravity.
The second major change that occurs is hormonal. These hormone levels that are raised increase the laxity of joints and ligaments in the body. One of these important hormones, called relaxin, has been shown to correlate with symptoms of back pain. Studies have found that women with the highest levels of relaxin often have the most significant back pain.
What Exercises I Can Do To Ease Backache When I Pregnant
The gentle exercises below may help ease backache in pregnancy.
Stretches for lower backache:
- sit with your bottom on your heels with your knees apart
- lean forward towards the floor, resting your elbows on the ground in front of you
- slowly stretch your arms forward
- hold for a few seconds
Stretches for middle backache:
- go down on your hands and knees
- draw in lower tummy
- hold for a few seconds
- gently lower your back down as far as feels comfortable
Stretches for pain in the shoulder blades and upper back:
- sit on a firm chair
- brace your tummy muscles
- interlock your fingers and lift your arms overhead
- straighten your elbows and turn your palms upwards
- hold for a few seconds
If back pain persists, changes or becomes severe, see your doctor or midwife for advice. They may advise you to see a physiotherapist. At any stage, if the back pain is associated with any blood loss from the vagina, seek medical advice urgently.
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When Does Back Pain During Pregnancy Start And End
Unfortunately, back pain can start fairly early on in your pregnancy. Some women experience it in the first trimester, but for many women, back pain starts up around week 18, early in the second trimester. It can persist or sometimes worsen as the second trimester progresses and especially in the third trimester, up until you give birth .