Relief for Back Pain in Pregnancy
While many wives’ tales circulate during pregnancy, the reality of back pain in pregnancy is not just hear-say. The NIH reports that at least half of all pregnant women experience back pain while pregnant. Some studies claim the rate of discomfort is closer to 90%. If you are experiencing back pain in pregnancy, you are not alone! Here are four causes of back pain and four remedies that will help you feel your best while pregnant.
Why is my back hurting during pregnancy?
The Mayo Clinic says back discomfort is related to three changes in your body: “You’re gaining weight, your center of gravity changes, and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis.” This is a recipe for some discomfort as your body is shifting during pregnancy.
1. Natural weight gain:
Most women will gain between 20 – 40 pounds during their pregnancy. Hormones tell your body to retain mass, plus you end up carrying more weight as your baby grows larger. This added weight means your muscles and joints work harder which puts extra stress on your lower back as well as your neck and shoulders.
2. Flexible joints:
Your body naturally shifts to allow room for the baby to grow and accommodate extra weight. Over the trimesters, as your body anticipates labor, you continue to have a surge in elastin and relaxing hormones. These hormones help the body shift by relaxing the ligaments and joints of your pelvis. Flexibility is good, but it can lead some women to experience extra pelvic pain. It is also easier for your back to become misaligned if your body becomes too flexible.
3. Center of gravity:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains that your center of gravity shifts as your uterus expands. Without realizing it, you change your posture as your uterus stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles. These shifts put additional strain on your back, which isn’t used to supporting weight this way.
4. Baby’s position:
The American Pregnancy Association says that a protruding abdomen and the ensuing increased back curve can result in a misaligned spine. The misaligned spine causes extra pressure and stress on the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine, sending pain radiating down from the lower back through the leg. More back pain may come as the baby moves into a head-down position, increasing the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
What will make my back feel better during pregnancy?
To find relief from back pain in pregnancy try these four tips:
1. Good posture:
Since your center of gravity has shifted forward, you may find yourself hunched over for most of the day. Or you may unconsciously lean backwards to avoid falling forward. Overcompensating in this way can strain the muscles in your lower back, so it is more important than ever to practice good posture. Stand up straight and tall; hold your chest high, shoulders back. Don’t lock your knees, and if standing for prolonged periods of time, rest one foot on something slightly higher. If you are sitting for extended durations, choosing a chair with good lumbar support or putting a small pillow behind your back will help with your posture.
2. Good equipment:
High heels and flat sandals have to go. Now is the time to make sure you have the right gear to support your back. Wearing supportive shoes can make a huge difference in relieving back pain in pregnancy. If you find that you have shoes that you love but aren’t supportive enough, custom fit shoe inserts are a great option.
A belly band (also called an abdominal support garment) is a wonderful investment that will quickly pay for itself as you ease your back pain while you are pregnant. Healthline offers 5 advantages of the belly band, chief among them being the relief they offer from the sacroiliac joint pain as the band supports and stabilized the lower back.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs will help keep your spine aligned, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Experts have long suggested sleeping on your side while pregnant as this removes the weight of the baby from resting solely on your spine as well as the vena cava. However, while lying in this position it is helpful to use a pillow between your legs to reduce stress on your hips. The pillow will also work to keep the top leg from pulling your spine out of alignment.
4. Chiropractic adjustments:
Spinal adjustments during pregnancy can dramatically help relieve back pain. Studies on pregnant Swiss women concluded that the majority of pregnant women who received chiropractic treatment, reported decreased pain. The percentage went from 50 to 70 between 1 week and 1 month, and from 85 to 90 percent between 3 months and 6 months. The American Pregnancy Association also acknowledges the benefit of chiropractic care on the spine during pregnancy.
Chiropractors have special tables and special techniques specifically for pregnant women. Regular chiropractic adjustments will realign your spine and ease the pain and discomfort you experience in your lower back during pregnancy.
If you are ready to find relief from your back pain during your pregnancy, Carefree Chiropractic will adjust your spine and pelvis to keep you balanced and aligned. This will not only help keep you comfortable, it will allow your baby to have the room necessary to grow and get into the best possible birthing position. Contact Carefree Chiropractic today to take care of you and your back while you are doing all you can to take care of your unborn baby.