Back pain during pregnancy is very common. When you step into any massage studio or physical therapist’s office, you’ll probably see some baby bumps in the waiting room; that’s how prevalent back pain during pregnancy can be.
It’s been said that about 50 to 75 percent of pregnant women experience back pain at one point in their pregnancy. During pregnancy, many women have achy backs as their bellies grow larger and their muscles and spine strain to carry the extra weight. As weight is gained, the centre of gravity pushes forward.
As you compensate your back by leaning to avoid falling forward, it can strain the muscles in your lower back, causing discomfort. Back pain is usually blamed on both the growing weight of the baby and the increase of a hormone called relaxin.
Relaxin causes the joints and ligaments to relax (hence the name) during pregnancy in preparation for labour. One of the effects of relaxin is the loosening of ligaments throughout the body, making you (as a pregnant woman) less stable and more susceptible to injury, especially on your back.
To worsen the situation, your uterus places more weight on your pelvic ligaments and can add to your aches as you get closer to your delivery date. But regardless of how difficult it may seem to ease back pain, there are remedies to make you sit up (straight)!
Here are back pain relief tips for you while your body does the most essential work in growing your baby. With these tips, you can start building a better back now.
Causes of back pain
Before we reveal the relief tips to help your back pain, we’d like you to know what causes it. Of course, there are a few different reasons why you will experience back pain during pregnancy. The common reason is pretty simple – weight gain.
In reality, gaining weight is not even far-fetched. And as you’re growing a new human within you, gaining weight is just in the blink of an eye. As a result of this new weight gain, your centre of gravity shifts, and your posture is affected, putting pressure on your back and resulting in pain.
However, the back pain might be more serious sometimes. Pain in the back may be due to uterine contractions, which could be a sign of early labour. Like a heart attack, which reveals itself through pain down the left arm, early labour symptoms can be linked to pain in the back. If your pain comes and goes, it could be a sign of early labour, and you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
Back pain relief tips during pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, you’re not the only one dealing with back pain. Other women like you are, too; it is a part of the pregnancy process. There are many various ways to relieve back pain that are safe for you and your baby.
While some back pain may be a sign of a serious condition, be sure to let it all out to a doctor about your back pain before beginning any of these methods. Below are five relief tips to ease back pain during pregnancy;
Exercising while pregnant is one of the best ways to stop your back pain. Improving your overall physical fitness and strengthening the muscles in your back can help you carry the extra weight of that baby much more comfortably (and easily), helping you nullify that back pain altogether.
Low-impact aerobics like yoga, swimming, walking, riding a stationary bike, and cycling are the best exercises for pregnant women. Before you decide on the right type of exercise best for you, speak with a doctor about it; they’ll let you know the safest ones to begin with that’ll be best for you and your baby.
Yoga is a flexible practice and a movement-based strength with roots in ancient India. It is one of the most popular techniques for pregnancy back pain relief. For pregnant women whose backs, muscles, nerves, and joints are hurting under the weight of pregnancy, prenatal yoga is the top choice.
Another benefit of prenatal yoga is that it tackles emotional stress with deep, mindful breathing exercises that can strengthen and empower. In addition, regular yoga practice can promote better sleep and relax the mind and muscles.
Pregnancy makes energy level lag. It is because you’re creating a human being, and it’s hard work. Notwithstanding, you should still be active and not allow your low energy level and growing belly to make you recline. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day will work wonders on your body.
You should start exercising during your pregnancy; it is vital for the health of your baby and your overall health. It is recommended that healthy women need at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity (ideally, it should spread out across the week).
Want to know the ideal moderate-intensity activity for pregnant women? It is brisk walking! Brisk walking can be done almost anywhere and at any time. What you only need is a good, comfortable pair of sneakers and a water bottle, and you’re ready to walk around the block outside your office, your neighbourhood, or a park.
One of the safest, most effective, and most beneficial choices for exercising during pregnancy is swimming. It offers excellent health and fitness benefits as well as enjoyment and stress relief. Breaststroke or other freestyle methods of swimming is a fun way to get some low-impact aerobic exercise while boosting your oxygen levels and improving your circulation.
These (boosting your oxygen levels and improving your circulation) are what your body needs when you’re expecting. With swimming, every muscle in your body is being stretched. And since you are weightless in the water, it’s an exercise you can safely and comfortably continue throughout your entire pregnancy. The perfect time to float in refreshing water is during pregnancy!
There’s nothing like a deep tissue massage to relax your muscles and relieve tension and pain in your body. During pregnancy, posture changes, and your muscles adapt to this new posture which can result in compression on the sciatic nerve running down your lower back, buttocks, and legs.
Having a prenatal massage in that area can bring relief when back pain is especially acute. It’s even been said that aside from relieving pain, regular prenatal massage can help alleviate depression and anxiety during pregnancy. In addition, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself to some self-care before the baby arrives.
The most common and advisable method of prenatal massage is “Swedish massage”. This is because it is gentle and soothing and uses long, smooth strokes that won’t push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way or exacerbate the joints.
However, before you start a prenatal massage, consult a doctor to ensure it is safe for you. Also, be sure to work with a certified massage therapist.
Sleep in a good position
While pregnant, there are certain positions that you shouldn’t sleep on (e.g sleeping on your back). You should instead sleep on your side (with a pillow between your knees) as opposed to your back. By doing this, the pressure on your lower back will be relieved.
But if putting a pillow between your knees is uncomfortable for you, you can experiment with different pillow placements (e.g the pillow under your abdomen for more back support or between your arms if you have upper back pain) to see what works best for you.
Meditation is effective for pain relief. It can also help reduce the stress that frequently accompanies major life changes like pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms like fatigue, sleep disturbance, and mood changes can be helped with meditation.
As there are many forms of meditation, the key to success in all of them is to be consistent. Some of the common ones you could try are;
— Mindfulness meditation: It is a form of meditation that involves focusing on the physical and emotional sensations that are presently going on in the moment without judging how they make you feel.
— Walking meditation: This kind of meditation allows you to walk mindfully for a certain period. You may choose to focus on your steps or breath.
— Deep breathing: Are you short of getting a daily massage? Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to lower your heart rate, ease muscle tension, and help you fall asleep. You can try it by lying down on your bed or the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart.
(If you’re uncomfortable lying on your back or after the second trimester, you can rest on your side with a pillow between your legs for support). Thereafter, breathe slowly through your nose for four seconds, keeping your mouth closed.
You need to be conscious of your stomach rising as you fill your lungs and diaphragm with air bit by bit. Hold for a second before exhaling through your nose to the count of four.
Breathe slowly through your nose for four seconds, keeping your mouth closed. Be conscious of your stomach rising as you gradually fill your lungs and diaphragm with air, then hold for one second before exhaling through your nose to the count of four. Read about the 4-7-8 breathing technique HERE.
As you’re practising breathing techniques while meditating, the tensed muscles in your back will be unclenched, and your perception of pain will be decreased. Meditation practice will teach you to focus on something calming (such as the ocean and waves), which can be effective pain relief for your back pain.
Talk to a doctor
Back pain in pregnancy is bound to happen, therefore, listen to your body and don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. If you have back pain that lasts longer than expected, be sure to speak to a doctor.
Keep in mind that back pain during pregnancy might be a sign of urinary tract infection or preterm labour. If you have back pain during pregnancy that’s accompanied by fever, vaginal bleeding, or burning during urination, let a doctor know about it immediately.
Need to speak to a doctor? Click HERE.