Back pain and muscle strain during pregnancy are normal since it means that your baby is growing and your body changes to accommodate your baby’s growth. Back pain associated with pregnancy is often experienced during the second pregnancy term. So, although it is natural to experience back pain and discomfort, you don’t have to endure since you can visit your chiropractor for pregnancy chiropractic. Before you book an appointment, it is best to know and understand the possible reasons why back pain during pregnancy happens, which includes weight gain, posture changes, changes in the hormone, and muscle separation.
What are the causes of back pain during pregnancy?
Back pain during pregnancy happens when the pelvis meets the spine at the sacroiliac joint. The growth of your baby can lead to bodily changes that pressure the nerves of your back spine and back, causing back pain and discomfort. The following are the body changes due to pregnancy.
- Pregnancy can lead to a weight gain of about 25 to 35 pounds due to the growing baby's weight. Your body needs to accommodate the growth, yet your weight gain puts pressure on your spine, blood vessels, and nerves in your back and pelvis.
- Pregnancy can lead to hormone changes to allow the ligaments in your pelvic area to relax. The same hormone called relaxin also makes your joints looser as your body prepares for your baby's birthing. The hormones also cause ligaments in your spine to loosen, which causes pain and instability.
- Pregnancy can lead to changes in your posture. Certain positions would be challenging for a pregnant woman to do, which may result in changes in your stance. The changes can result in back pains and muscle strains.
- Pregnancy can lead to muscle separation to allow expansion of the uterus. The expansion from the rib cage to the pubic bone causes back pain that could worsen as your baby grows.
- Pregnancy can lead to emotional stress that causes tension on your back muscle. Stressful periods during your pregnancy may increase back discomfort and pain.
Although these body changes can cause you discomfort and back pain at a certain period of your pregnancy, it is still comforting to know that your baby is growing. The pain and strain on your back muscles and your spine's nerves are ways on how your body copes and accommodates your growing baby. But don’t just endure the discomfort and pain since there are treatments for back pain during your pregnancy.
Treatment options for back pain during pregnancy
Back pain will ease and go away naturally once you give birth. However, instead of waiting for your baby to greet the world, there are treatments and things that you can do to ease your back pain.
- Go for regular exercise. Strenuous exercise that you usually do before pregnancy is a big no. There are safe stretching and activities that a pregnant woman can do, including walking, stationary cycling, and swimming. But before you engage in any safe exercises, it is best to seek the advice of your doctor or your pregnancy chiropractic expert.
- Apply a hot and cold compress on your back. To relieve back pain and stress, apply a cold compress for about 20 minutes two to three times a day. Do this for a day or two days before switching to a hot compress on your back. It is essential, however, to refrain from applying hot compress on your abdomen.
- Try to maintain a good posture. Your body changes may lead you to change your posture, causing strain on your back muscle. However, being conscious of your posture while sitting, working, or sleeping will help you correct your posture. You can put a small pillow or even a rolled-up towel on your back while sitting and sleep with a pillow between your knees. You can also use back support to help straighten your back.
- Visit your chiropractor for chiropractic treatment. A well-trained chiropractor will know safe and effective spine manipulation for pregnant women. However, it also depends on the status of your pregnancy, as no two pregnancies are alike. It is best to consult our physician first if your pregnancy allows you to go for chiropractic manipulation.
- Go for counseling as back pain can also be related to stress. A good laugh with a trusted friend or going for counseling will help you relieve stress.
Aside from changes in your posture, avoid putting stress on your back by following these additional tips.
- Refrain from bending over and instead of your legs to squat when picking up something from the ground.
- Refrain from wearing high-heeled shoes. You might be fond of wearing high-heeled fancy shoes everyday, but it needs to change during pregnancy. Wearing high-heeled shoes can put a lot of stress on your calf and your back that could lead to back pain later on. Wearing high-heeled shoes can even be dangerous since you can easily go out of balance and endanger your baby.
- Refrain from sleeping on your back as the weight of your baby can put stress on your spine. Sleep on your side with a pillow propped up in between your legs instead.
- Wear hose or stomach support.
After you tried the different treatment options and your back pain persists, consult your doctor the soonest. Avoid taking pain medications without prescription since pain medicines and muscle relaxants are safe for pregnant women.
Natural treatments that you do at home
Before you take medications, there are holistic treatments that you can do at home. As your baby grows, there are ways to keep your body comfortable.
- Prenatal yoga often tops the list of options for pregnant women. Yoga can help you strengthen your back, increase your flexibility, and improve your posture. Pregnancy can also give you stress, and prenatal yoga enables you to ease stress and makes you mindful of your breathing.
- Meditation is an excellent way to relax your body at any time and any day. You can do meditation at home, sit up or lying down, perform it in total silence to concentrate on breathing or go for meditation with soft relaxing music.
- A prenatal massage gives a list of benefits during pregnancy. It provides quick relief from muscle pains, strains, and spasms due to an irritated sciatic nerve in your buttocks and legs. Regular prenatal massage like Swedish massage even helps alleviate anxiety and depression during pregnancy.
- Acupuncture and acupressure to remove blockages of your qi. Acupuncture uses needles, while acupressure uses a finger to remove the stress and pressure for a smooth flow of your body’s energy. However, this should be done by a registered and licensed acupuncturist since the wrong application may induce labor.
- Pregnancy chiropractic care helps relieve back pain. Chiropractors are not only known for back cracking or spine manipulation since treatments can be adjusted based on the condition of the client and the status of your pregnancy. Many pregnant women visit chiropractors to detect imbalances in the body. However, you should see an experienced chiropractor who works with pregnant women, mainly that not all can perform chiropractic care during pregnancy.
- Physical therapy helps in relieving stress in your back muscles, joints, and nerve pressure points. Often, pregnant women resort to improper posture, which causes back pain and muscle strain. A physical therapist can help you learn how to properly walk, stand, bend, and reach without straining your muscles. If you think that it is a bit funny that you need to re-learn how to walk, stand, turn, and go, it is best to remember that pregnancy will refrain you from doing specific ordinary tasks.
- Swimming is a good and recommended exercise during pregnancy since it relaxes and takes off your spine's pressure. Since you are weightless in water, you can move your body with ease and flap your arms and legs to pressure off your spine.
- Wear proper clothes fit for pregnancy, maternity belts, and flat shoes. Tight jeans and high-heeled shoes may be your style before pregnancy, but you may need to keep in your closet for a little while. Wearing tight and fitted clothes will put pressure on your growing body and strain your back muscles. Wearing high-heeled shoes is also not recommended since it may cause strains on your ankles and your back muscle. Wearing high-heeled shoes may even lead to untoward incidents that may harm your growing baby.
- Sleep support like long body pillows or a folded thick towel placed between your legs during sleeping will help you ease the tension. Sleeping on your sides optimizes the blood flow to your baby. So, a little uneasiness from sleeping on your sides for several months is worth it.
There are many treatment modalities that you can do to relieve back pain during pregnancy. You can do stretching and non-strenuous exercises as recommended by your therapist. Meditation and prenatal yoga are also good. A visit to your spa for a good prenatal massage, enjoy swimming to relax your back muscle, use body pillows, wear appropriate clothing and shoes during pregnancy, and visit your chiropractor for good pregnancy chiropractic.