Being an expectant mother can simultaneously be a joyful time and a painful one. Many changes occur to the body during pregnancy, and while these changes are normal, some of them can leave a woman with back pain. Today, Dr. Kristen Willett, a Physiatrist at Resurgens Spine Center is discussing some of these changes and how they can cause pain in the lower back.
Every woman gains weight during pregnancy, and the majority of this weight will be concentrated around the abdomen. Enlarged breasts and stomach change the posture, causing a woman to hunch forward when standing or walking. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on the spine which can lead to muscle strains, or even more serious conditions like herniated discs.
Giving birth requires a woman’s body to do some pretty incredible things. For instance, the pelvis must be able to spread out in order to accommodate the baby’s head as it’s coming out. Luckily, the pelvis is equipped with a ligament that allows it to widen and give the baby more room to move. To make this ligament more flexible, a pregnant woman’s body secretes a hormone called relaxin. Unfortunately, relaxin also causes the ligaments which support the spine to loosen and can lead to decreased stability and pain.
Post-Pregnancy Back Pain
As mentioned earlier, some back pain in pregnancy is normal but it is important to keep an eye on it. If you’re pregnant and experiencing back pain that doesn’t respond to rest, stretching, or other conservative therapies, be sure to let your doctor know.
Tips to help back pain during pregnancy:
- Exercise including walking and stretching with prenatal yoga can be helpful. Pelvic tilts relieve discomfort, and many find swimming valuable for relief.
- Practice body mechanics and maintain good posture. Stand up straight and tall, holding the chest high with the shoulders back and relaxed.
- While sitting, use a foot stool and a lumbar pillow.
- Rest a foot on a stool while standing for an extended time.
- Avoid staying in one position for an extended period. Make frequent position changes.
- Lie down for a few minutes several times a day.
- Be careful with lifting and carrying, especially with purses and bags. Ask for help lifting heavy objects.
- Get plenty of sleep, and take time for rest periods during the day. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.
- Wear low-heeled shoes that offer good arch support.
- Relaxation techniques and prenatal massage may be helpful. Applying hot packs or ice to the painful area may relieve symptoms.
The Physiatrists and spine therapists at Resurgens Spine Center offer conservative options for your low back pain during pregnancy. Call or request an online appointment today to help get you with some pain relieving measures during your pregnancy.