You’ve endured quite a few unexpected symptoms during your pregnancy, but back pain? That’s something you saw coming a mile away. While you might have been ready for it, however, maybe you weren’t prepared for how rundown it would make you feel. What can you do to relieve the pain?
We’ve got the scoop on 10 remedies that can help alleviate your back pain, but first, let’s take a closer look at why you’re feeling pain in the first place.
What Causes Back Pain during Pregnancy?
Doctors say that about half of all pregnant women will experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Most pregnant women have lower back pain, but it’s also common to experience upper back pain during your pregnancy.
Regardless of where the pain is, there are generally three causes for it:
1.Physical Body Changes
As your pregnancy progresses, your body will move differently, and the way your body holds itself will change too. These changes are the leading causes of back pain. As your belly gets bigger, you carry more weight in your abdominal area, which puts excess strain on your back. As your baby grows, your body’s center of gravity will move forward, pulling the lumbar vertebrae with it.
Changes in your joints, bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves can all contribute to your pain. Pregnancy hormones cause your ligaments to loosen, which forces your core muscles to work harder to protect your pelvis and spine. If these muscles are weak, the weight-bearing joints that connect your bones to your lower spine can become inflamed or injured.
Stress can lead to lower back pain whether you’re pregnant or not. However, first-time mothers are particularly vulnerable to stress during pregnancy because they’re anxious and unsure of what to expect.
How does stress cause pain? When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, your muscles tense and tighten up. This leads to muscle pain.
3. Pregnancy Hormones
One of the leading causes of back pain is pregnancy hormones. Progesterone levels surge in the first half of your pregnancy, which causes ligaments and tissues to relax. Once you reach the second half of your pregnancy, your body will start producing the hormone relaxin, which loosens up the ligaments in your pelvic area to make room for your baby.
Because these hormones circulate all throughout your body, they affect most of your ligaments, which can lead to instability and improper alignment in your joints. Both result in pain, particularly in the lower back area.
Can Back Pain Hurt Your Baby?
Whenever moms experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms during their pregnancies, their first concern is whether it’s going to affect the baby. Thankfully, back pain is nothing more than a nuisance to the mom. But there are a few red flags that you should be on the lookout for, including:
1.Fever and Dull Aches
If your back pain feels more like a dull ache and you’ve also got a fever, see your doctor right away.
If the ache runs along your lower back and the side of your back, it may be a sign of a kidney or bladder infection, which requires immediate medical attention. Bladder and kidney infections can be treated with a round of antibiotics.
2.Vaginal Bleeding or Tightening of the Uterus
Back pain can sometimes be a sign that something is very wrong. One of the biggest worries is preterm labor. If the pain is new and tends to be cyclical, it may be an indication of uterine contractions.
If you’re experiencing any vaginal bleeding or changes in vaginal discharge, this may indicate an issue with the placenta, or your water may have broken.
3.Sudden and Severe Pain
Sudden and severe back pain during pregnancy is never a good sign. If you’re experiencing sporadic pain with no apparent cause, see your doctor immediately to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If you’re at all concerned about your back pain, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. It may be nothing, or it may be something severe. Knowing the answer will give you peace of mind.
6 Easy Remedies for Back Pain
When you’re in pain, especially during pregnancy, you want relief as quickly as possible. Because you’re pregnant, however, finding the right treatment option can be a difficult task. Thankfully, there are a number of back pain remedies that are safe for pregnant women – and many don’t require you to take anything, but rather to do something.
1. Prenatal Yoga
You’ve heard of the benefits of yoga, particularly for relaxation and for relieving tension. But it’s also an effective way to get pain relief.
Prenatal yoga is geared specifically towards pregnant women, so it will incorporate postures designed to alleviate pain and other common symptoms – all while helping you relax.
Yoga can also tone the body, helping it better prepare for the delivery process. And you can’t beat the stress-relieving effects of this gentle form of exercise.
2. Maternity Belts
While not exactly fashionable, maternity belts can help prevent and alleviate back pain. These belts and girdles help hold up your belly, so your back doesn’t have to do all of the work.
Maternity belts can be particularly helpful for women who have protruding bellies, but doctors do recommend using them as a complement to other remedies, rather than relying on belts alone.
You can buy maternity belts online or in maternity clothing stores.
3. Sleep Support
When you’re pregnant, sleep can be an elusive creature, and when you finally do doze off, you often wake up in pain.
While doctors do recommend sleeping on your side, they also recommend adding support to prevent pain. Try rolling up a towel lengthwise and placing it perpendicular to your back where your spine is most “droopy.” The towel will give you support without requiring you to readjust yourself at night.
You can also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to take added pressure off of your lower back and pelvis.
While most people wouldn’t consider meditation “easy,” it is a simple way to reduce stress-related back pain. And the great thing about this practice is that you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Try sitting in a calm, quiet place, and focusing on your breath. Be mindful of each inhale and exhale, and take deep breaths, from your diaphragm if possible. Try to envision a calming place or listening to a guided meditation practice to help you get started.
Swimming is one of the most recommend forms of exercise during pregnancy because it alleviates a lot of the pressure on your spine. When you’re in the water, gravity has no effect on your body. In other words, you become weightless.
Pressure relief aside, you’ll also find that swimming strengthens and tones your upper body, core and legs. Stronger core muscles will make it easier for your body to cope with your growing belly.
6. Prenatal Massage Therapy
A certified prenatal massage therapist can also provide you with pain relief, especially if your back pain is acute.
In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy can also alleviate anxiety and depression in pregnant women. Most experts recommend a Swedish massage as it’s gentler and more soothing than other types of massages. Swedish massage therapists use long and smooth strokes that do not irritate the joints or push fluids around in an unhealthy way.
While many doctors recommend massage therapy during pregnancy, be sure to consult with your physician first to make sure that this is a safe treatment option for you and your pregnancy.
Back pain is a fact of life when you’re pregnant, but you don’t have to suffer through it until delivery. Use these remedies to alleviate pain and prevent it from recurring. Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any pain-relief remedy or treatment, and get medical attention right away if your pain is severe and sudden.