Back pain is the pain felt in the lower or upper region of the back. Back pain is the most common problem faced by pregnant women. The impact of the pain arises due to multiple factors but the prime reason is the strain on the spine or the spinal region due to weak and stretched muscles supporting the spine owing to the increasing weight of the mother. However, back pain to a little extent is normal during pregnancy but the severity needs immediate attention as it may indicate the onset of an infection, some pregnancy complications or a pre-term labor. The expecting mothers should follow the various available approaches to ease the discomfort to ensure that it does not become a long term ailment.
Back Pain during Pregnancy: The causes
There exist five primary causes for the back pain occurring during pregnancy:
- Increase in Weight
- Change in Posture
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Muscle separation
Ways to get relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy
In order to ease the distress and discomfort caused due to the back pain, there are some assured helpful approaches that can provide relief to the pain.
- Check the Posture: A wilting posture not only create tension in the spine but also contributes to the back pain, therefore a proper posture while working, sitting, or sleeping must be ensured.
- Heat Application: Heat pads and hot water bottles can work wonders when it comes to comforting of the back pain because the mild heat radiated relaxes the tension created in the muscles around the spine. However the pregnant woman should refrain from application of heat to abdominal region during pregnancy as it may be unsafe for the baby. Even before applying heat pads or hot water bags consult and check your physician’s advice.
- Cold Application: A twenty minute application of ice packs on the area with pain can soothe the pain to a large extent. The latent heat within the ice eases the strained muscles.
- Following an Exercise Regime: Relief from the pain and strain affecting the spine can be achieved with regular exercising as it improves the flexibility and provides support to the muscles and an excellent stress release but it does require medical attention.
- Medications to get Relief from Back Pain: Pain medications like acetaminophen, aspirin and muscle relaxants can be taken which provide instant relief. The drawback to it is that the relief stays till the medication works. Although safe during pregnancy, but medical supervision is required before administration of such medication.
Exercises to get Relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy
Regular exercise is a good way to reduce back pain. Below are some exercises to be performed during pregnancy which are not only effective but also easy to perform.
- Cardiovascular Exercises to get relief from Back Pain during pregnancy: These exercises increase the heart rate which in turn treats the back pain. Exercises like walking, swimming, and biking are safe and should be done for at least 20 to 45 minutes for three to five days every week depending upon the physical strength of the body without straining the body much and with proper medical advice.
- Pelvic Tilts for getting relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy: Pelvic tilts involve lying on the back, bending the knees with feet placed on the ground, and placing the hands beneath the back, and then lowering the lower back against the ground. This helps in relaxing the hip region and abdominal muscles along with reduction in the back pain.
- Arm and Leg Raises for relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy: These exercises can be done by kneeling down on knees and hands while keeping the spine straight. Now lift the opposite leg and arm in a straight line with the spine followed by a pause and then lowering the arm and leg slowly. The exercise should be repeated with the other arm and leg. These exercises help in reducing pressure on spine thereby treating and soothing the back pain.
- Kegel Exercises to get relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy: Kegel exercises help in strengthening the muscles in the pelvic region and reduce the pain in back. These exercises can be done by lying on the back and pulling muscles of the vaginal area up and inwards.
- Wall Squats for getting relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy: Wall squats help in minimizing back pain during pregnancy in a safe and effective manner. These focus primarily on the buttocks, abdominal, and thigh muscles. The exercise can be done by standing with the back, shoulders, and head placed against a wall and feet about shoulder width apart, then slowly pressing down the lower back to the wall and performing a squat with knees at a 90-degree angle followed by rising up.
- Back Stretch for relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy: Back stretching exercise is extremely helpful in reducing pregnancy back pain. It can be performed by stretching the back with the help of hands and knees, when the legs are set wide apart and hands are placed in front of the head.
- Chest Stretch Exercise to relieve Back Pain during Pregnancy: The exercise involves standing with the back straight and head vertical, and then the hands should be clasped at the back side with gently stretching of arms up and down without slanting the neck and shoulders in forward direction. This exercise is known to reduce the back pain considerably.
- Hamstring Stretch to get relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy: It is one of the most effective exercises for providing relief from back pain during pregnancy, but it needs to be performed slowly. To start with the person should stand facing the chair and place one foot on it, following this the person should bend forward with a straightened back , this in turn stretches the back of the thigh and also reduces the pregnancy back pain.
Dos and Don’ts for Back Pain during Pregnancy
There are few do’s and don’ts that help in averting the back ache to a large extent but these do not ensure complete cure. However, it does help in keeping the pain under much control when done along with the exercises. These are:
- Placing a pillow between the knees while sleeping or lying by the side.
- Placing a rolled-up towel or a soft cushion behind the back when sitting on a chair to support the back.
- Elevating the feet high by placing on a stool and sitting straight along with the shoulders pulled back.
- Wearing a support belt for the back helps in soothing the pain.
- Avoiding sleeping on the back
- Getting adequate amount of rest.
- Dodging high heeled footwear that does not provide adequate support to the feet.
- Escape lifting heavy weights.
- Bending over should not be done rather using a squat position helps a lot.
Complimentary or Alternative Therapies for Back Pain during Pregnancy
Some complementary and alternative therapies help a lot in getting relief from back pain experienced during pregnancy. Here are some of them which have been proven to be effective:
- Spinal Manipulation by Chiropractor for relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy: Strain on spine is the prime cause of the back pain in pregnant women and a spine manipulation therapy using a chiropractic help can prove wonders. It should be ensured that the expecting mothers do not suffer from any nerve related pain or damage.
- Herbal Remedies to relieve Back Pain during Pregnancy: There are certain herbal preparations that have proven effectiveness for back pain. Herbal treatments like capsaicin help in blocking pain signals from reaching brain, whereas white willow extracts act as pain killer.
- Biofeedback Mechanisms as a way to get relief from Back Pain during Pregnancy: This is a treatment which utilizes techniques involving monitoring of physical reactions of body followed by maintaining of breathing and body pulse to help ease and relax the pain.
- Mind-Based Techniques to get relief from Pregnancy related Back Pain: It involves in achieving stress release and relaxation by using meditation and other techniques that help in reduction in sensation towards pain.
- Massage as an effective Alternative Treatment for Pregnancy related Back Pain: Massage has excellent therapeutic and relaxing effects if done on a regular basis. Massage therapy when administered on a regular basis not only appeases the back pain but also help in cutting down the pain medications. However, this must be taken from a massage therapist specialized in pregnancy massage.
- Yoga as a reliable Alternative Therapy for Back Pain during Pregnancy: Yoga is one most adorned proven solution to check the back pain but one must not take it up without a certified help as wrong postures and asanas affect the body negatively.
- Acupuncture and Acupressure Therapy to get relief from Pregnancy related Back Pain: Acupuncture is an alternative medication from ancient China that uses needles to relieve the pain and has been proven to provide relief from pregnancy back pain. Acupressure is a therapy totally based on the same theory as of acupuncture. Both the therapy uses the same point for treating problems; however the only difference is finger-point pressures are used in acupressure instead of needles for providing relief.
Back pain is an integral part of pregnancy which can strike during any phase of pregnancy and hampers the routine of the mother. This ailment deserves attention because the changes in the body and the increasing size of the baby ail the spine and pelvic area. The intensity of the pain can vary among individuals and with the help of preventive measures this pain can be reduced lengthily. In case of critical conditions as in the pain persists and doesn’t seem to reduce even after trying the home remedies, medical help should be taken as soon as possible.
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Note: This information is only for reference and is not a substitute of a medical care in any form. Kindly consult with a Healthcare Professional for detailed diagnosis, treatment and follow up.