Pregnancy Back Pain
Preparing for a baby's birth can come with excitement, joy and of course as to be expected physical discomfort. Back pain is a normal and common complaint with 70% of women suffering lower back pain in the months leading up to delivery, especially during the final trimester, but there are a few things you and your chiropractor can do to manage your back pain so that you can keep the focus on what's most important - getting ready to welcome your new arrival.
There are a numerous reasons why you can develop back pain during pregnancy. Your hormones are changing and adapting to the pregnancy. This can involve the soft tissue changes, weight gain, changes to your spinal alignment and your exercise and activity levels change.The hormones that are released during pregnancy allow joints and ligaments in the pelvic area to become more pliant and loose, in preparation for the birthing process. The downside of this softening is that it can affect the natural support your back normally receives, particularly as the weight of your baby increases.
Low back pain is most commonly experienced later in the pregnancy as the baby is larger and heavier, a growing baby also causes your center of gravity to shift. This causes your abdominal muscles stretch and weaken, making it more difficult to maintain good posture and challenging your natural spinal alignment and the muscular support system you have developed. Other changes such as the increase in breast tissue can also accentuate this spinal shift.
Some of these tissue and mechanical alignment alterations are good for the body, in order to distribute weight gain to the middle of the body where, structurally, it's the strongest. But in a woman whose structure is weak where stress is magnified, low back pain can be the result.If pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve or presses on a spinal disc, pain may extend through the hips, buttocks and legs. It is not uncommon however to experience back pain early on as the body begins to adapt.
The Chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic can assess the new areas of stress on your body treat these areas and offer great advice to help stabilise and support your spine. It is very important if you are planning on starting a family to visit your chiropractor and address any spinal issues early as women who lack flexibility and strength in their back and abdominal muscles and those carrying more than one baby also may be more susceptible.
Prevent Back Pain during PregnancyTo optimize your chances of keeping back pain at bay, there are a variety of preventive measures you can take.
Firstly, maintain or begin regular check ups with your chiropractor. They can provide safe preventative treatment and home advice during your pregnancy. Keeping physical and active is also important to keep your body at its best performance. The muscles will be at their strongest and most supportive and more adaptive to change. It is also important to keep flexible to prevent any injuries. While your body is undergoing these changes you should endeavour to maintain the best posture you can.
Adapting to the changes in centre of gravity will become easier and cause less strain. Modifications can also be made while you are sitting and lifting to modify your activity to precent injury and strain. While lifting your should remember to squat and keep your back straight as you lift. Twisting and bending can be detrimental to your spine. It is important when you are sitting for long periods you have numerous small breaks and changes of position.
When seated try and have your feet slightly raised and use a back support if necessary.The Chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic can give you great advice and recommend products from our range specifically to meet your needs. Reducing your level of stress by getting enough sleep allows for better healing and strength. Sleeping on your side is important as the pressure of the baby while on your back can be a contributing factor to back pain. Most importantly your body will know what is harmful and what is therapeutic to it. Listen to your body and no not push it past its limits.
Easing Back Pain Once It StartsIn addition to the above preventive measures, commonly prescribed therapies for easing pregnancy-related back pain can include:
- Chiropractic care can provide relief for some pregnancy related discomfort and conditions. Chiropractic treatment uses various techniques to provide optimal movement of your spine and to help address any muscular pain or irritation. Chiropractic an also help with stabilization and can provide at home exercises to help with the stabilization of your spine helping to reduce the lower back pain. As the birthing process is traumatic for both the mother and the infant it is a good idea to get a chiropractic assessment post birth to make sure both mum and bub are recovering well.
- Hot or cold therapy, in the form of a warm bath, a hot water bottle, or an ice pack.
- Physical therapy specifically designed to address the needs of your changing body as your pregnancy progresses.
- Anti-inflammatory/analgesic medications, as recommended by your Doctor.
- Complementary treatments such as massage therapy, and acupuncture. They may provide some relief for pregnancy-related discomfort, and perhaps some stress relief as well.
It is important to discuss any therapy options with your obstetrician or medical doctor. It is important to speak to your doctor if you're experiencing dull, cramping low back pain, your back pain is severe, starts suddenly, or is accompanied by fever, you experience back pain as well as vaginal spotting or bleeding and you develop numbness or weakness in your legs, buttocks, groin, or genital area.