Experiencing mild to severe back pain is common during pregnancy, and almost 70% of women complain of it during the second half of pregnancy. Although it does not pose any serious threat to the health of either the mother or the baby but it is important to pay attention to the problem to avoid complications in the future. There are several reasons of back pain and understanding the reasons can help in providing a better insight into the problem itself.
Reasons for Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is experienced when the pelvis meets the spine. There are several causes of back pain and some of the most common reasons are as follows:
Weight Gain – Pregnancy causes a drastic increase in weight in women that shifts the center of gravity forward and creates pull on the lower back muscles that causes back pain.
Hormonal Changes – Hormones such as relaxin released during pregnancy increase the movement of the pelvic joint by relaxing the pelvic muscles and ligaments that lead to lower back pain.
Position of the Baby – As the baby grows in the womb, it at times compresses certain nerves and cause back pain.
Stress – Emotional stress is also a leading cause of pain. Stressful situations increase muscle tension, spasms and back pain.
Natural Ways to Reduce Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is closely related to pregnancy, and each and every woman experiences it. But there are certain natural remedies for back pain that work effectively in reducing the severity of the pain without the use of medication.
Maintain Good Posture
One of the most effective ways to relieve back pain during pregnancy is to maintain good posture at all times. A bulging belly shifts the body’s center of gravity forward that causes the lower back to be pulled forward that creates a constant pull and tension on the back muscles. A straight body posture helps in stretching the back muscles making it the best exercise for relieving lower back pain. Always try to stand straight with your chest high, and your shoulders relaxed.
Get the Right Gear
Using comfortable and functional gear also provides relief from back pain during pregnancy. Maternity support belts or maternity pants with wide elastic bands provide additional support and helps in lifting the weight of the growing belly that relieves the tension from the back and abdomen. Choosing the right shoes is also very important for lowering back pain. Wear low-heeled shoes with proper arch support and stay away from flip-flops, kitten heels and wedges.
It is important to maintain right sleeping posture during pregnancy in order to get relief from back pain. Don’t sleep on your back. Sleeping on your sides with a pillow between the knees, with one or both knees bent helps in relieving stress from the back. Using a wedge or a support pillow under your abdomen and behind your back also helps in reducing the pull and strain on back muscles.
Regular exercise is the most effective way to relieve back pain during pregnancy. Exercise stretches and strengthens the back muscles, improves flexibility and increases the level of energy so that the body can cope with back pains and aches. Back pain exercises and light stretching along with walking and swimming are ideal pre-natal workouts that reduce physical discomfort, improve circulation, strengthen abdominal muscles, reduce stress and promote better sleep. However, it is important to consult your doctor or therapist before resuming any exercise.
Pre-natal yoga is one of the most potent remedies for back pain during pregnancy. The yoga postures stretches and tones the back and abdominal muscles, relieves soreness, increases strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles. It also helps in relieving stress and depression and lifts the mood. In addition, it also calms the nervous system. Get in touch with an experienced yoga instructor who specializes in pre-natal yoga and relax your muscles and senses with its healing touch.
Use Support Pillows while Sitting
Faulty sitting posture is one of the major causes of back pain during pregnancy. It is important to maintain a comfortable and stress-free sitting posture to reduce the tension from back and abdominal muscles. Choose a comfortable chair or opt for an ergonomic chair and place a small pillow or a rolled towel behind your back to add extra support. Also use a footstool to keep your legs at an elevated position while sitting to ease back pressure. Keep your back straight and don’t slouch while sitting and move to the front of the chair and get up by straightening your legs.
Extra care should be taken while lifting up objects during pregnancy because careless bending increases the risk of lower back pain. Keep within your limits and don’t try to lift anything that is heavier that a few pounds all by yourself. It is ok to ask for help. When lifting something, don’t bend your waist, instead squat down by bending your knees and lift with the support of your legs instead of your back.
Try Hot and Cold
Applying alternate hot and cold compress can help in relieving acute back pain effectively. For the first 1 to 2 days apply a cold compress by wrapping an ice bag in a towel for about 20 minutes 3-4 times a day then switch to hot compress for the next 1 to 2 days by using a heating pad or hot water bag. But remember not to apply heat to your abdomen. The cold compress helps reduce swelling and pain, and the hot compress enhances circulation through the muscles. It is important to consult your doctor before trying out the hot and cold compress.
Regular physical activities are the easiest and most effective workouts that stretch the muscles and helps in relieving back pain during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to be active and engage in gentle activities to keep your back muscles strong and active. Go for short walks and swimming, pull out a chair and chop the fruits or vegetables, prepare your snacks, etc. But don’t strain yourself, don’t stand for long periods and don’t lift heavy objects.
Swimming is a fun and refreshing way of relieving back pain during pregnancy. Swimming helps in strengthening the abdominal and back muscles. The buoyancy of the water supports the body weight and relieves the strain on back muscles and ligaments. Sign up for swimming or water exercise classes that specializes in prenatal water exercise and relieve the pressure from your stressed muscles in a relaxing way.
Try to include these simple and easy tips in your pre-natal care routine and reduce the severity of back pains and aches naturally.