Pregnancy back pain is very common.
Stop in any OB office or massage therapy studio and you’re sure to see a few baby bumps in the waiting room.
Pregnancy hormones that loosen your ligaments, increased weight and a center of gravity that pulls you forward become a perfect storm and cause two million pregnant women to experience back pain each year.
Pregnancy Back Pain
Pregnancy back pain is especially common during the last trimester when your uterus moves from your pelvis straight out into your abdomen. This puts a ton of stress on your low back. To make matters worse, your spine actually curves a little, changing your posture and cramming your back vertebrae and the nerves coming out of your spine.
So what can you do?
Follow these tips to keep your back pain at bay.
One of the biggest problems for many of the Kansas City pregnant women we treat is their shoes. Even with their center of body thrown off, some women still force on a pair of heels.
Even without all of the physical challenges of pregnancy, heels are hard on your low back. It’s best to wear tennis shoes with a good insole or flat boots in the winter. If it’s summer, choose rubber-soled wedges or sandals with some substance (as my mom would say) instead of flip-flops.
Some Serious Pillows
There’s more than one way to nest. Building a nest of pillows around yourself can help to support your low back even when you’re asleep. Start with 3 pillows:
- One For Your Head – Make sure it’s firm enough to hold your head in line with your shoulder when you’re sleeping on your side. A flat pillow puts pressure on your neck and shoulder.
- One for Your Right Side and One for Your Left Side – Your right and left pillows should be in between your knees as you flip from side to side. This keeps your low back in proper alignment, and having one on each side of your body keeps you from switching one pillow back and forth all night long.
Our Kansas City chiropractors specialize in treating pregnancy back pain, naturally. As your baby grows, he puts pressure on your joints and ligaments in your low back area. This often causes those joints to lock up and puts pressure on your nerves. When your nerves become irritated or pinched, back pain results.
One of the most common types of back pain that many pregnant women experience is sciatica pain. Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve (a nerve that runs down your buttocks and the back of your legs) is irritated. During pregnancy, as your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve where it moves through the pelvis.
Through chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy chiropractors can isolate and then correct the true cause of the pain. Chiropractic adjustments are light impulses applied to joints that are locked up. They release trapped gases inside the joints, restore motion, and relieve the pressure on your nerves.
Our team of professionals work closely with several Kansas City OB/GYN groups and hospitals to help hundreds of Kansas City pregnant women find back pain relief during pregnancy each year.
3. Use Ice or Heat
To use ice or heat. That is the question….
(Dr. Charles Fulk recently recorded a video that may help you to know when to use ice vs. heat.)
Ice actually helps to reduce the swelling as soon as you first start feeling back pain during pregnancy. If you don’t have an ice pack, just grab a towel-wrapped bag of frozen vegetables from your freezer and apply them to your back for about 15 minutes. Then, stick them back in the freezer and repeat 30 minutes later.
Heat increases circulation, so it is best used after your swelling has subsided. Don’t have a heating pad? No problem! Just pour two cups of rice into a large sock. Knot the end of it, and then microwave it for 1 minute. Apply it to your back for 15 minutes.
4. Get Moving
Go for a Walk Each Night
Even a simple walk around your neighborhood can stretch and strengthen your back. Bring your spouse or a friend along and make it an opportunity to catch up on life.
Do the Cat-Cow
Get down onto the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees directly below your hips.
Drop your head down and pull your stomach in, arching your back and tightening your buttocks. Then, slowly point your chin up, relaxing your abs and back. Repeat 10 times.
Incorporating these tips into your regular daily routine, especially during the last few months of your pregnancy will not only provide back pain relief, but research shows that many of these tips can actually make your labor and delivery more efficient. (And that’s always a good thing.)