Pregnancy is a miraculous time in a woman’s life, but it can also come with its share of discomforts, and one of the most common complaints is back pain.
According to research, up to 75% of pregnant women experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. That’s a lot!
Understanding the causes of back pain during pregnancy can help expectant mothers to better manage and alleviate this discomfort. So in this blog post, I’ll explore some of the various causes and discuss some helpful tips for relief.
Weight Gain and Altered Posture
As pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus puts additional weight on the lower back, causing the muscles and ligaments to work harder to support the spine. This increased weight leads to an altered posture, with a forward tilt of the pelvis and an increased arch in the lower back. This increased weight shifts her centre of gravity forward, causing greater load on her back as she recruits more of her posterior muscles to compensate for this anterior shift in weight. And as you can imagine the result is often back pain and muscle fatigue.
Tip: Maintaining good posture throughout your pregnancy can have a big impact on not only your back pain but on your overall health and energy throughout your pregnancy. By being conscious of your posture and adopting good postural habits, such as sitting up straight, avoiding slouching, using supportive chairs and pillows, can help greatly to alleviate your back pain.
During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin, which helps, as the name suggests, to relax the ligaments in the pelvis to prepare for childbirth. However, relaxin works systemically throughout the body which means it can also affect the ligaments in the spine, making them more flexible and lax, resulting in less support and increased strain on the back.
Tip: Gentle exercises, such as prenatal pilates or swimming, can help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and provide relief from hormonal-induced back pain.
The changes in weight distribution and posture during pregnancy can lead to muscle imbalances, where some muscles become overly tight (hypertonic) while others become weak (hypotonic). These imbalances can affect the stability of the spine especially during everyday activities, contributing to back pain.
Tip: Regular exercise that includes strengthening exercises for the back muscles, such as gentle core exercises, and stretching can help maintain muscle balance and reduce the risk of back pain.
Poor Body Mechanics
As the body changes during pregnancy, simple tasks like bending, lifting, getting in and out of the car, getting up from a chair, sleeping and let’s not mention trying to get up from the floor, can become more challenging as the pregnancy progresses. These changes often result in pregnant women unknowingly using poor body mechanics, such as bending from the waist and back instead of the knees causing greater strain on the back muscles.
Tip: Practicing proper body mechanics, such as squatting or kneeling, when bending and decreasing the load and keeping it close to the body when lifting can help reduce strain on the back and prevent pain.
Lack of Exercise
When it comes to exercise, pregnant women often find it difficult to determine what is acceptable and what isn’t for them and their baby, which often leads to inactivity. However, inactivity or lack of regular exercise during pregnancy can weaken the muscles supporting the spine, and other joints of the body, making it more susceptible to pain. Being active throughout the pregnancy is important as it not only decreases back and joint pain but it can have a positive impact on the impending labour as well.
Tip: Regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming or prenatal pilates, can help strengthen the back muscles and alleviate back pain.
If you’re pregnant and struggling with back pain, or trying to avoid it, then I’d love to help. Chiropractic care is gentle and safe throughout your pregnancy and has been shown to not only improve your body’s ability to adapt to the fast-moving changes of pregnancy but to have a positive impact on labour time as well. How great is that!
So if you’d like to know more or to book an appointment, then just reach out and contact us at the clinic on 84319100. Our friendly front desk staff are on hand to help.