Exhausted with those never-ending, extremely uncomfortable back pain during pregnancy? Mommie, you are not alone - at least 50-70% of pregnant women experience excruciating lower back pain, especially during the second half of the pregnancy as the baby grows bigger. There is no reason to be alarmed, it is quite natural to have back during pregnancy.
But as it is significantly uncomfortable and incapacitating, back pain can spoil your mood, affect the daily routine as well as disrupt your most needed good night sleep. No experience can be even remotely compared to the experience of becoming a mother.
Therefore, be informed about every change as well as complications your body goes through and cherish these months of pampering yourself and your beloved child growing inside you. Here we have put together everything you need to you about back pain during pregnancy including causes and remedies.
Table of content:
Types of back pain during pregnancy:
There are two types of back pain during pregnancy:
1. Posterior pelvic pain: This type of pain occurs mostly in the pelvic region below the waistline and to the sides, typically in the sacroiliac joint. The pain can radiate through the buttocks to the lateral thighs but it does not spread beyond the knees. It generally occurs due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
2. Lower back pain or Lumbar pain: This type of back pain occurs at the centre of the lower back region and above the waistline which may radiate towards your legs if you sit or stand for a long time. Lumbar pain unlike sciatica is not a nerve pain and do not accompany the numbness of the pelvic region. The symptoms of lower back pain during pregnancy are similar to normal back pain such as muscle tenderness etc.
Causes of back pain during pregnancy:
Back pain during pregnancy normally happens at the sacroiliac joint, where the pelvis meets the spine. The sacroiliac joint is connected to the sacrum and ilium with multiple ligaments that facilitates limited movement of the hips, thereby maintaining stability. There may be different reasons for back pain during pregnancy:
1. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction:
It is a commonly known reason for lower back pain during pregnancy. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction generally is caused by abnormal motion i.e., too much or too little movement in the sacroiliac joint. The ligaments of the Sacroiliac joint normally facilitates stability and allows minimum movements but during pregnancy, the hormones loosen up the ligaments thereby losing control over hip movements.
2. Center of gravity:
As you’re gaining weight, the center of gravity of your body changes, which gives rise to muscular imbalances and muscle fatigue. In the constant struggle to balance the weight of the baby bump, naturally, most of the pressure is transferred to the back, thereby giving rise to frequent back pain during pregnancy.
3. Changes and increase of hormones:
During pregnancy, a woman’s body becomes a pool of hormones as the stages of pregnancy advance. The hormone “relaxin” is secreted to relax the ligaments and joints of the pelvis to facilitate the birthing process. As the ligaments loosen up, they lose the ability to control joint movements which affect the stability and posture of the pregnant woman. As the belly grows, the muscles in the back region strain to carry the extra weight which in turn leads to back pain during pregnancy.
4. Weight gain during pregnancy:
While weight gain during pregnancy is a natural phenomenon, it can lead up to 11-15 Kg of pregnancy weight gain during a healthy pregnancy. As the baby grows the pressure shifts to the spine as well as the blood vessel and nerves in the pelvis, to support the extra weight. Constant weight gain during pregnancy, therefore, leads to lower back pain.
5. Changes in posture or position:
As the pregnancy advances and the belly grows, the center of gravity of your body shifts leading to imbalance and instability. Because of which, to maintain balance, your body posture may change without even coming to your notice. Change in posture may strain the muscles and put extra pressure towards the back leading to lower back pain during pregnancy.
Be it emotional or physical stress, excessive of both is harmful especially when the woman is pregnant. It exhausts the weight-bearing muscles and joints leading to muscle tension which ultimately causes back pain during pregnancy.
7. Diastasis recti or Abdominal Muscle separation:
A condition quite common among pregnant women (two-thirds of pregnant women have it), Diastasis recti though isn’t really dangerous, but can cause lower back pain during pregnancy. This occurs as the growing uterus puts pressure on the two bands of rectus abdominis muscles that run from the rib cage to the pubic bone, causing them to separate along the center.
[Read more: Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy]
Methods to get relief from back pain:
No matter whatever be the reason and however excruciating the pain may be, medications such as painkillers are never an option for a pregnant woman to consider as there can be side effects harming the fetus. Instead, you can try the ones mentioned below:
1. Get enough rest:
Before anything, you must give your body enough rest as it is constantly going through a lot of changes already. Lack of enough rest can easily stress out your body and result in back pain during pregnancy.
- Never compromise on that good night sleep and use a soft, comfortable mattress for further relaxation.
- Sit and relax whenever you can during the day and don’t stand for too long.
- Keep yourself away from anything that can stress you out and meditate every now and then to get your mind relaxed.
- Sleep on your sides and do not lock your knees while sleeping.
[Read more: What Are The Best Sleeping Positions For Back Pain]
2. Practice good posture:
As we already know posture has a major role to play in causing back pain during pregnancy. Therefore, make sure to practice good posture that prevents the muscle from straining.
- Keep your spine straight and don’t slouch.
- Instead of bending over, sit in a squat position to pick up something.
- Don’t make swift movements that may add up to the pain.
- Wear comfortable shoes to give your feet some relief.
- Make sure your back is supported by a small pillow in the spinal curve while sitting.
- Avoid household works that need too much physical labour.
- Try stretching to relax your muscles and increase flexibility.
3. Exercise regularly:
We all know the benefits of exercising on a regular basis. Along with strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility, exercising regularly improves respiration, blood circulation as well as enhances metabolism. During pregnancy you need to be extra careful and only practice safe exercises such as swimming, walking, pelvic tilts, arm and leg raise etc. Try basic prenatal yoga poses or simple exercises during pregnancy that do not stress your body.
[Read more: Pregnancy Yoga - Everything You Need To Know]
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice where small needles are inserted at specific points or acupuncture points of the body to reduce stress as well as pain. While acupuncture can help you to get relief from excessive stress and lower back pain during pregnancy, practising it without the supervision of an expert can lead to pregnancy complications such as preterm labour, miscarriage etc.
5. Apply heat or ice:
Applying heating pads or ice on muscles or joints is a common practice to relieve back pain during pregnancy. The heat improves the blood circulation by opening the blood vessels and the fresh supply of oxygens helps in relieving the pain. Although it is very safe to apply heat or cold pads during pregnancy, make sure not to use it directly onto your skin and your belly.
6. See a chiropractor:
Chiropractors are specially trained to provide prenatal care and massages to the pregnant women. During pregnancy, the centre of gravity of your body gets shifted due to the growing baby and the alignment of the joints gets disbalanced. Routine chiropractic sessions can help you to restore pelvic balance and spinal alignment, prevent sciatica or lower back pain during pregnancy as well as reduce labour time in the future.