Back Pain during Pregnancy

Women often assume that the back pain they feel during pregnancy must have something to do with the extra weight they’re carrying, and while that certainly does make some sense if you’re really packing on the pounds, it isn’t usually the case. Pregnancy and back pain go hand-in-hand and this article will explain exactly why.

The Primary Cause of Back Pain

We all know that pregnancy does some strange things as far as the hormones go, but few know that one of the hormonal changes is a primary cause of back pain during pregnancy. In order to prepare your body for delivery, a hormone called Relaxin is produced. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Well it is when you give birth because it softens the pelvis and ligaments and makes it easier for the baby to make its way through the pelvis. The thing is this also ends up causing your back pain. This happens because your spine and surrounding muscles take on the extra pressure while compensating for what your ligaments are now too soft to handle, which inevitably leads to a sore back. Add to that your growing uterus and your spine and back muscles that are working even harder and you get more back pain during pregnancy. Problems with the sacroiliac joint, which is also affected by the softening of the ligaments, may cause moderate to severe back pain.

Other Causes of Back Pain

There are other things that cause back pain during pregnancy, like lifting heavy items or doing strenuous exercise – either of which can spark the onset of back pain. If you had back issues before you became pregnant, you can expect them to recur or worsen during pregnancy.

Sciatic back pains are another type of pain that pregnancy women frequently have to manage. Sciatic nerve pain occurs when the bundle of sciatic nerves that branch off the end of your spine and passes through your hip joint become pinched and inflamed. The pain resembles being jabbed with an electric prod and the shock passes through the cheeks of your buttocks, often on one side or the other.

What to Do About It

While pregnant your options are limited as far as pain killers and muscle relaxants go, so you need to find other ways to deal with back pain during pregnancy naturally. If you’re already experiencing back pain then the use of hot and cold pads on the lower back are helpful. The heat can help sooth tense muscles while cold can minimize inflammation. You can prevent the back pain from worsening or even starting if it hasn’t yet by watching your posture. Practicing good posture isn’t only about making you look good but it also helps your body to distribute the pressure evenly so your back isn’t working overtime and ending up in pain.

And the best thing that you can do for dealing with and preventing back pain in pregnancy is to keep your back and abdominal muscles strong. It may sound odd, but exercising really can help and even prevent back pain during pregnancy. Something as simple as pelvic tilts can make a huge difference in the way your back feels-as long as you don’t overdo it of course! If you’re not used to exercise, begin slowly and avoid heavy lifting. If you do have to lift something heavy, hold it close to your body, bend your knees rather than your back and try not to twist.
Always speak to your doctor before beginning a new workout routine no matter how basic. And, be sure to stop if you feel any discomfort.

Times to be Concerned

There are times when back you should be concerned about back pain during pregnancy:

· When sciatic back pain becomes so serious you have difficulty walking. Weakness in the legs may accompany the pain. Physical therapy and specific non-strenuous exercises can be helpful in freeing the sciatic nerves, lessening the back pain, and ultimately restoring your ability to be mobile again.

· If the pain is persistent in the lower back and there is a feeling of pressure on the pelvic floor, you may be heading into labor. See if you can feel any real contractions and, if the pain persists, call the doctor.

· Back pain with severe cramping and vaginal bleeding may signal a miscarriage. Call the doctor and head to the hospital immediately.

· Some back pain is simply inherent in pregnancy. However, persistent pain should be checked out by the doctor.

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