Back pain and pregnancy go hand in hand and for up to 75 percent of all pregnant women, they are a just a fact of life. But there are some things that can be done to ease back pain during pregnancy. Here are our top 10 tips for ultimate relief. Be sure to consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies for back pain.
Get The Right Shoes
While much attention has been focused on fashion conscious celebrities who wear their designer platform heels throughout their pregnancies, the truth is that wearing sensible shoes is a better option when it comes to back pain. High heels force the pelvis to tip forward, further exaggerating the curvature in the lumbar region of the lower back. While they may look good, high heels will just add to the strain on the back, so opt for flat or low heels with plenty of support in them.
Heat, Cold Or Massages, Oh My!
If the cause of the pain is muscular, then heat, cold or a massage may be the best thing. Cold from an ice pack can help reduce any inflammation, while heat from a heat pack can help soothe muscles, and neither pose any inherent danger to the baby. Cold can cause freeze burns to skin if applied directly or left on for too long, so be sure that the ice is wrapped in a towel and left on no longer than 20 minutes. Heat shouldn't be too hot as it can raise core body temperature which is dangerous for baby. A massage also helps relax muscles, but should be performed by a qualified professional, and should never be done while lying on the baby bump.
Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to help relieve many conditions, including back pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture is generally considered safe since it is drug free, but since it does break the skin, it does carry a small risk for infection. Be sure that the acupuncturist is licensed and is experienced in working with pregnant women.
Body mechanics are extremely important when pregnant. If a pregnant woman must lift something, even something that is relatively lightweight, she should be sure she is squatting down to pick it up and lifting with her legs, not her already strained back. She should also avoid twisting, as well.
Since much of the back pain experienced by pregnant women is in the lumbar region of the back, a lumbar pillow will help to support the back, especially when sitting for long hours in the office. These pillows come in a variety of styles and fabrics so there is something that is sure to suit everyone. Even a simple throw pillow will do the trick from the couch at home.
Contrary to the old wives' tales, exercise is good for most pregnant women, provided that their doctor hasn't told them otherwise. When it comes to back pain, pregnant women can help prevent back pain from developing by strengthening their core muscles. While abdominal exercises are not always recommended during pregnancy, improving one's overall fitness can prove to be beneficial. Swimming is a great way to improve health when pregnant and the weight will help keep the strain off of joints and support the increasing weight of the belly.
When a woman’s back hurts, her first instinct is to try and stretch it out by slumping her shoulders forward and flattening out the lower back. While this may help ease some of the ache temporarily, sitting like this for a long period of time can actually make back pain worse. So, pregnant women need to be sure that they maintain good posture. If their back muscles become fatigued while sitting at their desk, for example, instead of slumping forward, they should try a support pillow. If the same thing happens when standing or walking, a maternity support might be the way to go.
Chiropractic care, or the manipulation of the spinal column to relieve pain, has been shown to be safe during pregnancy provided that the chiropractor is qualified to work on pregnant women as special precautions must be taken. In fact, chiropractic treatments have a number of benefits during pregnancy and, according to the American Pregnancy Association, there are no contraindications because the treatments are drug free and non-invasive.
Experts agree that the best position for a pregnant woman to sleep in is on her left side. The reason is that it takes pressure off of a major blood vessel as well as helping to ease the heavy burden of pregnancy. This can be hard for some women, especially those used to sleeping on their backs. Luckily, there are several products available at most local discount and specialty stores that help position Mom on her left side comfortably.
Maternity support belts have been around for decades and they work by helping to take some of the strain off of the lower back by redistributing the weight through the hips. They are usually inexpensive, and made of heavy elastic and Velcro, and they are widely available at most discount stores or maternity clothing stores. They can be worn under clothing or over it, based upon personal preference.
These are just some of the ways that pregnant women can relieve their back pain. Like many common problems, if one of these methods doesn't work, another one probably will so just keep trying until you’re able to relieve the back pain that accompanies pregnancy.