This article is excerpted from Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials originally written on January 28, 2020.
Pregnancy is amazing. For one thing, you’re growing a whole new person. For another, you’ve discovered aches and pains you didn’t know were possible. Such joy!
On your laundry list of pregnancy discomforts, back pain probably features prominently. It’s an all-too-common side effect of pregnancy, says Ob/Gyn Amy Stephens, MD.
It’s fairly obvious why your back hurts: You’re carting a lot of extra weight around in your abdomen. Your growing belly has also shifted your center of gravity, which can put stress on your back.
What’s more, pregnancy hormones are relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis. That comes in handy when you’re pushing the baby out, but it can lead to back pain if the joints become too stretchy.
Most of the time, back pain is just something you’ll have to deal with until after you deliver.
If you already have back pain problems, pregnancy is likely to make them worse. So if pregnancy is in your near future, now’s the time to plan, Dr. Stephens says.
Back pain relief
If you’re dealing with pregnancy back pain, there are things you can do (besides counting down until your due date). Dr. Stephens recommends these strategies:
1. Treat the pain
Hot compresses can help soothe sore back muscles. Acetaminophen (like Tylenol®) is also a safe way to treat stubborn back pain, Dr. Stephens says.
2. Lift carefully
Whether you’re unloading groceries or carrying a toddler, take care to lift with your legs and not your back.
3. Put a ring around it
Belly bands and pregnancy support belts can help support the weight of your bump, taking some of the pressure off your lower back.
4. Stay active
It’s hard to imagine exercising when your back is aching, but regular physical activity can help keep back pain in check. (Plus, staying active can help delivery and recovery go more smoothly, Dr. Stephens adds.)
Exercises to strengthen quad muscles (in the front thigh) are good for back pain, she says. And prenatal yoga is a great way to strengthen your core.
5. Get a backrub
Prenatal massage exists for a reason, so take advantage!
Dr. Stephens recommends looking for massage therapists or chiropractors with experience treating pregnant patients. They’ll have the know-how to treat you safely, and they should have special equipment to accommodate your belly and keep you comfortable.
6. Trick out your bed
Pregnancy is a good excuse to upgrade your sleeping situation. A supportive mattress can make a big difference, Dr. Stephens says. So can a body pillow, which helps cradle your bump while you sleep.
Or place a regular pillow under your belly for support. “Just don’t lie flat on your back because that can decrease blood flow to the placenta,” she says.
Bottom line, your back probably isn’t going to feel awesome for a while. But it won’t last forever. “Typically, most of the pain goes away after delivery,” Dr. Stephens says. And when you meet your amazing new human, all that discomfort will (hopefully) be a fleeting memory.
Pain After Pregnancy?
If you’re still suffering from back pain, specifically low back pain, or pain that travels to down into your hips, thighs, legs and feet, you might be suffering from nerve compression in your lumbar spine. If this pain persists months, or even years, after you’ve had the baby, surgery may be your best chance for relief. The Bonati Spine Procedures are targeted, precision, outpatient procedures created by Dr. Bonati to have minimal scarring, post-op discomfort and recovery time, allowing you to be the best mom you can be, pain-free. If this pain sounds like you after baby, allow one of our highly-skilled physicians to review your case and speak with you directly about how we can help you. To get this review started, please call us at 855-267-0482 or complete our contact form here and a Bonati Institute patient advocate will be happy to help you!
Read the full Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials article here: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-deal-with-back-pain-during-pregnancy/