Is back pain ruining your pregnancy? | Modern Mummy

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Is back pain ruining your pregnancy?

Being pregnant is one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life. It should be a time of extreme joy. But, if back pain is bugging you 24/7, it’s hard not to wish your pregnancy was nearing the end. For many women, back pain during pregnancy isn’t a trivial matter. It can have a significantly negative impact on daily life.

It is estimated that between 50 and 80 per cent of women experience some sort of back pain during pregnancy. While most women understand the importance of a healthy nutritious diet during pregnancy, they are often less aware of the importance of spinal health. If back pain is ruining your pregnancy, read on to find out more about why you are experiencing it, and what you can do to help.

A trip to a qualified Osteopath, such as Bansel Osteopathy, is a good place to start. Osteopathy is a safe and gentle way to ease aches and pains. Be sure the osteopath you see is registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

How is the spine affected during pregnancy? 
It’s not hard to see why the spine and surrounding muscles are affected during pregnancy. The average healthy woman puts on between 18 and 30 pounds. As the baby develops, and your belly extends further out in front of you, your spine extends backward to counter balance.

As a result, the inward curve of your spine (the lordotic curve) becomes more pronounced. This also changes how the spine bends forward, limiting the range of movement it usually enjoys. It alters the way you bend forward, and straighten up again. This ultimately causes stress on the vertebrae and the surrounding tissues.

Pain can result from the abnormal extension of the spine, or from rotation problems. Physically strenuous work, lifting, and bending are potentially increased risk factors due to the limited range of movement of the vertebrae.

What are the common causes of back pain during pregnancy? 
The common causes of back pain during pregnancy include:

Weight gain – pregnancy adds another quarter of your body weight, adding stress to your spine A change in the centre of gravity – as explained above, your lordotic curve changes during pregnancy, becoming more pronounced. This creates strain on other muscles in the body trying to compensate

Muscle fatigue – muscles are more easily fatigued during pregnancy, which can result in poor posture

Hormonespregnancy-related hormones can create problems due to their effect on the joints. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin helps pelvis and hip joints loosen in preparation for the birth, though it also impacts on all joints in the body.

What are the main types of back pain during pregnancy? 
Pelvic and Sacroiliac pain: Due to the increased elasticity of the ligaments during pregnancy, a certain amount of increased mobility and instability around the sacroiliac joint can be a source of pain. This is a deep pain felt in the side below the waistline, on either side across from the tailbone.

Lumbar or lower back pain: this is generally located at the waist and just above in the centre of the back. This pain typically increases with prolonged sitting, standing or repetitive lifting. Pain that radiates into the buttocks and down the legs is more likely a condition called sciatica.

Top tips for preventing back pain during pregnancy
There are lots of preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of suffering from back pain during pregnancy. Here are some tips to help you protect your back:

The most important thing you can do to prevent back pain during pregnancy is to partake in regular light exercise to help strengthen muscles and maintain flexibility. Avoid exercise that involves jolting or bouncing movements. It’s always a good idea to join an exercise class with a pregnancy specialist. There are many yoga and Pilates classes designed specifically for pregnant women.

Get plenty of rest. Your body is going through tremendous change and this is quite a strenuous time. Though take care not to sit in one position for long periods at a time. When sitting, sit with your back straight and well supported.

Postural awareness 
Your joints become more flexible during pregnancy, due to the relaxing of ligaments in preparation for childbirth. Putting excess strain on joints can be risky, and may lead to injury. Always move your feet in the direction you are turning to avoid twisting the spine.

Avoid lifting heavy loads 
Avoid lifting heavy objects. Bend your knees and keep your back straight when picking up something from the floor. Balance the weight in tow bags when you are carrying shopping.

Massage during pregnancy is a great way to ease general aches and pains. Always check your massage therapist is qualified and experienced in massage for pregnancy.

Osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of natural balance using touch, manipulation, stretching and massage to increase mobility, reduce muscle tension and enhance the blood supply to nerves and tissues.

If you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy it is always best to seek the advice of a professional. Speak to your GP or midwife if you have any concerns. Simple preventative care can be all it takes to prevent back pain and make your pregnancy a joyful experience rather than a miserable one.


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