We all love kids. We want to have one kid in our home. When you have one kid in your home, everyone appreciates it. However, you bear the pain of giving birth to the kid. Many mothers experience lower back pain during pregnancy. Even, many experience lower back pain after the birth of the baby also. In today’s discussion, we will discuss only the cause and management of lower back pain during pregnancy. Lower back pain during pregnancy typically occurs in the sacroiliac joint, where the pelvic bone meets with spine. During the second half of the pregnancy, the lower back pain usually tends to affect the mothers. Some measures are really going to help you reduce lower back pain during pregnancy.
What is behind lower back pain during pregnancy?
The exact causes of lower back pain during pregnancy are still under research. Some causes are proved and some are hypothesized. Here are some typical causes that doctors detected:
- Postural cause: During normal pregnancy, you get a posture that tends to bend backwards. To compensate the forward growth of the enlarging uterus, this posture is attained. You begin to adjust your posture when you move, without your notice. This posture shifts the center of gravity back over the lower extremities. This posture causes an unaccustomed stretch in your back. Thus, lower back pain during pregnancy occurs, even in a normal pregnancy.
- Joint mobility increase: The joint between sacrum and ileum, the joint between sacrum and coccyx, and the joint between the both pubis, show increased mobility during pregnancy. Increased joint mobility may contribute to the alteration of maternal posture and in turn may cause discomfort in the lower back. This is especially becoming prominent in late pregnancy. Some mothers experience aching, numbness, and weakness occasionally in the upper extremities. This may result from the marked backward bending. Backward bending is associated with anterior neck flexion and slumping of the shoulder girdle. These, in turn produce traction on the nerves of the arm and forearm.
- Adaptation of bones and ligaments: The bones of the pelvis, along with the ligaments undergo remarkable adaptations during pregnancy. The pelvic joints, particularly the pubic joint are seen to relax in normal pregnancy. This relaxation helps in accommodating the growing baby. Most of the relaxation takes place in the first half of pregnancy. This adaptation is also a cause of lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Faulty posture: Some mothers do not feel that they are pregnant. They lead life like before. They eventually get lower back pain during late pregnancy. Many wear high heels, which is also a cause of lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Muscular spasm: Many women experience muscular spasm during pregnancy. This may be due to excess hormones or other causes like urinary tract infection or constipation. A nervous mechanism may also be involved for muscular spasm. Whatever is the cause muscular spasm causes lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Weight gain: A pregnant woman gets extra 11 kg weight for the baby and amniotic fluid. As the center of gravity is changed, the spine has to bear that weight. This can cause lower back pain during pregnancy. Growing baby also exerts the pressure effect over the pelvic vessels and nerves. This also causes lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Hormone changes: A hormone named relaxin is produced by placenta. This hormone aims at accommodating the baby in pelvis and safe delivery of the baby. To do so, this hormone relaxes the ligaments in the pelvic area and makes the joints looser. Other hormones like estrogen and progesterone also exert same effect. Therefore, they lead to instability and pain in the lower back.
- Stress factor: Pregnancy is a stressful time. Even simple things can provoke your stress. Stress causes increased tension in the back muscles. As a result, lower back pain ensues.
What to do to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy
Most of the lower back pain during pregnancy is relieved after delivery. If pain is not so severe, it is not safe to take drugs. Meanwhile, some non-drug measures may help you to reduce lower back pain during pregnancy. Keep medications as a last option.
- Rest: Take rest in left lateral position, when you are lying. You may consider taking rest with legs elevated. This will flex the hip and may reduce the back pain.
- Correction of posture: A well-fitted pelvic girdle belt may correct the backward bending posture. When posture is correct during walking, this will add to your comfort. Try to keep your spine straight. When you are sleeping, take a left lateral position with a support pillow to back. When you sit, try to sit in a back supported one. You may add a pillow or towel behind the back for extra support. These will help you reduce the back pain.
- Massage: Massage is helpful to reduce the pain due to muscular in-coordination.
- Exercise: Although many exercises are not advised during pregnancy, some exercise help mothers reducing back pain. The regular practice of the chosen exercises will strengthen the muscles and can ease the stretch on your spine. Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling is found safe for most pregnant women. Exercises to tone up your abdominal muscles may also be helpful.
- Heat and cold therapy: Heat and cold have a soothing effect on your spine. You can use a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to apply to the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. You can also use a heating pad or a hot water bottle to apply heat to the painful area. Be careful not to apply too much heat or too cold. Never apply heat or cold in your abdomen.
- Counseling: Where mental stress is the cause of back pain, talk to a trusted friend or you may contact a therapist or take relaxation classes etc.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an old Chinese practice, which is thought to relieve pain. They insert thin needles into your skin at locations, which they call trigger area. Acupuncture can be a safe and effective in relieving lower back pain during pregnancy.
- Analgesic: If you cannot control lower back pain during pregnancy, you may try some safe analgesic in pregnancy. This includes Acetaminophen, Naproxen etc.
However, you should keep in mind that you must consult your doctor when you have severe pain, increasing severity of pain or pain that begins abruptly, pains associated with rhythmic contractions. This may be due to pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, vertebral osteoarthritis, septic arthritis or preterm labor etc.