Back pain during pregnancy is a common and unpleasant symptom. It is more likely to occur towards the end of the pregnancy but can occur at any stage. The pain can be in the upper, mid or most commonly lower back.
Lower back pain is a very common problem for those who have given birth.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN
Increased Laxity In Ligaments And Joints
When you are pregnant there are increases of certain hormones such as relaxin (early part of pregnancy), oestrogen and progesterone that made your ligaments and joints more lax than they are normally this can lead to very slight increases in movement around the joints which in some people can make them more susceptible to sprains and strains. This is very true around the spine, especially at the lumbar section and the pelvis as the baby grows and gets larger.
Abdominal Muscle Strain
The abdominal muscles are under a great amount of pressure just supporting your bump everyday especially in the final stages of the pregnancy.
Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation)
This happens to everyone in pregnancy by the last trimester but it may start earlier with some especially if you have been pregnant before. The abdominal separation affects how your core muscles work and how they work together.
Weakened Deep Core Muscles Including Pelvic Floor & Deep Abs (TVA)
You can find a lot more detail about the core muscles and how they form the powerhouse of our bodies in EDUCATION. If these deep core muscles are weak which is common then there is not a strong core centre meaning that joints, other soft tissues and muscles take the strain and this can lead to pain.
Spinal Muscles Overworking
As your pregnancy develops your tummy muscles will naturally turn off, a common compensation for this is for the back muscles to work harder to make up for this. This can make them ache and feel very fatigued and if pushed too far can lead to spasm and pain.
TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN
There are a number of ways you can ease your lower back and hopefully even cure it.
Generally just moving helps lower back pain. Often for those who sit around it makes the back pain worse and if you do not exercise and move your body becomes deconditioned and then if you start trying to move again the back pain will start. There are certain exercises that can help lower back. Have a go at our Lower Back Pain Relief Workout (see main post video above) and try this workout once a day. Also try and walk more gradually increasing each time how far you walk.
Heat can be applied to the lower back and give relief. You can use a hot water bottle or there are heat packs that are available to heat up in the microwave. Pharmacys also offer a stick on heat patch which activates when you fold the patch before applying.
Pain Relief Patches
You can buy from pharmacies pain relief patches that you can stick over your lower back. Some people find these patches helpful. Remember to discuss your pregnancy with your pharmacist to ensure the patches are suitable.
Anti-inflammatories and Painkillers are fine to use when you have an acute flare up of lower back pain but we do not advise taking regularly long term as for one your body will become accustomised to the pain medication and need higher doses to take effect and there is always the risk of Pain medication addiction.
HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS
In Pregnancy it is best to seek advice from your Doctor or Obstetrician with regards to advising on any pain medication that you can take.
Physios And Osteopaths
There are a number of treatments they can offer to help. First they will take a thorough history of your complaint and medical history and then do a proper full physical assessment to diagnose what is causing your pain. They will then be able to carry out the best treatments they feel fit for your condition which can include:
- Manual Therapy where they work on the joints, soft tissues and muscles
- Acupuncture (depends on if they are qualified to offer this)
- Trigger Point Release (a trigger point is a specific painful point in a muscle and it can be released by certain techniques)
- Teaching movement, stretching and core muscle exercises
There are prenatal specialised chiropractors who are reported to help alleviate muscle & ligament pain as well as help with paving the way for a smoother labour. Some are trained in the Webster technique which is a technique created for use during pregnancy that focuses on the sacrum and pelvis as well as the surrounding muscles and ligaments.