Four Safe And Effective Treatments For Pregnancy-Related Back Pain
Pregnancy is an exciting and joyous time, but your shifting center of gravity can put extra strain on your body. Back pain is a common complaint by expectant mothers, especially in the last trimester, but finding relief can be difficult. Many traditional remedies are contraindicated for pregnant women; pain killers, muscle relaxers, certain types of chiropractic maneuvers, and even some massage techniques are not suitable for the mother-to-be. However, this does not mean you have to suffer in excruciating pain for nine months. Here are four non-invasive remedies for back pain that are effective, safe, and stork-approved.
Many "back" problems in pregnancy are actually problems of the sacroiliac joint, the point where the pelvis connects to the spine. Normally, this small joint moves very little, and you are probably unaware that it even exists. However, during pregnancy, your hormones cause the ligaments that stabilize the sacroiliac joint to relax. The purpose is to allow the joint to move in preparation for birth, but this newly-unstable joint can slip out of alignment, causing excruciating pain.
One of the easiest, least invasive treatment for excessive movement in your sacroiliac joint is a support belt. SI belts are made of a thick, stretchy material and Velcro, and are worn discreetly under your clothing. Some wrap around the hips and compress the pelvis; others have additional support that sits above the belly, around the thighs, or even over the shoulders. The belts come in several sizes to fit your changing shape.
For many women, wearing a sacroiliac belt provides complete relief, but you may need to wear it both day and night.
The extra weight of pregnancy can be hard on your body. When combined with your changing shape, your muscles are taxed in new ways. The strain can lead to persistent pain in your neck, shoulders, back, and glutes. Now, more than ever, massage therapy is not a luxury—it is a powerful tool to alleviate your pain. However, it needs to be the right massage therapy.
Pregnant women have special needs, and as an expectant mother, you should seek out a massage therapist with experience in prenatal massage. After the first trimester, you should not receive a massage while laying on your back because the weight of your uterus can compress vital arteries and veins. Your burgeoning belly will also make a face-down position impossible. However, an experienced massage therapist will know how to position you on your side, using pillows to cradle your body.
In addition to treating the muscles of your back and neck, ask your massage therapist to pay special attention to your hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. If these muscles are tight, they can contribute to back pain in a mother-to-be. Be cautious of any deep tissue or pressure point work while you are pregnant, and discontinue the massage if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseated at any time.
Low-impact exercise, like swimming, walking, and yoga can all be beneficial for a pregnant woman with back pain. Exercise can increase your flexibility, stamina and strength. Start slowly with a few minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes of gentle exertion.
Sciatica, a radiating pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, is an unfortunate, but common, side effect of pregnancy. Sciatica may cause burning, tingling, or shooting pain that travels down your leg, from your back to your foot.
If your sciatic nerve is the source of your back pain, a chiropractor can be an invaluable resource. They will work to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve with gentle manipulation. They may also employ other non-invasive modalities, like ultrasonic therapy, heat compresses, or cold packs. The treatment often brings significant relief.
Before scheduling your appointment, ask about your chiropractor's experience and look for someone trained to work with pregnant mothers.
You might have to wait nine months to see your baby, but you don't have to spend them in agony. With these treatment options, you can take care of yourself—and your baby.