Tips to minimize back pain in pregnancy

Tips to minimize back pain in pregnancy
Highlights

The good news is that your baby is growing but it can put a lot of stress on your back causing back pain. Incidence of back pain during pregnancy can be as high as 50-70%. There is lot of things you can do to minimize your back pain.

The good news is that your baby is growing but it can put a lot of stress on your back causing back pain. Incidence of back pain during pregnancy can be as high as 50-70%. There is lot of things you can do to minimize your back pain.

Causes of Back Pain in Pregnant Women

Although pregnancy induced back pain can involve any part of spine but most typically it happens where the pelvis meets the spine spine, at the sacroiliac joint.There are many possible reasons for back pain, the most likely are:

Weight gain. During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. The spine has to support that weight. This can cause lower back pain.

Posture changes. Pregnancy shifts the center of gravity forwards leading to changes in the curvature of spine. This results in increase in load and strain on back causing back pain.

Hormonal changes.Two hormones Progesterone and Relaxin loosens the ligaments in the pelvic area causing instability and pain.

Stress. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back, which may be felt as back pain or back spasms.

Prevention:

Sleep on side with pillow between your knees. Don't sleep on your back.

When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support; rest your feet on a stool and sit straight.

Avoid lifting anything more than 5 kg.

Avoid forward bending. If you need to pick something up from the floor, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.

Avoid prolonged sitting or standing at one spot

Don't wear high-heeled shoes.

Remedies:

Exercise: Regular exercise strengthens muscles which can ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming, and stationary cycling. For specific exercises consult your physiotherapist.

Heat and Cold: Applying heat (heating pad or hot water bottle) or cold (bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) for up to 20 minutes on the painful areas of your back several times a day may help. {Never apply heat or cold to your abdomen during pregnancy}.

Improve your posture: Slouching strains your spine therefore using proper posture when working, sitting, or sleeping ismust to avoid back pain.

Counseling/ meditation: If back pain is related to stress, talking to a trusted friend or counselor may be helpful.

Yoga, Acupuncture/Acupressure Acupuncture/ chiropractic manipulation/Swedish massage are useful remedies but ONLY WITH EXPERTS IN PRENATAL CARE.

If your back pain persists, you should consult your doctor. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications. Other than Acetaminophen (Crocin) all other pain killers are not recommended in pregnancy.

Red flags (Warning Signs)

You must immediately consult your doctor if your back pain is associated with:

Vaginal bleeding or tightening of uterus- It could be preterm labour.

Fever, burning/painful urination and dull pain in flank (side of the back between rib cage and hips)- It could be urine infection which has extended to kidneys.

Pain radiating to legs and associated with numbness/weakness in legs and difficulty in passing urine and stool- It could be slip disc or something else compressing the spinal nerves. Ignoring these complaints can prove to be catastrophic.

Sudden and severe pain- Could be because of osteoporosis or septic arthritis

-Dr. Ragini Agrawal
Gynecologist & Director of W-Hospital by Pratiksha, Gurgaon
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