You’ve made it through the morning sickness, inability to eat your favorite foods and even cravings that would make your pre-pregnancy self, cringe. Now it’s time to figure name the baby, decorate the nursery and plan the baby shower. At this stage in the pregnancy there is another unfortunate experience that must be dealt with: lower back pain.
While you are worried that your baby belly is making your maternity clothes fit tighter and causing more frequent trips to the bathroom, you should also be worried that your baby belly is contributed to that nagging back pain you can’t seem to shake. This lower back pain is making it even more difficult to do things that are already difficult thanks to the human being growing inside you.
Pregnancy should be a time of enjoyment and anticipation of the new bundle of joy soon to come. You should not have to contend with more problems due to lower back pain.
The best treatment is to understand and recognize symptoms of lower back pain so you can effectively reduce pregnancy related back pain.
What Causes Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy?
The most common cause of lower back pain in pregnancy is the stress being placed on the mother by the added weight of baby. As the baby gets closer to the fully developed stage, the body is heavier causing more pressure on the lumbar region of the spine. The added weight, particularly during the last trimester when the weight is the highest, may place pressure on the pelvis and the lower back pain.
While that is the primary cause of the back pain, it unfortunately is not the only cause for pregnant women. An underlying cause is what we call a muscle imbalance because one side of a muscle is much weaker than the other. Although it doesn’t get much press this is a fairly common occurrence during pregnancy because of the adjustments the mother has to make in her posture and gait to accommodate the growing body.
It is common to see a pregnant women favoring one side of her body when she walks or sits because the baby is placing more weight on one side of the body. These adjustments mean that more weight is being placed on one side of the muscle, which means it is being overdeveloped while the ignored side is underdeveloped. Over time this kind of imbalance leads to pain in the lower back and can often place pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Most moms-to-be simply deal with lower back pain because they assume it will vanish once the baby is born. While they may be true for some, it is not true not for all. The pressure placed on the back due to weight gain or muscle imbalance will be relieved slightly without the pressure of sustained weight, but the muscles won’t automatically balance themselves out. You will still require some form of therapy to treat the pain as well as the muscle imbalances.
One treatment is muscle balance therapy which involves exercises and stretches that will strengthen muscles on both sides of the spine. Balancing out the strength of the muscles is the first step, but traditional physical therapy stretches and exercises may not be enough. If possible, seek out a therapist specializing in muscle balance therapy.
Prevention is key for pregnancy related lower back pain, and the best way to prevent this is by being physically active during your pregnancy. Of course as the pregnancy progresses it becomes increasingly difficult, but activities like swimming, walking and Pilates have been proven effective for keeping muscles balanced and strong.
Don’t let your fatigue and pregnancy symptoms contribute to back problems; doing your best to stay active will help prevent back problems.