Pregnancy related low back pain is a common complaint among many pregnant women. It has been estimated that about 50% of pregnant women will suffer from some kind of low back pain at some point during their pregnancies or during postpartum. 10% of those report discomfort severe enough to disrupt their daily routines. The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your back during pregnancy.
What causes the pain?
One of the most frequent mechanisms suggested, is associated with the mechanical factors, due to weight gaining during pregnancy, the added weight causes a shift of the bodies center of gravity anteriorly, increasing the stress on the lower back. Studies suggest that this anterior shift is associated with multitude of postural changes. As the baby grows a biomechanical process suggests that the abdominal muscles of the pregnant woman stretch to accommodate the enlarging uterus, causing muscle fatigue and resulting to an extra load on the spine making it difficult to stabilize the posture.
In the third trimester, levels of a hormone called “relaxin” increase by a factor of ten. Relaxin loosens the joints to allow the pelvis to accommodate the enlarging uterus. These loose joints force the muscles of the back and pelvis to work overtime to keep you upright and balanced, which may lead to back pain.
What can be done to relieve pain?
Exercise can go a long way to increase muscle support for an aching back. Low impact cardiovascular activities, such as swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can help relieve pain and maintain fitness. Gentle yoga and stretches can help alleviate tightness too.
Sleep on your left side to reduce the pressure of your uterus on the large blood vessels in your abdomen, optimizing blood flow to both you and the baby. You can place a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back when sleeping on your side.
Take frequent, short breaks with your feet elevated. Adequate rest restores your energy and gives your back a chance to relax.
Take advantage of Chiropractic treatments
Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment.