Pregnancy: 5 Tips For Low Back Pain
Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting time in your life. Unfortunately, muscle and joint pain is extremely common in pregnant women – with up to 50-85% of pregnant women experiencing low back pain during their pregnancy.
Along with pregnancy come a number of anatomic and physiological changes. Weight gain during the second and third trimester is one of the most prominent changes that occurs, which results in your centre of gravity shifting anteriorly causing an increased lumbar lordosis (or increased lower back curve).
This shift in centre of gravity plus the widening of the pelvis can lead to a number of problems including overactivity of the low back, pelvis, thigh and abdominal muscles, which can all contribute to low back and pelvis pain!
Although pregnant women experience a number of changes in their bodies during pregnancy, they do not have to experience low back pain! Below we will discuss 5 simple ways you can help combat low back pain during pregnancy!
Exercising & Pregnancy
The good news is that exercising during pregnancy has been shown to have minimal risk, with a number of benefits including maintaining a healthy body weight during pregnancy, lowers the chances of having gestational diabetes, helps maintain fitness levels and also helps overall psychological well-being during pregnancy.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “an exercise program that leads to an eventual goal of moderate intensity exercise for at least 20-30 minutes per day on most or all days of the week should be developed with the patient and adjusted as medically indicated”.
**Due to the anatomic and physiological changes discussed above, it is always recommended that you talk to your family physician or obstetrician about your exercise program so that necessary modifications are taken if required.
Chiropractic care including muscle release therapy, spinal mobilizations/manipulations and rehabilitation have been shown to be a safe and effective form of therapy for pregnant women suffering from low back or pelvic pain.
Chiropractors have been highly trained to identify and diagnose musculoskeletal injuries in pregnant women, as well as identify symptoms that may warrant a referral to another health care practitioner.
Due to the anatomic changes described above, women may experience a number of hypertonic or tight muscles. Massage therapy has also been shown to be a safe and effective therapy option to help combat tight muscles, as well as help reduce stress and anxiety.
Wearing supportive footwear
One area that typically gets ignored is your feet! During pregnancy your feet withstand a great deal more pressure and forces than they are used to. Discussing appropriate shoe options to help reduce the force on your feet can greatly aid not only your feet, but your knees, hips and low back as well!
Finally, pregnancy can create sleep issues, especially for those of us who like to sleep on their stomachs. Due to your growing belly, this is obviously not an option as your enter your second and third trimesters. As a result, it is highly recommended to sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. The pillow will help take the strain off your low back muscles, which will help reduce your low back pain and give you a better night sleep!
By Dr. Kyla Nelson, DC & Acupuncture Provider
If you’re interested in learning more about how our clinic can help you during your pregnancy please contact Holland Landing Health Centre (located in East Gwillimbury, Ontario) via [email protected] or 905-853-7900.
Artal, R., and M. O’toole. “Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period.” British journal of sports medicine 37.1 (2003): 6-12.
Oswald, Christopher, Ceara C. Higgins, and Demetry Assimakopoulos. “Optimizing pain relief during pregnancy using manual therapy.” Canadian Family Physician 59.8 (2013): 841-842.