Back Pain: A common ailment during pregnancy
Back pain is a very common problem experienced by women during pregnancy. This back pain can be present from the early stage of pregnancy or can be seen in the later stage. The prevalence varies with reports showing between 50% to 70% of pregnant women experiencing back pain. The pain in the lower back area can be localized or can spread upwards or downwards from the legs.
Back pain can disrupt the daily routine or interfere with a good night of sleep.
Causes of low back pain during pregnancy :
1. Change in posture :
As the fetus grows ,the inward lordotic curvature of the spine ( lumbar area ) increases. Due to this change in posture, the back muscle, adjacent joints, ligaments have to work more for compensation and thus pain develops.
2. Weak abdominal muscles :
Muscles of the back support our spine. Weak abdominal muscles put extra stress on our spine, thus back muscles have to work more to hold the spine correctly. With the growing fetus, the abdominal muscles become weaker, putting extra strain on the muscles, Joints and ligaments of the back.
3. Joint laxity :
During pregnancy relaxin hormone is released to soften the ligaments and loosing the joint structure for the accumulation of the growing uterus. This ligament laxity is responsible for pain.
4. Stretching :
Stretching of the abdominal muscles and hip muscles also causes pain in the lower back.
5. Centre of Gravity :
The Centre of gravity gradually shifts forward when fetus grows within the uterus which can lead to falling. To prevent falling , the spine and other parts of the body try to adjust. This change in body posture puts extra pressure on the back and other areas, thus leading to pain.
6.Poor posture or Positioning :
Poor posture, standing or sitting for a long time, lying down incorrectly may also develop pain.
7. Excess weight :
Women with more weight likely to develop back pain as the weight of the foetus also adds up,
putting extra pressure on the spine.
8. Stress :
Stress is also one of the psychological factors which can develop pain.
Pregnant women can consider the following ways to control back pain :
1. Try practising good posture by keeping the body straight, holding the shoulder
back, and not locking the knees. The body should be relaxed.
2. Always try to stand with both feet little apart so that you can get a wide base of support.
3. Avoid standing or sitting for long. Put a pillow on the lower back curvature of the spine while sitting, and while standing ,put one foot on a low tool.
4.Lie on your sides with pillow between legs.
5. Wear a supportive or maternity belt.
6. Avoid wearing high heels.
7. Avoid forward bending. Always lift objects by squatting.
8. Try doing physical activity like walking and easy household activities.
9. Free hand exercise and mild stretching can also be done.
10. Try doing back exercises.
11. Warm compress or massage can be helpful.
12.Sleep on a firm mattress.
When to consult with your Healthcare provider:
If a pregnant woman experiences severe back pain that lasts more than two weeks or if the back pain is associated with fever, vaginal bleeding and burning micturition ,then it can be a sign of urinary tract infection or preterm labour.In those cases you should consult with your obstetrician.