If you’re looking for some natural ways to get rid of your back pain during pregnancy, then look no further. We have jotted down some safe and amazingly natural ways you can get relief for your back pain.
When I was pregnant, I found myself longing to be in a forward fold ninety percent of the time. Unfortunately, the reality was I was stuck at a desk much of the day.
So I managed to give my body about ten minutes a day unless I forgot about it while late night pounding sorbet. And of course, I’d wake up the next morning wishing I’d done it.
If you’re like me, and your back seems to have taken on a gravitational pull of its own now that you’re pregnant, read on for tips for back pain relief.
What causes back pain during pregnancy?
Pregnancy back pain is actually a good sign. It means your baby is growing. It typically occurs when your uterus, which normally resides in the pelvis suddenly moves to the abdomen. This puts pressure on your spine at the sacroiliac joint (source). It typically starts in the second half of pregnancy between the fifth and seventh months and affects fifty to eighty percent of expecting mothers (source). That means, it is totally normal to have back pain in your second trimester and third trimester.
The pain may only affect the lower back or may spread to the butt, thighs, and legs, leading to sciatica symptoms. The pain can get worse with activity and interrupt sleep (source).
Here are some of the changes that contribute to back pain during pregnancy:
- Weight gain – The 25-35 pounds that most women typically gain puts some pressure on the lower back. The weight of the uterus and growing baby also add some pressure.
- Posture changes – Your posture and the way we move when we are pregnant changes because your center of gravity gradually moves forward as your uterus and baby grow (source).
- Hormone changes – Pregnancy produces a hormone called relaxin that relaxes ligaments in the pelvic area and loosens joints. The body is trying to prepare itself for birth. When this happens, ligaments that support the spine can loosen.
- Muscle separation – When the uterus expands, the rectus abdominis muscles may separate and cause back pain.
- Stress – You may find an increase in back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy (source).
What are the symptoms?
- An ache or sharp pain in the lower back
- Pain on the right or left side of the low or mid-back
- Pain that spreads to the back of the leg and sometimes into the foot
- A foot drop, which makes it hard to lift the front part of the foot while walking (source)
What are the risk factors?
- Previous back pain
- Multiple pregnancies
- Back pain with a previous pregnancy
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High BMI (body mass index)
- Physically demanding occupations
- Previous spinal fusion for adolescent scoliosis (source)
- Younger or older age groups (source)
Please consult with your doctor before trying a natural remedy.
1.Exercise – Regular exercise helps alleviate stress on the spine. Walking, swimming, and stationary bikes are highly recommended. Swimming is especially helpful because it takes pressure off the spine (source).
Prenatal yoga – I swear this saved my back. It helps to improve posture and gets the body ready for the birthing process. And the deep breathing exercises help with stress, so it’s a win-win (source). A regular ten minute routine in the morning and before bed is what worked for me, especially in the third trimester. Here’s my routine:
- Cat- cows
- Forward fold to straight spine to forward fold
- Slowly stand up, reach arms high above, then bring down to heart center.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Downward dog
- Kick leg back, then extend to front for Warrior 1.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Rest in Child’s Pose if time.
2.Heat and cold – Apply a cold compress for up two twenty minutes several times a day for acute back pain. After a few days, start adding heat afterwards to help with circulation and any lingering aches (source). Just be sure to never apply heat to your abdomen.
Here is an excellent way to incorporate heat theraphy to combat back pain. Simply place this head pad over your back and let it work its magic.
3.Work on your posture – Focus on your posture. Slouching can strain your spine.
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. These knee pillows are life savers when you are pregnant and struggling to get some decent sleep. These pillows are ergonomically designed and when placed between your legs they help relieve pressure off of your lower back and provide backache relief. Seriously, get these!
- Place a rolled up towel or small pillow behind your back and rest your feet on a stool when sitting at a desk.
- Try wearing a support belt/ belly band. It’s a supportive piece that holds up the belly so the pelvic girdle and lower back don’t strain too much (source).
4.Pelvic tilts – They help strengthen your muscles. Here are the steps:
- Get into a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Keep your arms straight without locking your elbows.
- Gradually arch your back and tuck your butt in as you breathe in.
- Relax your back, and breathe out.
- Repeat three to five times (source).
5.Acupuncture – This technique from Eastern medicine uses very fine needles on specific pressure points to relieve back pain. If the idea of needles makes you squeamish, a practitioner can also use a similar technique known as acupressure with their hands. Bonus: it helps boost your energy level and can help with morning sickness and migraines too. As always, consult with your doctor to see if it’s recommended and for a referral (source).
6.Physical therapy – You will get help with manipulating joints, muscles, and pressure points and exercises to practice at home (source)
7.Chiropractic work – This can reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve (source).
8.Prenatal massage – Make sure to get the green light from your doctor, and check that the massage therapist is certified in prenatal massage.
9.Fitness ball stretch
Sit on the floor against a fitness ball with a wall behind it. Lean your back against the ball, letting it support your weight. Keep your feet flat on the floor, your knees bent, and your hands on your hips with your elbows out. Push your back upward for twenty seconds. Repeat ten times (source).
Take it as a supplement or rub some oil on your back and legs. Keep this magnesium mist on your hand and spray it every time backpain creeps up. Magnesium is a mineral that helps correct nerve function, and many of us are deficient .
11.Counseling – If you are under stress, talking with a counselor or practicing meditation may help alleviate the physical symptoms of stress (source).
Helpful Pointers for Back Pain Relief
- If you need to pick something up from the ground, squat. Don’t just bend over.
- Don’t wear high heels. But don’t wear flats either. Invest in a pair of shoes with good arch support.
- Try to avoid standing for too long.
- Gently rise from bed in the morning. Try to bend your knees and hips as you roll to the side. Use your arms to push up as you dangle your legs over the side of the bed.
- Avoid twisting activities such as vacuuming and mopping if you can (source).
- Use a firm mattress. If yours is soft, try sticking a piece of hardboard under it (source).
- Wear a supportive bra.
When should I talk with my doctor?
Let your doctor know if you’re dealing with any of the following:
- Severe pain
- Pain that comes on suddenly
- Rhythmic cramps – They could be a sign of preterm labor.
- Difficulty or burning while urinating
- Vaginal bleeding
In rare cases, severe back pain can be related to pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, vertebral osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, or early labor. While it may seem like a rite of passage, it’s important to let your doctor or midwife know if you’re experiencing back pain (source).
Well, I hope these pointers will give you some much needed back pain relief. Let me know in the comments below which ideas work for you and if you have any pointers not listed here. I’d love to hear from you.