Pottsville, Schuylkill County: We have treated many patients that have suffered from pregnancy low backache. About 66% of pregnat women suffer from it. One of the first questions asked is…
What’s causing my back pain?
Most likely blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting a strain on your back.
The extra weight you’re carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why your back may feel worse at the end of the day. Your growing uterus may also cause back and leg pain if it’s pressing on a nerve.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your spine to your pelvis. This can make you feel less stable. Because of this you may develop pain when you walk, stand, sit for long peroids, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or tub, bend, or lift things.
What does pregnancy low back pain feel like?
Typically, there are two common patterns of low back pain in pregnancy:
- Lower back pain
- Buttock pain that may travel down your leg.
Some women have symptoms of both types of low back pain.
The low back pain may be similar to the back pain you may have experienced before you were pregnant. You feel it over and around your spine approximately at the level of, or a little above, your waist. You might also have pain that radiates to your legs. Sitting or standing for long periods of time and lifting usually make it worse, and it tends to be more intense at the end of the day.
Buttock pain is even more common. You may fell it deep inside your buttocks, on one or both sides, and sometimes down the back of your thighs.
Positions in which your hips are bent — such as sitting in a chair and leaning forward while working at a desk — may make the pain worse. Women with buttock pain are also more likely to have pain in the front of their pelvis over their pubic bone.
Could it be sciatica?
When low back pain radiates into the buttocks and thighs, it’s often confused with sciatica — a condition that’s actually relatively uncommon. True sciatica, caused by a herniated or bulging disk in the lower part of the spine, affects only about 1 percent of pregnant women.
If you have sciatica, your leg pain will usually be more severe than your back pain. You are also more likely to feel the pain below your knee. It may also travel to your toes. Sciatica may also cause feelings of tingling or pins and needles in your legs, sometimes numbness.
Who is most likely develop low back pain during pregnancy?
Not surprisingly, you’re most likely to have low back pain if you’ve had this kind of pain before, either before you got pregnant or during a previous pregnancy. You’re also at higher risk of back pain if you have poor flexibility and weak back and abdominal muscles.
What can I do to get pain relief?
Pregnant women suffering from low back pain should:
Take it easy. Don’t let yourself get too fatigued. (But don’t take to your bed for long periods, either, since bed rest is generally not helpful in the long run for low back pain and may even make you feel worse.) Avoid activities like vacuuming and mopping that require you to bend and twist at the same time. If there’s no one else to do these chores, move your whole body rather than twisting or reaching to get to out-of-the-way spots.
Wear comfortable shoes and avoid high heels. As your belly grows and your balance shifts, high heels will throw your posture even more out of whack and increase your chances of stumbling and falling.
It’s equally important to avoid standing for too long. If you need to stand all day, try to take a midday break and rest lying on your side while supporting your upper leg and abdomen with pillows.
To get a good night’s rest, try sleeping on your side with one or both knees bent and a pillow between your legs. As your pregnancy advances, use another pillow or wedge to support your abdomen.
Listen to your body. If you find that a particular activity makes your back hurt, then avoid doing it!
Learn relaxation techniques. They may help you cope with the discomfort and may be especially useful at bedtime if your back pain is just one more thing that makes it hard to get to sleep.
When should I tell my doctor or midwife about my back pain?
You should always let your caregiver know that you have back pain. Studies show that although women complain about back pain, they infrequently tell their caregiver.
Although not required for treatment, we have received patient referrals from doctors and physician assistants for treatment of pregnancy backache.
Studies have shown that the type of hands on treatment we provide is safe and effective pregnancy backache.
If you, a family member or a friend require care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services.
Want To Know More?
Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehab
Dr. David Novatnak
Glee Pascual, Physical Therapist
Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA
This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your medical history.