Expecting a baby is one of the world’s best feelings, but it is not easy to carry your baby in the womb for 9 months. A woman goes through different pains during pregnancy, including lower back pain, herniated disc pain in the lower back, etc. A woman can expect back pain anytime during pregnancy, but different stages have different causes of back pain. You may get serious lower back pain while bending over and that is not due to the pregnancy. The causes and treatment for sudden sharp pain in the lower back when bending over should be your concern if there is no pregnancy. However, some women get a sharp pain in their lower back when they are pregnant.
During the second and third pregnancy stage, your spine bears your gained weight. This results in sudden sharp pain. And when the extra weight of the uterus changes your posture, you feel pain in your lumbar area. The release of relaxin (hormone) also causes lower back pain. It increases flexibility in your pelvic area by relaxing ligaments and joints so that you can easily deliver the baby.
Lower back pain gets severe, especially at night. When your uterus expands, it pushes against the inferior vena cava (large blood vessel) that causes pain. Also, fluid retention during pregnancy causes venous congestion in the lumbar and pelvic spine, which causes lower back pain. Sciatica pain is also common in pregnant women. It starts from your lower back and runs towards your legs through your thighs and buttocks. It occurs when the growing uterus pushes the sciatic nerve.
If you are pregnant and feel unbearable lower back pain at night, here we have some remedies for you to relieve your pain.
Methods to Relieve Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy
Sleep on your Side
Sleeping on your back is dangerous if you are in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy. As discussed above, the inferior vena cava comes under pressure when you sleep on your back. Also, your spine takes the load of your growing uterus and baby that causes back pain while sleeping.
Therefore, side sleeping is best during pregnancy to avoid lower back pain. It is up to you to either sleep on your left side or right side. But doctors recommend left side sleeping during pregnancy. It puts less pressure on the vena cava by allowing the blood and nutrients to pass freely to the placenta.
To alleviate pressure from your lower back, use a pillow in between your bent knees. Also, keeping a pillow underneath your belly and behind the back provides good back support. Instead, buy a full-body pillow to provide ultimate support to your body while sleeping during pregnancy.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat and cold therapies can also help you improve lower back pain during pregnancy. It is even highly effective to reduce upper back pain.
In the beginning, it is suggested to put ice on your back to reduce inflammation and swelling. Cold therapy helps relieve back pain by limiting nerve activity. You can either use a bag of ice or an icy cool towel to put on your affected area. If you feel uncomfortable, use a towel to cover the ice bag.
Put ice on your lower back for 10 minutes and after two days with ice therapy, switch to heat treatment.
Stiff muscles or muscle tension can be easily relieved with heat therapy. It is best to use a hot water bag on your lower back, but you can also use low-heating pads. If you are having back pain in the first trimester, avoid using heat pads or limit their usage.
Also, a warm bath gives you a better feeling at night. But, make sure not to hurt your baby with too much hot water.
Change your Posture
Improving your posture is essential to reduce lower back pain. While standing or sitting, you have to maintain a good posture. Standing up straight is not easy in the last stages of pregnancy but at the same time, maintaining good posture helps relieve pressure on your lumbar area.
When sitting, make sure to put a lumbar pillow behind your lower back. Also, slightly pull your shoulders back and sit straight. If you don’t have a lumbar pillow, you can use any pillow to support your lumbar spine.
Also, when standing, keep your shoulders back so that your chest goes high. Avoid the weight of your belly and stand straight as long as you can to relieve lower back pressure. The more you focus on your correct posture while standing, the better and faster will be the recovery.
Chiropractic Care Treatment and Acupuncture
Lower back pain and even knee pain can also be treated by using complementary therapies. These include acupuncture and chiropractic treatment. Before going to have these complementary therapies, tell your doctor that you are expecting a baby.
Acupuncture is considered beneficial in pregnancy-related back pain. The acupuncturist will insert needles at different pressure points of your body to remove blockages and relieve pain. Lower back pain points are present in your hands, foot, lower back, hip, and back of the knees.
When these points are stimulated, pain-relieving chemicals get released from the spinal cord that helps relieve pain. The stimulation of nerves and other tissues helps release endorphins that can change the way your body treats pain.
Many pregnant women go for chiropractic treatment where the Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and a range of other techniques to treat lower back pain. The Chiropractors focus on the proper alignment of your musculoskeletal system. The purpose of this treatment is to provide relief from nerve compression and muscle tightness.
Chiropractic treatment helps your body deal with back pain symptoms in a better way by developing spinal health and nervous system function and increasing the mobility of your joints.
Exercise is the best way to provide strength to your lower back muscles. In pregnancy, you can do some gentle exercises to add flexibility to your muscles.
Walking is the best exercise during pregnancy. Or you can do swimming till the seventh and eighth months of pregnancy. Even stationary cycling is also considered a low-impact activity that can decrease lower back pain.
Other than these activities, you can do some pregnancy stretches to treat your lower back pain.
Cat-cow is one of the best low back stretches you can do during pregnancy. It gives strength to your lower back muscles and increases the mobility of your spine.
For cow pose, place your hands and knees onto the floor. Next, inhale and drop down your belly while lifting your tailbone and head up. This will make an arch in your back. This stretch is the cow pose.
For cat pose, exhale and pull your chest and belly up and tilt your tailbone downwards. This will make your spine look round from the top. Make sure your head is also down, targeting the stomach.
Hold yourself in each pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
Standing Back Extension
Another best exercise to strengthen your lower back muscles is the standing back extension. It is best to do in the second and third stages of pregnancy. When your growing uterus makes you bend forward and causes lower back pain, this extension helps you practice good posture.
To do this activity, all you need is to stand straight and place your hands on your lower back area. Next, push your pelvis forward and your head up to easily lean backward. Try to remain in that position for 5 to 10 seconds in each set.
Another way of giving nice stretch to your lower back muscles is the child’s pose. It is an easy-to-do exercise pregnancy.
In the child’s pose, sit on the floor by folding your legs so that your ankles come underneath your buttocks. Next, stretch your arms forward while keeping your face down towards the floor. Make sure your palms and forehead are touching the floor. Hold for 15 to 20 minutes in each set. While doing this activity, breathe in and breathe out. Also, you can spread your folded legs to make a good room for your belly.
Downward Dog Stretch
Stretching your entire back muscles with downward dog stretch can help you out during pregnancy. In this activity, your calves and hamstrings get stretched. This results in relief in lower back pain.
To do this stretch, use both your hands and knees like what you did in the cat-cow stretch. By exerting pressure on your toes, lift your back and knees along with your tailbone. Make sure to keep your head down while doing this pose. Also, your heels must be in the air while doing this stretch. Moreover, to make more room for your belly, place your feet at a wider distance.
To add strength to your lower back area, the goddess pose is quite helpful. To do this stretch, stand straight and move your legs apart from each other. Make sure your toes are facing outward and your ankles are pointing straight. Now, bend your knees like what we do in squats while raising your arms above your head. Also, the palms of your hands should be facing inwards.
Extended Triangle Pose
Another great yoga pose that helps stretch lower back muscles is the extended triangle pose.
All you need is to stand straight and expand your legs as much as you can in this stretch. Next, use your right hand and place it on the right ankle while raising your left hand towards the ceiling. While doing this stretch, make sure your head is also pointing towards your extended arm.
Other Useful Tips
- Never try to lift weight in any case. If it is really necessary, use your legs to lift the object instead of your back. Don’t try to bend your back; instead, squat down to bend your knees and lift the weight.
- Use a maternity belt to hold up your belly. This helps relieve strain from the lower back and pelvic girdle that connects the axial skeleton to your lower limbs.
- Shoes with high heels can make your back pain worse. With high heels, you are exerting the direct weight of your uterus to your lower spine. Also, high heels are not suitable for pregnant women, especially when their center of gravity changes due to the uterus’s growing weight. Therefore, always wear shoes with low heels having good arch support.
- Never try to stand for long. Also, practice good posture while standing to relieve pressure from your lower back area.
Lower back pain is quite common during the pregnancy period. At night, the pain worsens and makes your life hell. While sleeping, to avoid this back pain, always sleep on your left side with bending knees and a pillow between your knees. Also, you can alleviate the pain by doing heat and cold therapies, maintaining the right posture, and doing some prenatal yoga stretches.