Understanding your back pain in pregnancy makes it easier to tolerate. Knowing that it is a normal part of being pregnant and that it will not last forever allows you to focus on more important things like thinking about baby names.
"Most often affecting the lower back..."
Back pain in pregnancy is a common problem, affecting 50-80% of pregnant women to some degree. Most often affecting the lower back, pregnancy can also cause upper back pain. Though it is common, it is important to understand that misery from back pain does not have to be part of being pregnant.
While you may not be able to make it go away completely, you can certainly learn methods and techniques to manage your pain and make your pregnancy more enjoyable. This will also help to avoid problems with your back after your baby arrives.
"rule out treatable causes"
As always, it is important to discuss what you are experiencing with your obstetrician. So they can rule out any treatable causes of back pain. Have you had a fever, or pain with urination? Have you had any problems holding your urine? You may need to be tested for a kidney or urinary tract infection.
There are several factors that combine to cause back pain in pregnancy. Postural changes, hormonal fluctuations, and direct pressure on the spine or pelvis, can all contribute to back pain.
"causes you to lean back just to keep your balance"
Much of the weight that you gain is added to the front of your torso, shifting your center of gravity. This causes you to lean back just to keep your balance, and increases your lumbar curvature. Increased curvature and weak abdominal muscles combine to cause more pressure and strain on the muscles and ligaments in your low back.
The hormones, estrogen and relaxin, are released during pregnancy, and they cause the ligaments of the pelvis to become more elastic, which allows the bones of the pelvis to separate, easing the delivery of your baby. Unfortunately they also allow the ligaments in your back to stretch and become painful.
"may be confused with sciatica"
As your uterus expands, it can cause low back pain by pushing on your spine or on your posterior pelvis. Pressure on the pelvis is often felt deep in the buttocks and may be confused with sciatica.
If it is late in your pregnancy, a possible cause of lower back pain, which must be considered, is early labor pain. If you are having signs of labor such as braxton hicks contractions that are getting stronger and more frequent, and if the back pain you are feeling has a cramping sensation, you may be having preterm labor. You should call your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
"several ways to treat your discomfort"
There are several things that increase your risk of having back pain in pregnancy. Poor physical conditioning, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, will all contribute to back pain when you are pregnant. A history of problems with your back will also make it more likely that you will have back pain in pregnancy.
Fortunately there are several ways to treat your discomfort, and if not cure it, at least you can make it more tolerable. Best, is to be proactive early in your pregnancy, or even before you become pregnant, and begin a program of physical conditioning to prevent back pain in pregnancy.
Improving your overall health and fitness with a fitness program will help to minimize the back pain you experience during pregnancy.
"decide on an appropriate level of activity"
Walking or other gentle activities to control weight gain, exercises to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, and techniques to improve your posture can all help to avoid back pain as your pregnancy develops. Your doctor can help you decide on an appropriate level of activity.
Sitting with your feet on a small step stool, or having one foot on a stool when you must stand, can help to ease back pain. Changing position often, avoiding fatigue, and hot or cold packs may bring some relief.
"avoid extended bed rest as a treatment for back pain"
Yoga, relaxation exercises, and prenatal massage by a specially trained therapist can be very comforting. A specially designed corset or a maternity support belt can also ease the pain by taking pressure off of the lower back.
In general, you should avoid extended bed rest as a treatment for back pain, as it will usually make it worse. But when you are in bed it can help to sleep on your side, with a pillow between your knees.
"you can limit how much it affects you"
Lower back pain during pregnancy is a problem for many women. But with early planning and some thoughtful activity you can limit how much it affects you.