Back pain in pregnancy is almost universal. The bigger the belly, the more curved the spine, and the worse the back pain. As your center of gravity moves forward with ever increasing belly size, your hips rotate forward, the curvature of your back changes, and the muscle groups that you use In your back to maintain your posture change. Because you are not used to using these muscle groups to stay upright, and because all of your muscles are doing more work than normal carrying around the extra weight, then the result is chronic muscle strain, sprain, and fatigue.
What’s a girl to do?
- For starters, you can use acetaminophen to treat the pain and, if you are less than 22 weeks pregnant, you can still use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naprosyn. A heating pad on the back, or heat releasing patches, or a nice bath may also help a lot.
- Exercise can help tremendously. Gymnasts and ballet dancers rarely complained of back pain during pregnancy because they have well-developed back musculature and core abdominal muscles. Exercises that help strengthen the back in core abdominal muscles can provide relief and prevent worsening problems as the pregnancy goes on. This includes things like Pilates or Yoga.
- Many women benefit from wearing a back brace or pregnancy support belt. These devices tend to change your center of gravity slightly and help redistribute the load. Typically, these are most helpful in the third trimester and even though you may not have needed one in your first pregnancy, because you likely carry the baby differently in your second or third pregnancy, you might find one helpful in those subsequent pregnancies.
- A good massage is nice and some women will appreciate chiropractic therapy during pregnancy as well. In some cases, your doctor might order physical therapy.
- It is unusual for back pain during pregnancy to require any testing or other treatments. However, if you have a history of chronic back pain or orthopedic abnormalities, be sure to tell your doctor.