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Pregnancy and Back pain

how to treat backpain during pregnancy

Pregnancy and Back pain

how to treat backpain during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings several physiological changes in the body. These changes can cause back pain. A pre-existing back pain may get exaggerated during pregnancy.

Causes of back pain in pregnancy:

  • Weight gain due to weight of the fetus and increased water/ fat content of the body puts extra pressure on spine. On an average, a pregnant lady usually gains about 10 kg weight.
  • Excessive weight in abdomen shifts center of gravity. This pulls lumbar spine out of alignment.
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause ligaments in body becomes softer and stretch to assist in child delivery. This causes loss of support of spinal also. Sacro-iliac joint is most affected.
  • Excessive stretching of abdominal muscles causes loss of anterior support of spine.
  • Mental stress associated with pregnancy can cause back muscle spasm.

Following tips will help in preventing or alleviating existing back pain.

  • Activity modifications:
    • Don’t bend forward to lift anything off the floor. Rather bend your knees to lower your body.
    • Keep weight near your body to reduce lever arm effect.
    • Keep weight equally distribute in both arms, e.g. while shopping.
    • Keep your back straight while sitting.
    • Sit on a firm surface. Avoid sofa which can slouch your back.
    • Keep one leg on stool while standing for long time.
    • A firm mattress should be used while sleeping. A hard board under a soft mattress can also be used.
    • Don’t sleep on your back.
    • Avoid high heel shoes
    • Don’t twist your spine to turn. Use your feet to move entire body to one side.

  • Pain Relief:
    • Use local hot/ cold compresses to relieve muscle spasm.
    • A local pain relieving gel will help.
    • A light massage or warm bath can also be used.
    • Use paracetamol if pain is severe as it is safe during pregnancy.  For a higher pain killer medicine, first consult your doctor.
    • Take proper rest.

  • Seek immediate medical help if:
    • Back pain is severe and not responding to medical treatment.
    • Emergency symptoms of nerve pressure (numbness/ loss of sensation/ weakness).
    • Towards the end of pregnancy period (could be a sign of labor).
    • Associated with fever, burning urination (urinary infection).
    • Bleeding from vagina (pregnancy related complication).