Pregnancy back pain is a major concern for expectant mothers, and it’s no surprise with the extra load they’re carrying. However, did you know that pregnancy back pain may occur even during the first trimester, before the body undergoes significant changes on the outside? That’s because lots of changes are happening on the inside.
The stretching of the ligaments in the hip and abdominal area, coupled with the expanding uterus, may actually cause sciatica, a type of back and leg pain that is caused when pressure is applied to the nerves in the lower back. The pain may feel like a mild tingling, a dull ache, a sharp sudden pain, or even a burning sensation. And of course, the expectant mother may also feel back pain in the third trimester. So how do you help alleviate pregnancy back pain?
DonJoy Maternity Belt
Well, first of all, always consult your doctor. The cause of back pain must first be diagnosed in order to be sure of which treatment method to use. In many cases, no treatment is recommended and symptoms clear up on their own. Your physician may suggest applying heat or ice to the area or he may suggest mild doses of over-the-counter pain relievers. You can also wear a pregnancy back support, such as the DonJoy Maternity Belt. It’s designed for all stages of pregnancy and supports both the lower back and abdominal area. The DonJoy Maternity Belt helps to eliminate discomfort during pregnancy.
If these treatments do not work, your doctor may suggest physical therapy or recommend a back specialist. Carrying your baby for nine months is not easy, but the reward is well worth it in the end!
Back pain is one of the leading causes of job-related injuries in the United States. What most people don’t know is that in many cases, back pain may be avoided. Here are some quick tips on how to prevent back pain.
- When carrying groceries or other heavy items, separate out the bags so you’re not carrying too many items at once. Taking one minute to make an extra trip to the car could help achy muscles and a sore back!
- Exercise your abdominal and back muscles. Strengthening this area of your body helps support your back and spine, reducing your chances of pain and injury.
- Stretch your back, especially before and after sports and other physical activities.
- When lifting heavy objects, use the strength in your knees to pick up the item. Keep your abdominal muscles flexed and hold the item close to your body. Try to keep your back straight as you carry the item.
- Ask for help from a friend when moving heavy furniture, or hire movers as they have the right tools and techniques for lifting large objects.
- Wear a back brace during physical activity. Back braces help remind you to lift properly, and they provide compression and support for your lower back as you lift. (Try the DonJoy Back Brace for a great all-around lower back support.)
- Use proper posture when sitting, standing and walking. The back has an easier time carrying your weight when it’s straight.
- Wear proper shoes with adequate support. Avoid wearing high heels whenever possible.
- Eat healthy foods to maintain a good weight, and for nutrition.
These simple tips can help save your back from future pain! If you experience back pain or think you might have injured your back, check with your doctor for the best treatment for your injury.
Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She recently tore her ACL and will be sharing her experiences with us as she works towards getting back into sports.
I still remember when I was younger how a pair of elderly ladies commented about the way I was bent over in the flowerbed, “Oh, your back will be regretting that one day.” I had no idea what they meant.
Now that I’m recovering from my ACL reconstruction surgery, I’m more aware of how the various activities I participate in can affect my body – especially gardening. Since I’ve had some free time during my ACL recovery, I’ve looked up some ways to prevent back pain from gardening.
- Keep your back straight. When you’re weeding, get down on your knees or kneel on one leg. Lean forward to get the weeds and keep your back hollow. Don’t stoop over. Think of your torso as one solid unit.
- Use a gardening stool. If you suffer from knee pain or can’t kneel, this is a good alternative. Try to keep your back hollow as you work. This is how I’ve managed to tone down the weeds in my yard, even though I’ve only been out of surgery for a month!
- Wear a back brace. A back brace provides compression and helps keep your spine in the proper position. It also serves as a reminder to keep your back straight.
- Warm up and stretch before gardening. I know you’re not going for a jog, but it will keep your muscles limber as you move around in the yard.
- Mix up what you’re doing. Change up your activities in the garden. Weed for 10 minutes, then water some plants, then trim the suckers off your tree, etc. It gets hot out there so it’s a good excuse for a water break!
- Get the right tools. I spent hours trying to dig up some weeds. Then my mother-in-law hacked at the ground with a pickaxe and the weeds came up out of the loosened dirt with no problem. Sounds silly, but it saved me from having to bend over for long periods of time.
Long hours in the hot sun, stooped over and pulling at weeds, or digging up rocks to plant some new flowers… all of this can have a negative effect on my back. I’m hoping the measures I take now will help in the long run!
About.com – Back & Neck
According to BabyCenter.com, as many as three-quarters of pregnant women experience back pain at some point, especially during the later months of pregnancy. Most of this pain is in the lower back and is attributed to the expanding uterus, change in weight and also hormones. Here are some things you can do to alleviate or reduce pregnancy back pain:
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises – Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, because some pregnancy situations may need you to limit exercise. Strengthening and stretching the back can help the muscles and joints that support your back and legs. You can also consider swimming and walking because they are low impact and relaxing.
Wear a Pregnancy Back Brace – Pregnancy back braces provide compression and support where you need it most. They encourage proper posture and also help prevent your ligaments from shifting unnaturally. We recommend the DonJoy Maternity Belt because it helps support both your stomach and your back through all stages of pregnancy.
Wear the Right Shoes – No high heels. As your belly grows your posture changes, and wearing high heels can increase the pressure on your back. Wear comfortable shoes that provide support to the arches of your feet.
Proper Body Mechanics – Be aware of how you are moving – especially when standing or sitting, or when getting out of bed. Keep a straight posture to alleviate pressure on your spine and lower back. Remember to bend your knees when picking up items.
Take it Easy - It’s important to get enough sleep and to take breaks after standing for long periods of time. Avoid carrying heavy objects and divide the weight of items you are carrying when you have to – especially those groceries. And if you really want to relax, treat yourself to a prenatal massage (or ask your partner for one!).
Did you know that back injuries can happen when playing soccer?
Soccer players are susceptible to lower back pain and herniated disk injuries. In fact, world-famous soccer player David Beckham had to sit out of major league soccer games last week due to pain in his lower back.
The lower back supports the weight and motion of an athlete’s body. The twisting motion from kicking in soccer puts pressure and force on this area, which can lead to back strain or even ligament tears. Here are some ways to prevent soccer back injuries:
- Wear a soccer back brace. Back braces for soccer provide compression along the spine. This can help hold the back in correct alignment and may prevent injury while playing soccer.
- Stretch and strengthen the muscles. Make sure to keep your back muscles flexible and strong. This helps your body handle sudden loads of force during a soccer game.
- Proper warm up. Soccer back injuries may be prevented by getting blood flowing through the body. Quick warm up exercises and stretching can help you avoid back sprains from the twisting motion when kicking.
These simple tips can be all the difference in keeping your body healthy and on the field!