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Pregnancy

7 Ways to Alleviate Pregnancy Back Pain

Jennifer Lincoln, MD, IBCLC, Board Certified OB/GYN
January 3, 2019 . 12 min read

1. Why me?!

Pregnant women experience discomfort in a variety of ways, but one of the most persistent can be back pain. Weight gain, a shift in your center of gravity as your uterus grows, and hormones that loosen your joints can all contribute to this issue. Even if you are gaining just the right amount of weight and doing everything right, you may still experience back pain. So, the most important question is: what can you do about it?

2. Get moving

Whether you are pregnant or not, evidence suggests that strengthening your muscles can better support your joints. Exercise is a great way to ensure a healthy pregnancy and alleviate back pain (though you might experience some muscle soreness in the beginning). You’ll benefit most when you do a variety of exercises, ranging from cardio to yoga.

3. Sit up straight

At the end of the day, a pain-free back is also usually a well-aligned back. So, (not to sound like your mother here, but …) sit up straight. If you spend the majority of your day sitting, you might consider using a belly band, chair positioner, or pelvic belt to help you.

4. Try acupuncture

The thought of needles might scream pain to you, but acupuncture has actually been shown to reduce pregnancy-related back pain. Whether you are a regular acupuncture patient or not, it may be a helpful source of relief. However, you should be sure to choose an acupuncturist who has experience working with pregnant women.

5. Sleeping arrangements

Back pain can definitely keep you up at night. Unfortunately, you may wake up not only more tired, but also in more pain. Try using a body pillow to keep your back in alignment and to reduce the strain placed on it at night.

6. See a chiropractor

Some people swear by chiropractic care. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence to suggest that it actually does much for pregnancy back pain. If you already feel comfortable being adjusted, feel free to give it a try. But, if you aren’t too keen on the idea or the cost, you probably aren’t missing out.

7. Get a massage

Does a massage ever sound like a bad idea? Your back might thank you for getting a prenatal massage from someone with experience working with pregnant women. If you have any high-risk issues, you may want to check with your doctor before scheduling an appointment.

8. Extra help

Sometimes, other methods just aren’t enough. If that’s the case, Tylenol, or acetaminophen is safe to take during pregnancy to reduce muscle inflammation. Heating pads and ice packs may also help you find relief.

Sources:

  • Cochrane Library
  • Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy.
    Spine-health.com Back pain in pregnancy.

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