How To Cope With Back Pain in Pregnancy

Many women experience pain at some point during pregnancy and sometimes the pain persists after giving birth. There are things you can do to prevent onset of pain or minimize/eliminate pain once you begin to experience it.

Causes Of Back Pain With Pregnancy

  • Additional weight gain: Increased weight causes strain on the joints and forces the muscles to work harder.
  • Change in the center of gravity: As your belly gets bigger the center of gravity moves forward which can cause you to feel off balance and causes changes in posture.
  • Postural changes: Generally the natural curves in your spine become more pronounced causing poor postural positions with tightness in some muscle groups and overstretch in other muscle groups. When muscles are tight or over stretched they are not able to function as well as they used to. Poor postural positions can also cause pressure to be placed on nerves which can cause pain that radiates into the hips or legs.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormones during pregnancy cause ligaments to loosen in preparation for birth, however as the joints are relaxed it can cause joint instability and pain.
  • Stress: Stress can cause increased muscle tension which causes pain.


How Physical Therapy Can Help

Exercise is recommended during pregnancy for most women but there may be certain circumstances where exercise should be avoided. Your doctor or physical therapist will be able to determine if exercise is safe for you and what exercises you should be doing.

Your physical therapist will be able to identify the cause of your back pain and prescribe exercises specific to the cause of pain and phase of pregnancy. Physical therapists may use modalities, massage, stretching, strengthening exercises and postural education to reach goals of alleviating back pain. A physical therapist will also be able to modify exercises to fit the needs of your changing body, avoid positions that are not safe and to minimize impact on the joints.

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