So, you are pregnant and your belly keeps growing as the weeks’ pass. By now you are moody, irritable, tired and to top it all, if you have back pains, it makes it difficult to manage it all.
So, why do women experience back pain during pregnancy?
There are a lot of reasons that pregnant women suffer from occasional back pain during pregnancy. The main being:
- Gaining weight: As you progress through your pregnancy, your weight gain may increase the load on your muscles and ligaments.
- Change in the centre of gravity: As this changes, there is more tension/strain to your back.
- Postural change: Caused due to the weight gain or change in the centre of gravity leading to strain on the back.
- Hormone influence: The hormone relaxin causes loosening of the ligaments of the pelvis. This also affects the muscles and ligaments of the spine causing its instability and pain.
- Stress: Emotional stress leads to muscle tension in the back, causing pain and spasms of the back.
So, what can you do to manage back pain during pregnancy?
- Know your body’s limits: Prevention is better than cure! This holds very true during pregnancy. Do not do any strenuous work or lift heavy objects, and whenever you feel tired/in pain, get the rest needed.
- Better posture: This small change will hugely reduce the strain on your back. Also, having proper posture while sitting and sleeping go a long way.
- Exercise: Speak to your doctor and do a few exercises that help in reducing the strain to the muscles of the back.
- Alternative heat and cold application: Applying heat and cold alternatively to your back may lead to some relief. After your doctor agrees, start by cold compression (such as a bag of ice/frozen vegetables bundled in a towel/ice pack) on the painful area (20 minutes placement several times a day). Then after 2-3 days, switch to heat application (heating pad/hot water bottle) to the painful area. Note: Do not apply heat to your stomach when pregnant.
- Proper footwear: Wear comfortable footwear and avoid heels.
- Support: In some cases, a maternity belt may be a blessing.
- Sleep position: Sleep on the side rather than on your back.
- Eat healthily and take your vitamins on time: Eating healthy and good food not only nourishes you but also helps you in avoiding putting on extra weight when pregnant.
Any home remedies that can be used during pregnancy?
- Yoga: Some pregnancy yoga (relaxes the muscles) and deep breathing (as the diaphragm gets a bit restricted) can offer relief.
- Back massage: Ask someone to massage your lower back to loosen your glutes, hamstrings & calves preventing these muscles to pull on the lower back.
- Essential oils: Aromatherapy may be useful to ease your pain. Using essential oils lavender, ylang-ylang, tea tree etc can calm your senses.
- Herbal medicine: Such as devil’s claw can be used (should be cautiously used in pregnancy. Do talk to your doctor before using any herbal supplements).
- Homoeopathy: Some women swear by rub arnica cream to relieve back pain during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor when trying alternative medicine.
- Foot massage: Getting a foot massage is an asset. Go for a pedicure and a massage once in a month. You deserve it.
- Chamomile/Tulsi/green/herbal tea: A hot cup of tea at times is all that you need!