Back pain can be debilitating and annoying, and happens to ~80% of us. That includes during pregnancy! As we know, our bodies drastically change during pregnancy. This includes increased weight gain and ligament laxity, both of which can contribute to low back pain.
Low back pain can occur at any point during pregnancy. We know that It can occur in younger women more frequently and you are prone to it if you experienced it prior to pregnancy. Pain can range from mild to severe, even affecting our sleep at night. When sleep is interrupted, the body has not had a chance to heal itself and is still in distress the next day. During pregnancy, if you are in pain, your symptoms may worsen if not addressed immediately.
The good news is that, even though it is common during pregnancy, physical therapy can help. We can show you what exercises you should or shouldn’t be doing to counteract the stress from the extra weight and the lack of ligamentous support. We will educate you on proper body mechanics and postures throughout your day. Activity modifications, such as avoiding prolonged positions, may also be suggested. Although there are certain treatments that we can’t use during pregnancy, heat and/or ice is acceptable.
Physical therapy along with other recommendations will help you to better manage your pain so that you feel more in control. Keeping stress to a minimum helps decrease back pain/spasms. As you follow up with your obstetrician, make sure you mention if your back is bothering you. About 25% of women don’t inform their provider, and therefore are left to their own resources to find pain relief. Don’t let that happen to you!
By Effie Koustas, MPT