Carrying around a little bundle of joy for nine months can be a wonderful, rewarding experience. But, as most women who have had this experience would likely confirm, it can also result in some degree of spine-related aches and pains. In fact, half of all expectant mothers report having back pain at some point during their pregnancies. Here’s a closer look at some of the causes of pregnancy-related back pain along with some tips on how to manage each one.
1. Pregnancy-Related Weight Gain
It’s perfectly normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy. However, even healthy weight gain can contribute to back pain by increasing pressure on the lower (lumbar) spine. You may be able to minimize this potential source of spine-related discomfort during your pregnancy by:
- Getting regular exercise as per your doctor’s recommendations
- Opting for healthy food choices as your pregnancy advances
- Remaining as active as possible so your spine’s supporting muscles remain sufficiently stimulated and strong
2. Posture Changes
As your baby grows, the extra weight can affect how you stand, sit, and sleep. These changes to your posture can, in turn, contribute to back pain. Ways to offset posture-related issues during your pregnancy include:
- Performing random posture checks throughout your day
- Using a supportive cushion when sitting to ease the burden on your lower back
- Shifting to a more comfortable spine-friendly position when sitting for long periods
- Making an effort to get up and move around as much as possible
3. Hormone-Related Changes
During pregnancy, the body produces different hormones to prepare for the process of giving birth. Some of these hormones loosen ligaments around the lower back area near the pelvis. These looser soft tissues can contribute to back pain, since they’re not providing as much support for the spine as they normally do. You may be able to counter these hormonal changes by remaining active throughout your pregnancy to keep your spine stable.
4. Muscle-Related Changes
Muscle tissues, particularly ones in the abdominal area that provide indirect support to the spine, can also change throughout the various stages of pregnancy. Again, this is perfectly normal, but it can also contribute to back pain.
The best way to counteract muscle-related changes during pregnancy is to safely engage your core muscle groups as much as possible as your pregnancy advances. One option to consider is yoga, a gentle form of exercise that can target your core spine-supporting muscles in a safe, relaxed way.
5. Emotional Stress
The preparations that go along with getting ready to welcome a new baby can be stressful for some mothers. This added stress can contribute to muscle tension and other issues that could affect the spine. The solution is to minimize emotional stress as much as you can during your pregnancy. You can do this by:
- Exploring your options with deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques
- Focusing on positive activities that keep you mentally focused and relaxed
- Discussing any concerns you may have about your pregnancy with your doctor so you’re not overly stressed
Many women think back pain is just a part of pregnancy they have to live with, but relief is possible. If you’re having severe or persistent pain in your back or neck, make sure to consult with a Los Angeles spine surgeon for prompt diagnosis and treatment. At The Spine Institute, our pioneering doctors have experience with every type of back pain. Call one of our friendly representatives at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.
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