In my previous post I talked about why we develop back pain during pregnancy and in this post, we will talk about how to tackle the pain. Pre-pregnancy, I worked out 3 times a week that consisted of cardio and lifting. When I stopped working out in my first trimester, I lost some of my muscle mass. That was not a good outcome for my body since I started developing some back, neck and pelvic pain. Four factors that can create back pain during pregnancy are losing muscle mass, postural changes, developing baby and hormones. Here are four ways how you can tackle back pain during pregnancy.
#1 Avoid standing or sitting for too long
As you move along your pregnancy, your activity tolerance will change. As nausea and fatigue slow you down in your first trimester, your growing belly will limit your activity tolerance in your last trimester. Today, we all are used multi tasking where we go non-stop all day long. My advice to you is take it easy and take breaks to make it more manageable and less painful for your body. Avoid prolonged activity such as sitting or standing for too long. Being in a position for an extended period of time will increase the stiffness in your back. If you are sitting for an hour, getting up may be harder. If you are standing for an hour, you may start getting radiating pains from your back to your legs. Remember to give yourself adequate rest breaks.
A low back pillow such as OPTP lumbar support can also prolong your sitting tolerance. You can purchase it on Ebay or Amazon for under $20. This hot dog shaped pillow fits in the curvature of your back and supports your spine during sitting in front of TV, while you are at the dinner table or even while driving. You can take it with you anywhere. A little support for your back, will make it also complain less.
#2 Stick to your exercise program
Following an exercise program that consists of both stretching and strengthening is very important. Stretching will prevent over tightening of your muscles, while strengthening will keep your muscles active and engaged that will give the support for your growing baby and changing body. 20-30 minutes of daily exercising will be helpful during your pregnancy, labor as well as postpartum. When it comes to your upper back, the key is to stretch the front of your chest and strengthen your upper back. When it comes to your lower back, the key is to stretching your hamstrings, calves and hip flexors, while you strengthen you gluteals and deep core stabilizers.
Pilates and yoga are also great tools to use while pregnant. Pilates focus on core stabilization and hip strengthening while yoga focuses on improving overall flexibility, and strength by using your own body weight.
#3 Use a belt of support
If your back pain is hard to manage, then it is ok to get a little external support. I have a small frame and during my second trimester, I started getting some back and pelvic pain where I could not stand more than 10 minutes. When I was registering for my registry, I came across Medela Maternity support. Thinking to myself, “it is under $20 so can’t hurt to try”, I am glad I made the purchase. This belt provided gentle support for my low back which eased my pain. I was able to stand for longer periods of time which allowed me to attend some house chores. It is made of stretchy material so it did not dig into my belly as it gently lifted and supported my stomach. This belt attaches in the front via velcro system so it was easy to put on, adjust and take off. Hassle free! Definitely recommended!
#4 See a professional
Seeing a health care professional throughout your pregnancy is a great idea. Even though, your ongoing aches and pains will stop once you give birth, alleviating those symptoms can be as simple as seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor as little as once a week, regularly. A health care professional can address any misalignments in your body, can use manual techniques to decrease muscle spasms, correct misalignments, and unlock aching joints. They can use tape to support your growing belly to alleviate your pelvic and back pain, give you tips on which exercises to perform to keep your musculoskeletal system as strong and efficient as possible.
I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!
Do not miss my next post on essential exercises of your second trimester!
Stay tuned in, stay awesome!
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