Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

Written By: Dr. Marci D’Argenio PT, DPT

As if 40 weeks of fatigue, weight gain, and preparation aren’t enough, the pain and discomfort brought on by back pain during pregnancy is more than some women are prepared for. Experts estimate that anywhere from 24% to 90% of women experience low back or pelvic-region pain when they are pregnant, and more than a third of women still have pain 1 year after giving birth.  As your uterus grows during pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin causes the joints in the pelvis to loosen in order to allow for easier passage of the baby during delivery. Because of the growing fetus and uterus, the pregnant woman’s center of gravity is pushed forward causing an increased lumbar lordosis to accommodate the increased load on the spine. Lordosis is a natural inward curvature of the spine which, when increased, can cause sciatica or a sharp, shooting pain that starts in the back or buttock and radiates down the legs. The good news is there are several treatments available to that are safe for pregnant women which can alleviate these aches and pains.

Massage is a safe and natural way to reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, neck aches leg cramps, headaches, and swelling. Massage for pregnant women reduces stress on joints, encourages blood flow and lymphatic circulation, relieves tension which aides in better sleep and can improve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.

When it comes to banishing pregnancy woes, many moms-to-be praise acupuncture. Research shows that acupuncture can help ease many of the discomforts associated with pregnancy. Acupuncture points correspond to deep nerves, so when the needles are twirled or electrically stimulated, the nerves are activated which triggers the release of brain chemicals which block pain and help relieve pregnancy symptoms.

Physical therapy intervention includes specific interventions to address pain, weakness, and mobility in the low back region. Posture and stability exercises address the pelvic floor, core, and back muscles help to stabilize the pelvis and lower back. Exercises that incorporate a stability ball, pelvic tilts, squats, and stretching are just a few examples of common pre-natal programs. Physical therapists can also teach proper body mechanics for holding, feeding and changing baby. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment before or after baby arrives!

If you are pregnant and experiencing back pain in Monmouth County, feel free to contact our Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation office for a consultation.

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