Prevent back pain during pregnancy
By Lisa Evans
on September 09, 2013
Lacy Sletten’s back pain started five months into
her pregnancy and progressively worsened. “I
tried everything from pillows to warm baths.
I felt there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. It just
seemed common,” she says. As your belly grows,
your centre of gravity shifts forward. “With
your belly protruding, you naturally lean your
head backwards so you don’t fall forward,” says
Dr. Maya Pande, chiropractor and owner of
Pande Family Wellness Centre in Toronto. This
increases the curvature of the lower back and
can strain the muscles, resulting in discomfort.
Try these techniques to reduce back pain.
Practise good posture
Hold your chest high.
- Keep the shoulders back and relaxed.
- Use a wider stance to provide support.
- Choose a chair with support or place a small
pillow behind your lower back.
This will counteract
the backward curvature of the spine, says Dr.
Pande. Try straddling a sturdy dining chair.
Lean forward over the back of the chair to create
a forward curve in your spine. Or try a cat
stretch – get on all fours and round your back
towards the ceiling while gazing at your belly.
Heat can open up the blood vessels,
allowing oxygen to travel to the muscle fibres.
Apply a warm towel, warm water bottle or
heating pad set to a low setting on your back,
but avoid adding any heat to the belly.
With a specialist
Consult your healthcare provider to make
sure there are no contraindications for these
alternative therapies and to maintain an
openness and trust in your prenatal care plan.
relaxin is released during pregnancy to loosen
up ligaments and open the pelvis. “Relaxin can
cause the pelvis to go out of alignment, which
puts pressure on the nerves,” says Dr. Pande.
A chiropractic adjustment can help balance
out the pelvis and reduce discomfort. If your
healthcare provider gives the OK, look for a
chiropractor with experience treating pregnant
Chinese medical practitioner
Gosia Pacyna says acupuncture can help relieve
pregnancy back pain, but recommends finding
an acupuncturist that has extra training in
treating pregnancy. “There are many points
which we use with great success with back pain
but that we cannot do during pregnancy at any
stage,” says Gosia. Rather than using needles on
the back, Gosia uses distance points located on
the legs, ears and hands.
Avoid these activities to help prevent back pain:
Lifting heavy objects.
Practise good posture when picking
up any object by bending at the knees and lifting with your legs
rather than your back. Avoid picking up things that weigh more
than a few pounds.
Wearing high heels.
Your centre of gravity is already affected
by your growing belly. Adding heels to the mix can throw off your
balance and cause strain on your back. Invest in a pair of shoes
with low heels and good arch support.
Sleeping on your back.
Sleep on your side with knees bent
and place a pillow between them. Elevating your knees takes the
pressure off the lower back.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2013.
By Lisa Evans|
September 09, 2013