Back Pain In Pregnancy
Low Back Pain Pregnancy
by Dr. Alison Gault
An unfortunate case for a lot of expecting mothers, low back pain in pregnancy is experienced in the area just below the bottom of the rib cage and above the two dimples of the low back that indicate the sacroiliac pelvic joints. Consisting of 5 vertebrae at the base of the spine, the lumbar connects to the pelvis at the lumbosacral joint. Low back pain in pregnancy can grab sharply at times with certain movements and often ache for extended periods, but can be helped with certain pregnancy exercises.
Low back pain pregnancy symptoms
- Back pain in pregnancy is generally located in the lumbar spine and is quite central.
- Can cause a dull ache, or can be sharp and grab with certain movements.
- The pain is experienced at the location of the two sacroiliac joints (SIJ) of the pelvis, just above the two dimples of the lower back.
- Muscular aching in the muscles of the hip, pelvis and thighs.
- Decreased range of movement in the lumbar spine.
- Pain with pressure on muscles on either side of the spine.
What’s happening and why
- The cause of the pain is the lumbar spine rather than the pelvis. It can occur in conjunction with pelvic pain or separately. Approximately 10% of women will have pain originating from the lumbar spine and the pelvis simultaneously.
- As your pregnancy advances, the curve in your lumbar spine or the lordosis increases. This occurs to keep your centre of gravity over your legs rather than anteriorly in your growing uterus. This occurs to help with balance and to maintain the biomechanics of the rest of the body as close to normal as possible.
- Women that have experienced lumbar pain prior to pregnancy are 2.1 times more likely to experience back pain pregnancy. The increase in loading due to the weight of the baby can increase the intensity of the pain that is normally experienced.
- Pain in the low back is 4 times more likely to be coming from the pelvis than from the lumbar spine.
- Serious lumbar spine disease rarely appears for the first time during pregnancy. Only 1 in 10,000 women have a disc herniation present for the first time during pregnancy.
- There is no evidence that scoliosis becomes or increases in pain with pregnancy.
- Severe spondylolisthesis can cause increased pain in the later stages of pregnancy due to the increased weight and hormone induced ligament laxity.
Prevention of pregnancy related low back pain
If you have history of low back it may be beneficial to:
- do some rehabilitation with a physiotherapist, Pilates instructor or personal trainer to ensure that your core, lumbar and pelvic musculature is strong and functioning as best as possible prior to getting pregnant.
- get treatment from your chiropractor, osteopath, myotherapist, acupuncturist or physiotherapist to ensure your pelvis and low back are in good working order before trying to get pregnant
- Act as soon as you start to experience symptoms when pregnant as unfortunately pain tends to worsen as the pregnancy progresses. It has been suggested that having a 2 year gap between pregnancies enables the body to recover and decreases the chance of re occurrence.
- Studies have shown that Women who are physically fit have a lower risk of getting lumbar pain in pregnancy.
How can products help your pregnancy related low back pain?
The Belly Bra was shown in a clinical trial at the Royal Womens Hospital in Melbourne to decrease the intensity of low back pain as well as decrease the impact that the low back pain had on common activities of daily life such as sleeping, sitting and walking.
The lumbar brace provides a gentle compression through the lumbar spine to increase the stability and decrease the strain on the surrounding muscles. It slightly lifts your growing bump to further decrease the pressure on your spine by improving your posture.
The Pregnancy total body support pillow supports and lifts your growing bump when sleeping to take pressure off the joints and muscles of the low back by improving postural alignment. The pelvic support pillow decreases tightness of your hip and pelvic muscles when lying on your side by slightly elevating your top leg. It also improves pelvic and spinal alignment to keep you in the optimal side lying position.
Exercise is very important in managing and preventing low back pain in pregnancy by increasing strength and flexibility. A pregnancy exercise DVD means you can do it in the comfort of your own home!