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Oh, my aching back: Easing Pregnancy Pain

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(Cleveland Clinic)- Expectant moms experience many new things – including back pain. 

Research suggests about 50 percent of pregnant women will have low back pain and that it’s the leading reason for working moms-to-be to call in sick during pregnancy.

Andrew Bang, DC, a chiropractor at Cleveland Clinic, said one of the worst aggravators of back pain during pregnancy is sitting for long periods of time.  

“When you’re stuck sitting in that chair you create tightness in some muscles and weakness in others and when you stand that imbalance creates the pain,” said Dr. Bang.  “It makes your posture worse, which is already exacerbated by your belly that’s getting bigger.”

Changes in hormones, weight, posture and gait can all contribute to back pain when pregnant, according to Dr. Bang.
Studies show low back pain is most common between weeks 20 and 28 of pregnancy. 

Certain pain relievers aren’t safe for pregnant women, but Dr. Bang said alternative therapies like exercise, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and massage have all been proven safe and effective.  

Dr. Bang also said ‘rolling out’ and massaging tired and painful muscles with a foam roller, or even a tennis or lacrosse ball, can help ease muscle pain. 

There are also simple stretches that can be done at home or work to provide temporary relief.

“Simply bending and reaching to touch your toes from a standing or seated position helps to alleviate pressure from your hamstrings, which takes pressure off your pelvis and therefore takes pressure off of your lower back,” said Dr. Bang.

Dr. Bang said maintaining good posture throughout the day can also help back pregnancy-related back pain to keep the spine from becoming stressed. 

However, when simple tools and therapies aren’t working, he recommends talking to a doctor.

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