Let's talk about lower back pain!
It is one of the most common issues that any Physiotherapy clinic will see and for Physiotherapists that work with women's health clients - pregnancy and lower back pain go together like bread and butter!!
Why do women experience back pain in pregnancy?
During your pregnancy your body undergoes posture changes and so there are also mechanical changes in the way your muscles are positioned and can work! Some muscles are lengthened and some muscles are shortened. Sometimes this leads to tight muscles, stiff joints and pain because movement becomes restricted or some muscles might be working too hard and need support.
Does everyone get lower back pain in pregnancy?
No! But a lot of women do experience some back pain during at least some point in their pregnancy. Sometimes labour pains are also felt in the back but, again, not with everyone! Every woman is different!
My friend got back pain at 6 weeks - is that from the pregnancy or a different thing?
Hormone changes kick off really early in pregnancy! Some of these hormones like Relaxin affect can your joints and connective tissue and so sometimes women find that their body is feeling different quite quickly, other women won't notice until the very end of pregnancy (or sometimes not at all). Everyone is different and there is a wide range of normal.
Are there things I can do to stop myself from getting a sore back?
Absolutely!! There are a lot of things you can do to help manage or prevent back pain in pregnancy. Probably the best tip I can provide is to get it looked at by a Physiotherapist as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable, don't wait until you're struggling to walk because of pain and tightness!!
Keeping fit and staying strong throughout your pregnancy is the best way to prevent back pain but it's important to know what exercises you should and shouldn't be doing - that's where a Physiotherapist can help! You shouldn't take up new exercise activities once pregnant but you can often continue your current ones so long as they are safe and modified to pregnancy!
Supporting your changing body by ensuring that it moves well and is supported by strong muscles is important for staying as pain-free as you can!
What kind of treatments or techniques can a Physio use to help me with back pain whilst I'm pregnant?
- soft tissue massage and release techniques for tight muscles (I also have specially designed pillows so that you can lay on your stomach!!! #comfort )
- taping to offload muscles, support joints, help with posture, support belly, support pelvis, shoulders = you name it!
- tubigrip and pelvic belts/bands to support pelvis, hips, lower back and support growing belly (tubigrip is amazing for this!!)
- exercises for strength to help support glutes, pelvis and posture to avoid or reduce low back pain
- mobility exercises to improve flexibility and movement (which often contributes to back pain)
- modifications and advice on how to continue to exercise through pregnancy