Tips For Back Pain in Pregnancy

Being an active individual, I was very motivated to continue my regular exercise regime during my first pregnancy: running, yoga, kickboxing, volleyball.  I wanted to stay as active and strong as I could knowing how good this is for your body.  Well, that all went down the toilet the second I hit 6 weeks.  I was nauseous every minute of the day and was extremely fatigued!  My favorite book right now is “Belly Laughs” by Jenny McCarthy.  She describes pregnancy fatigue as “imagine staying up all night, then running a marathon, then doing 300 loads of laundry and raking leaves off a football field all in one day.”  Yep!  That’s how I felt!  Sick and very tired.  I could barely walk up a flight of stairs, let alone try to workout!

Thankfully, by second trimester, I was feeling like a normal human being again.  I was so happy the day I could walk 2 miles at a fast pace and play an entire match of volleyball without sitting down between games!  Unfortunately, my low back and SI joints were not used to this activity and argued back.  The hormone in pregnancy called Relaxin causes your ligaments to be more lax, or “loosy-goosy.”  If you don’t have the muscle support around these joints, things move in ways they aren’t suppose to.  I talk to patients about this every day, but have never experienced it firsthand. Well, I felt your pain ladies!  Hormones hurt!

Back pain is very common throughout pregnancy, but the good news is there are so many things you can do about it!  Once I no longer required 10-11 hours of sleep at night to function and didn’t constantly think about puking my brains out, I started strengthening.  I did a couple of simple exercises each night to work my core and glute muscles and started doing prenatal yoga. When I did have pain, I performed stretching exercises and muscle energy techniques to help my SI alignment.  Being aware of my posture throughout the day and at night was also very helpful.  I’m happy to report I can now exercise comfortably and feel great!

If you are having any pain during or after your pregnancy, a physical therapist can provide you with the tools you need to manage your symptoms at home.  We typically see patients just a few visits, maybe more depending on the severity of your symptoms. There are several manual interventions we use to help your pain initially, and will also teach you techniques and exercises you can use to relieve pain when it occurs.  I understand with a busy schedule it is hard to stay motivated and find the time to do these exercises.  But, the time is definitely worth it when you feel better and you can focus on setting up the baby room and buy lots of cute clothes for your little one!