Easing Back Pain During Pregnancy

I feel pretty lucky; my pregnancy has been going pretty smoothly so far. I only had about 2 weeks of mild nausea in the first trimester, not many food aversions or crazy cravings, and I’d suffered from very few mood swings for the most part. (Rich is pretty happy about that one.) In general, I’ve been having a pretty happy, uneventful (in the negative sense) pregnancy. I’m not sure what’s contributed to that, but I’ll just chalk it up to good genes. Thanks, Mom!

One pregnancy symptom, however, that plagued me during most of the second trimester was constant, bickering back pain! Not surprisingly, this is one of the most common complaints from pregnant ladies. As I’d mentioned here a couple of months ago, sciatica got the best of me and made it hard to walk and even sleep at night. Luckily, the sciatic nerve pain came and went within a couple of weeks, but residual pain from sciatica coupled with the increasing weight of the little peanut meant back aches were here to stay.

Easing Back Pain

After a lot of Googling, discussions with my OB and NP, and trial-and-error, here are some helpful tips I’ve found have helped ease some of my back pain. Unfortunately, the only cure is childbirth, but these have definitely helped me cope!

  • Heat Therapy: My trusty heat pack became my best friend at work, on the couch, and before bed. Heat helps loosen up the muscles, which can alleviate some of the tension. I like the re-usable packs that come with a wrap so that I can still be mobile while getting some much needed heat therapy. Be sure to only apply heat for a maximum of 10 minutes at a time, and never apply a hot pack directly to your skin.
  • Maternity Support Belt: A belly belt works by providing support by lifting the belly, which reduces the amount of work your mid and lower back has to do. Since I work a desk job, I found the belt helped me most when I was sitting down because it forced me to keep better posture than I normally would.
  • Exercise: It may sound counter intuitive, but exercise like walking or light weights can actually help ease back pain by strengthening your core muscles, which will help carry some of that extra weight from your growing belly!
  • Prenatal Massage: I think getting monthly prenatal massages is the main reason that my back pain was improved so dramatically. Although it can be a little expensive, it’s been worth the cost for me personally. However, it’s not for everyone and also not affordable for everyone, but there’s nothing wrong with turning to your support person for a rub down once in awhile. I wish I could get a prenatal massage every day, and if I sneezed dollar bills I would, but Rich does a pretty good job filling in for the massage therapist in between sessions. =) If you want to try it out, please do your research and make sure you find someone who is specially trained in prenatal massage because it’s not just your regular run-of-the-mill massage!

Those are just a few of the ways I’ve learned to cope with my back pain. Like I said, things could definitely be harder so I feel blessed that a little bit of back tension is the worst of my pregnancy “side effects.” There are other things I use to help like mountains of pillows and lots of rest when I can, but those are my top 4. And, as always, please consult your doctor before trying any of these suggested methods!

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5 thoughts on “Easing Back Pain During Pregnancy

  1. I was suffering from prenatal back pain too and I totally agree with your tips. I found gentle exercise – especially swimming, yoga and pilates helped loads. One tip I was given was not to stretch too much.
    Massage definitely helped – think that should be a daily duty for all dads to be ;o)
    Also – a gym ball was great for when I just wanted to slob in front of the TV, as they help you sit up straight and ease tension in your back.

    • Stretching too much is definitely not beneficial!

      I agree with your exercise ball comment – I’ve found that it can be more comfortable sitting on one rather than the couch sometimes!

  2. I really no nothing about prenatal back pain. But in my experience with back pain, ice has always worked better for me than heat. In fact, I believe that is what made me able to last so long before needing to see a surgeon. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t on the floor screaming when he saw my MRI!

    And I agree whole-heartedly about walking. Sitting is the worst thing you can do with back pain. In fact, after my surgery, they wanted me up and walking as much as possible the next day. 😉

    Great tips for your fellow moms-to-be!

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