Is Lower Back Pain a Common Symptom During Pregnancy?
Is Lower Back Pain Normal During Pregnancy? Yes. Statistics show that between 50 to 80 percent of all pregnant women experience some form of back pain, ranging from a mild pain that only manifests during certain activities to a more severe, chronic pain. Lower back pain is most common from the fifth month to the seventh month, but can begin as early as the second month. Women who have back problems prior to becoming pregnant are at an increased risk for lower back pain, and these women generally experience lower back pain earlier on in their pregnancy.
What Causes Pregnancy Lower Back Pain?
There are several explanations for lower back pain:
- Additional weight – As a women begins to gain weight, it puts additional pressure on her spine, causing lower back pain. There is also additional pressure on the spine as the baby gains weight.
- Shift in the center of gravity – Pregnancy changes your center of gravity, which alters your posture and the manner in which you move. These changes put stress on the lower back.
- Creation of relaxin – When a women becomes pregnant, her body starts to manufacture a hormone called relaxin. This hormone relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and loosens the joints in order to facilitate the baby’s birth. Relaxin also loosens the ligaments in the spine, which causes the spine to become unstable and that instability results in lower back pain.
- Stress – Any emotional tension the woman experiences will affect the back muscles, causing them to tighten and become painful.
How Can a Pregnant Woman Alleviate Lower Back Pain?
Diet is one of the best ways to control the inflammation associated with lower back pain. You should eat five or more servings each day of fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, strawberries and blueberries. Salmon and tuna, which contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, are also good inflammation fighters. Nuts, such as pecans, walnuts and almonds also help reduce inflammation.
Regular exercise, like walking and water exercises, strengthens your back and relieves back pain during pregnancy.
Taking Tylenol, either in the regular or extra strength forms, is okay to relieve pain. However, you should never take more than the recommended dose because it can cause liver failure in you and in your baby during the later stages of development.
If you are experiencing sciatica, severe leg pain indicating nerve irritation, during late pregnancy, an epidural steroid is a possible option to relieve the pain if physical therapy has failed. Talk this over with your doctor.
You should talk to your doctor about any back pain you may be experiencing, especially if it is severe, because this can become a chronic condition if not properly treated.
[Featured Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]