Treat Your Back Pain Today
Back pain during pregnancy is a good sign with unfortunate side effects. The good side is that your child is growing healthy and strong but at the cost of your back. You’re not alone. Most women experience some degree of back pain while they’re pregnant, especially during the second half of their pregnancy.
But just because back pain during your pregnancy is common doesn’t mean you have to live with it. In fact, it’s as deserving of attention as any other part of your prenatal and postnatal care needs. As you gain baby weight and your body changes, you can still ease your pain with focused, intentional care. Scott Family Health specializes in modalities of care like massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care that can help to relieve your aches and pains.
Radiating or sharp pain throughout your lower back
Pain in the center of the back or in between the shoulder blades
Pain as a result of moving or standing up
An increase in pain after sitting down for extended periods
Discomfort that radiates down the back, through the buttocks and thighs, and into the legs
A common concern in pregnancy is low back pain. With how many changes the body goes through during pregnancy, it’s no wonder there are some aches and pains associated. The amount of stress the body is under, the shift in the center of gravity, and hormones can play a big role in back pain.
The increased stress on the muscles from the change in posture and weight can leave pregnant patients feeling like there is no relief in sight. Pain can occur while lying in bed trying to get comfortable, when walking, standing, or sitting for long periods of time.
At Scott Family Health, we can help you determine what is causing your lower back pain and what natural, effective ways can help to decrease your lower back pain.
An estimated two-thirds of women will experience some form of back pain during their pregnancy. However, what exactly is the source of this pain can vary. As your pregnancy progresses, the cause of your back pain may change.
In the first trimester, back pain may be caused by factors like changes in hormone levels. Your levels of progesterone will increase during the first trimester. In high levels, this hormone helps your body to relax your muscles and ligaments near the pelvis. This impacts the stability and alignment of the joints in the pelvis. Similarly, the hormone relaxin helps to relax the ligaments and joints so that the birth canal can expand during delivery. This also has the effect of relaxing the ligaments that stabilize the lower spine. This can lead to instability, poor posture and low-back pain.
Stress is another common source of back pain during pregnancy. It can also cause issues like headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and more.
The second and third trimesters have their own unique changes that can lead to back pain.
Seemingly simple things like postural changes as you lean back more can strain the lower back. As the baby grows in weight, your sense of balance shifts toward the front of your body. Many women lean further back as a way to compensate for this shift in weight. This can cause low-back pain and muscle stiffness in this area.
As you gain weight and the baby grows, the additional weight can contribute to lower back pain and aching joints. Additionally, as the baby grows, it can put pressure on the abdominal muscles, which causes them to stretch, and even separate in some cases. As the abdominal muscles stretch, they become weaker, which puts them at increased risk of injuring their back or developing low-back or pelvic pain.
Possible diagnoses, and conditions treated at Scott Family Health:
Your piriformis a muscle that lies within your buttocks and runs from your tailbone to the thigh bone. This muscle helps to stabilize and rotate your hip joints. Underneath the piriformis is your sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle is trained, the nerve gets compressed, leading to a type of pain called piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome typically occurs after an injury or from overuse of these muscles. This type of pain is common after repeating stressful moves like squatting or lunging that requires extended use of the piriformis muscles. The resulting pain is often felt deep within the buttocks, and may even radiate into the back of the thigh, calf, foot, and ankle. In some cases, piriformis syndrome can restrict the range of motion in the hips.
One either side of your spine, you have a sacroiliac joint. This joint connects your tailbone to your pelvic bones and helps to transfer weight from your spine to your pelvis. When these joints are injured, you have a sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunctions are caused by the application of excessive force to the sacroiliac joints. This force can come from movements like bending, lifting, twisting, and even sitting. It can also be caused by activities that shift weight on your pelvis, like running and jumping. These injuries can occur from trauma or even from overuse. While pregnant, you may experience sacroiliac joint dysfunction because of the joint laxity that is caused by changing hormones.
Those who have a sacroiliac joint dysfunction describe the pain as localized to one side of their lower back, or around the top of the upper buttock. Pain is often more pronounced when engaged in activities that involve moving the lower back or hips. This includes getting in and out of bed, putting on and taking off shoes and socks, and walking up and downstairs.
An annular tear occurs when the discs in your back are damaged. Within your back is a series of discs called intervertebral discs. In between each disc is an elastic fluid that helps support your spinal column and allows you to bend and twist. The fluid is made up of a viscous fluid called the nucleus pulposus, and the outer shell is called the annulus fibrosus. When these layers break down or get damaged, you’ll experience an annular tear.
Annular tearing occurs when small slits appear in the disc, allowing the viscous nucleus to leak into the disc and irritate nearby nerves. This form of back pain is often the result of weight gain, stress, and social activities, all of which might change during pregnancy.
Annular tearing is often described as general stiffness or tightness in the back. Left unchecked, this can lead to sharp pain during movement. Achy pain that radiates throughout the back, muscle spasms, and altered posture can also be connected to an annular tear.
The intervertebral discs within your spine act as the suspension system for your body. When the two parts of each disc — the nucleus pulposus and the annulus fibrosus — start to degrade or get injured, it leads to a herniated disc. When the nucleus pulposus pushes against the discs, this pressures the spinal cord and the nerve roots near it. This can cause numbness, weakness, and pain in one or both of your legs. This is often caused by overuse of the back and injury to the lower back from twisting, bending, or lifting improperly.
The nerves in your lower back are connected to parts of the body like your legs, thighs, feet, hips, and buttocks. When the nerves are irritated in your lower back, you’ll experience pain in all of these regions. When you’re experiencing pain as a result of irritated nerves in your lower back, you’ll be given the general diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy. This condition is caused by one of four conditions, including disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and degenerative joint disease. All of these conditions lead to the compression and inflammation of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back.
When they’re healthy and strong, the spinal nerves and spinal cord act as a pathway for your body to send energy and signals to various parts of the body. However, when these signals are interrupted by a misalignment of the spinal cord in the spinal canal, you’ll be given a diagnosis of vertebral subluxation. This misalignment ultimately leads to increased wear and tear of the spine. With time, this degradation of the spine results in pain in the back and the lower extremities. This pain can lead to more serious conditions, like diminished functioning of the organ systems in your lower body.
Make your pregnancy easier and more enjoyable with the quality care offered at Scott Family Health. Located in both Fort Collins and Loveland, our care providers specialize in message, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.
To ensure that everyone can access our services, we offer flexible payment options and work with a huge range of insurance carriers. We invite you to explore our new patient resources and then schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. Contact Scott Family Health today to get started!