Brett Murdock, DC, Murdock Family Chiropractic
For many women, back and hip pain are an inevitable part of pregnancy. While it is common, it doesn’t mean you always have to deal with it for nine months. As a family care chiropractor, I deal with these concerns from pregnant patients daily. Below are a few tips that you can use to make your pregnancy a little easier.
Staying active is possibly the single best thing that you can do during your pregnancy to prevent and eliminate lower back pain. Ideally, you should start before you conceive. Start off by walking five to 10 minutes per day to keep the joints in your lower back and pelvis moving and your muscles strong. Think about your delivery as an athletic event that you need to train for, concentrating on the muscles that you will be using during labor. Do simple exercises to strengthen your core and pelvic floor muscles without pushing yourself too hard.
Muscle spasms are one major cause of lower back pain. This can be avoided by adequately stretching and strengthening the muscles that support your lower back, hips, and pelvis. Some of the main culprits that contribute to back pain are the piriformis, psoas, hip flexors, and abdominal muscles. Find some good stretches that target these areas and do them at least once a day.
By the end of the first trimester, the ligaments that support your pelvis will start to become loose, thanks to your body’s increase of the hormone relaxing. This can lead to instability in the pelvic joints, which is a common cause of back and hip pain. A chiropractor with experience in prenatal care can identify areas in your pelvis that have shifted and correct them with gentle chiropractic techniques. Maintaining balance in your pelvis is crucial to a pain-free pregnancy.
We spend nearly one-third of our day sleeping, so it’s important to make sure your sleep position isn’t contributing to your back pain. While pregnant, I recommend sleeping on your side with a small pillow between your knees. This will keep your hips in a neutral position and reduce strain on your pelvis while you sleep.
As your baby begins to grow, the added weight will shift your center of gravity forward. As this happens, our instinct is to lean back, which can put extra strain on your lower back. When you feel this begin to happen, monitor your posture to ensure that you are sitting or standing tall and upright, and that your shoulders are pulled back.
While most back pain is easily managed, it’s always best to be on the safe side, especially when pregnant. If you have pain during your pregnancy, always consult your doctor first.