8 Sneaky Ways to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain and pregnancy go together like peas and carrots. Combined with other pregnancy woes, it can ruin your sleep, make your third trimester a living hell, and can completely diminish your whole prenatal experience.
If you’ve googled any form of home remedies to relieve back pain during pregnancy, you’ve probably seen the usual suspects: prenatal yoga, corrective posture, hot pads, yada yada. When I was pregnant, I suffered from crippling back pain. Some days it hurt to walk, other days it hurt not to walk. I tried everything and yet I was still in pain.
Are you having the same problem?
It took some time, but eventually I discovered techniques that relieved the pain. If you’re having trouble relieving your back pain and are looking for something new, this post is for you.
I hope these tips help, Mama, so you can get the rest you deserve.
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Before We Begin: A Note on Sciatica
It can be frustrating talking to your midwife or doctor about your back pain (“Oh, every woman has back pain during pregnancy”), but try to be very specific when you discuss your symptoms so he can diagnose you with sciatic nerve pain if necessary. Lower and upper back pain during pregnancy is much different than the pain caused by an irritated sciatic nerve.
Sciatic nerve back pain is relatively easy to spot. The symptoms are pretty specific:
- numbness, especially in your groin
- difficulty walking, using the bathroom (or just moving in general)
- burning or shooting pain
- Pain from the lower back, radiating behind the thigh and down to the knee
While some of the techniques below can be used for sciatica, most are geared toward regular old upper and lower pregnancy back pain. If you think you have sciatica, see a doctor!
With that said, on to how YOU can crush back pain during pregnancy!
Sneaky Tips to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
Have you seen the funny pictures on Pinterest of the women with the tape all over their bellies? This is kinesiology tape and it’s amazing.
The concept of kinesiology tape is similar to a pregnancy belt—it adds support. Unlike pregnancy belts, kinesiology tape relieves back during pregnancy by lifting the skin to promote blood flow and actually removes pressure from your poor pain receptors. I know it sounds kind of wonky, (I mean, how can TAPE, relieve back pain), but studies show that it has dramatic results. Athletes actually use this technique all the time.
The benefit doesn’t stop with relieving back pain either. You can use this technique to relieve swelling, carpal tunnel, and that pesky sciatica pain. Your partner can easily apply the tape, but you have to do it right for it to be effective. If you need help, check out this video tutorial.
Lumbar Support Pillow
I’m sure you’ve already been told to purchase a pregnancy pillow. While I do believe that pregnancy pillows are the best inventions since…well, anything, I believe the unsung hero that no one told me about was a lumbar support pillow.
I honestly can’t believe that people don’t recommend these more! I think we subconsciously limit lumbar support pillows to office spaces. When you’re dealing with back pain during pregnancy, lumbar support pillows become essential for watching TV, eating at the dinner table, or even driving to the supermarket.
Sit on Chairs Backwards
If purchasing a lumbar support pillow isn’t in the budget, you can hack this by sitting on chairs backwards. This is tidbit my yoga instructor taught me that I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet. When you sit backwards, you tend to support your chest on the back of the chair, which straightens your spine. Obviously, this is a short-term solution, but if you’re having an extra-difficult day at the workplace, this can make it more tolerable.
I was told to do pelvic rotations to relieve my back pain, but it wasn’t until I hopped onto an exercise ball that I actually noticed results. This method is my favorite because it serves multiple purposes.
1. It’s excellent preparation for labor—especially if your baby turns out to be sunny-side up.
2. It can encourage your baby to go into the cephalic position (this is something you should absolutely focus on in the second and third trimester—-you do not want to deal with breech pregnancies).
3. It relieved my lower back pain like no other. My hip was severely out of alignment (more on that in a minute), which caused the majority of my pain. This popped it in quite nicely.
This video is more geared toward opening your hips to try to turn a breech baby, but it’s still my favorite pelvic rotation tutorial.
Related Post: 10 Ways to Turn a Breech Baby After 36 Weeks
Get a Hip Adjustment
If you’re struggling with back pain during pregnancy, stop what you’re doing and go see a chiropractor! Yes, hormones soften your round ligament and yes, your uterus adds pressure to your spine, but there could be other factors at play that are causing your pain.
For me, it was a torqued hip (also pelvic torsion or twisted pelvis). If you’ve been in a car accident or play sports, you’re especially susceptible to a torqued hip. My chiropractor did some hardcore palpitations, popped some things back into place, and viola, I was pain-free for at least a couple days. It was the best $50 I have EVER spent.
Seriously, just go in. Usually, they give free consultations and most insurance companies cover at least a portion of the cost as pain management.
Pull Back Your Butt
Are you a sloucher? I sure am. If you are, then this habit will only get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Naturally, one of the first recommendations you doctor will give you to deal with back pain during pregnancy is to correct your posture. But, that’s easier said than done when you have about 20lbs of baby and water pulling you forward!
I tried and failed to correct my posture until I learned this super-simple tip from my prenatal yoga class: pull back your butt. When you’re pregnant, you tend to lean your hips forward. If you don’t believe me, take note of yourself the next time you wash the dishes. Are your hips touching the counter?
Pulling your hips back allows your spine to straighten, relieving some of the pressure from your sacrum. Standing this way takes a lot of cognitive work, but over time it will relieve your lower back pain a ton!
Use Your Partner
Have you watched any labor videos yet? Whew, those are rough. However, they do provide really awesome information, such as this other technique. In many labor videos, they show an exercise where your partner (nurse, doctor, whatever) pushes in and down on your tailbone area. The technique relieves the pressure on your discs, which is also excellent for relieving back pain during pregnancy. If you can get your husband to do this for you, do it. For me, it was provided almost instant relief.
If you’re not familiar with this technique, it’s very easy to learn. Here is a video that explains the gist of it.
Drink Lots of Water
DON’T GLOSS OVER THIS!!
Do I have your attention? I hope so. Your doctor, midwife, husband—everyone—will scream about the importance of hydration during pregnancy. BUT it’s easy to forget about it. Water is the key to a successful pregnancy AND relieving back pain. You can try all the techniques on this post and still feel pain if you fail to drink enough water.
Why? Studies have shown that dehydration causes back pain.The discs in our spine absorb the shock of our every day movements. They are are surrounded by a gel-like membrane that is primarily made of water. When you’re dehydrated, the inner circle of the disc shrinks, resulting in back pain. There are two components to this: drink water and move. When you move, the discs are lubricated, but that only works if you’re hydrated.
Up to 8 in 10 Women Suffer From Back Pain During Pregnancy
…beat the statistic.
Those are the sneaky ways I relieved my back pain during pregnancy. They’re so simple, but oh, so effective. Try not to forget about the traditional methods as well, such as prenatal yoga (this was another big one for me,) using a pregnancy pillow, sleeping on your right side, and mild exercise.
I truly hope these techniques help you relieve your pain. If they do, please share this post on Pinterest or Facebook. Let’s help each other out and stay informed.
Good luck, Mama!
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