How pregnancy can affect back pain

Read all about how pregnancy can be a cause of back pain.

As if they haven’t got enough on their plate, lots of pregnant women and new mums also experience pain in the lower back and hips associated with the sacroiliac joint (where the pelvis meets the spine). Or/and pain in the pubic joint at the front of the pelvis (PSD, often called pubic symphsis disorder).

The onset of this pain is usually towards the end of pregnancy when the hormone relaxin is released into the body to help the ligaments (the tough, flexible tissues that connect your bones) to relax and soften in preparation for childbirth. It all happens for a good reason, as the softened ligaments help make passing your child through your pelvis easier during birth, but there is a downside. Normally when you lie down, stand up or walk your pelvis is held by a combination of muscles and ligaments. If it moves more when the ligaments relax, this can potentially causing irritated joints, soft tissues and pain.

In addition to all this, your growing bump causes an alteration in your centre of gravity, changing your posture and altering your gait, all of which puts more stress on your joints and potentially decreases the stability of your back and hips. Not the best when you have a job to go to, other children to look after and a house to run.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain (SIJ), also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), is experienced by lots of mums-to-be and new mums, so you are not alone and you don’t need to suffer. The good news is that, if you didn’t suffer from back pain before you got pregnant, it is very likely the pain will dissipate over time. But in the meantime, there are things you can do to help.

Your pain can be dealt with in various ways, one of which is to improve the stability of your pelvis with our bac< Sacroiliac Belt (Click here to view). It both supports and compresses the sacroiliac joints to reduce pain in the lower back, buttocks and pubis. In addition to wearing our Sacroiliac Belt, you could also try taking regular exercise, such a swimming, to strengthen your muscles. Exercises for the bottom muscles and pelvic floor muscles especially will help – ask your midwife or GP to recommend some.

It would be also very helpful to improve your posture when sitting, walking and sleeping. Slouching strains your spine so, while it can be difficult with a growing bump at the front, try to be mindful of keeping your back in a neutral alignment. Don’t let your pelvis tip forwards and allow your lower back arch to increase.

When you’re sitting at your desk, have your feet flat on the floor, with the knees at right angles, and your computer keyboard close so you sit with your back straight. Put a rolled up towel or cushion in the small of your back if you feel you’re not sitting straight enough. When you’re sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees to take the stress off your back.

Heat and cold are also great pain relievers. A simple ice massage has been known to alleviate back pain and it is quick and easy to do. Put ice on the affected area of your back to reduce inflammation and so ease discomfort. After two or three days switch to gentle heat, but be careful not to apply heat to your abdomen, a bath or shower will do.

Be careful at all times and do not push through the pain. If it hurts, don’t do it. And if anything worries you, see your GP.