Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women. For others it’s a time that is exciting, but it also means that they may get “pregnancy back pain.” The type of pregnancy back pain can vary from person to person. The most common form is lower back pain. The next most common is upper or mid-back pain between the shoulder blades. Many women assume that it is something to be expected and that everyone has back pain with pregnancy. While back pain is common with pregnancy (due to the increased weight that is being carried) it’s not normal for it to be severe, crippling, or for it to stick around once birth has been given.
So what can be considered “normal” back pain during and after pregnancy?
Depending on your weight when you became pregnant, and how much weight you gain during pregnancy, back pain can vary. The more you gain, the more back pain or discomfort you can expect. What’s not normal, is back pain that severely affects your ability to function. Sometimes this is also affected by what your physical condition was before getting pregnant. Typically the stronger you are, the less you will be affected. However, if you were already having back pain before getting pregnant, it’s likely that this will worsen. This does not mean that you can’t make it better – even while you’re still pregnant!
The trap that many women fall into is just waiting because “after the pregnancy, the back pain should go away.” This is what they’ve been told by friends, family members, doctors, and themselves. They ignore the little voice inside that asks, “but what if it doesn’t go away?” Often, what happens after childbirth, if it’s brought up the answer is often the same “it should go away soon.”
When it doesn’t, the only choice is to take matters into their own hands. Things that are commonly tried are: going back to the gym for core exercises, yoga, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and using pain medicine as a last resort. Many times medicine isn’t even an option because mothers worry about taking medication while breastfeeding. Have you fallen into the waiting trap and want to know what can be done? We offer 5 free “Discovery Sessions” each month, where you can find out what can be done about your situation. Just click the button below to fill out a form and see if there are any left this month!
So what can be done to fix pregnancy back pain?
Lots! For starters, different things can contribute to pregnancy back pain. When you are pregnant, your body releases hormones, these hormones cause your ligaments to get looser. The ligaments are the things that hold your bones together. They get looser so that your pelvis can widen for childbirth. The problem arises when the muscles around your bones don’t support the bones and make up for the looseness of the ligaments. This can cause a few different things to happen.
The SI Joint is where your sacrum (tailbone) and pelvis meet at the back. In the picture below, the blue pin on the left is over the SI Joint, and the blue pin on the right is over a ligament.
This joint typically has a few degrees of movement, but it can become stuck in a position that it’s not supposed to be in. This can cause pinpoint pain in the low back on one or both sides. It can also cause weakness in the spinal muscles, and pelvic floor muscles. A misalignment like this can completely disrupt the stability of your core muscles, and no amount of core work without correcting this will fix the issue. Core work will help with the pain but it may feel like there’s something that’s just always off.
At this point – it’s important to let you know that this should not constantly need to be “put back into place.” With the right technique and the correct exercises afterwards, your SI-Joint should stay where it belongs with minimal adjustments.
Lower Back Pain
Sometimes pregnancy back pain is just like a band across the lower portion of your back. This is often due to compression in the joints between each vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine). This can be due to leaning back a lot if you had a heavy pregnancy. After childbirth, sometimes you find yourself still leaning back and continuing to cause compression at these joints. On top of that, some of the small muscles in your back may have stopped working well because when you lean back, they don’t have to work very hard.
With this type of pregnancy back pain, the goal is to restore the mobility between the joints, get the muscles working well again, and strengthen you back into a good posture.
Upper or Mid Back Pain
This type of pregnancy back pain can be during your pregnancy, but sometimes comes on afterwards. It sits right between the shoulder blades and can make it nearly impossible to sit comfortably unless you’re lying back. This is often linked to the way feeding is taking place. A new baby is essentially a weight that you have to get used to carrying around. The way that most women accomplish this heavy task is by leaning and/or twisting instead of using their muscles. It’s just easier to do! But after a while it can catch up to you because that little weight you’re carrying around with bad form adds up over time.
Often mid to upper back pain after pregnancy can be fixed simply by improving your baby carrying form. “Set your shoulders back” and “stand up straight!” But before we start sounding like your own mother…For those cases where that’s not enough – or you struggle to do so, it may even be due to a misalignment in your SI-Joint, which we covered earlier.
Can I Get Rid Of Pregnancy Back Pain Completely?
A resounding YES! You can! Just follow these steps.
Step 1: Acknowledge that it’s not something you just “have to accept.”
Step 2: Get help from an expert – yes, that’s where we come in! Our experts deal with cases of this very issue on a daily basis and we have amazing results. We’re able to restore moms back to their strong, healthy, pain-free selves and help get your spunk back.
Step 3: As you’re feeling stronger and the pain is gone, we’ll help you transition back into an active lifestyle, whatever that means to you. If you like hiking, jogging, going to the gym, yoga, whatever it is you love, you’ll have a clear path to get there.
If you’re ready to get back to a life without pregnancy back pain, and you want to speak with our team about our cost and availability, just click the button below, or call us at 480-482-0651.