5 Tips to Help Reduce Low Back Pain During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a whirlwind full of hormonal, biomechanical, neurological and musculoskeletal changes which can feel less than ideal…
One of the most common results of those changes is low back pain.
This comes at no surprise considering that as a child is growing and developing inside the womb, you start to carry that added weight in front of you and this causes extra stress on your lower back as your spinal structure wanders away from ideal alignment.
With that being said, here are 5 tips to help reduce discomfort during pregnancy so that you can start to focus more on how incredible your body is that created your baby and doing everything possible to nurture their development:
1. Light to Moderate Exercise
Many expecting believe that breaking a sweat can be harmful for their expecting child.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
More research than ever before is showing that light to moderate exercise during pregnancy is extremely beneficial.
Swimming is a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; it is low impact, strengthens the heart and lungs, conditions muscles, and puts less stress on the joints of your spine.
Strengthening the muscles that support the spine allows them to work more efficiently and puts less compression and strain on the spinal discs, ligaments, tendons and joints which are common sources of discomfort when they are not functioning properly and/or overloaded.
Prefer to watch a video? Watch Dr. Chris explain it all here!
2. Deep Breathing
What the heck does breathing have to do with pain? Well, it turns out, quite a bit!
Most people breathe up and in using their torso and muscles surrounding the rib cage, rather than using their diaphragm, which is a big muscle below the lungs.
When you don’t use your diaphragm to breathe, your body naturally adopts a sympathetic dominant state of physiology.
When you are in this state, your body is prone to create more inflammation which can result in more discomfort. Whereas, when you breathe through your diaphragm, this has a positive effect on heart rate variability. As a result, your body moves away from sympathetic dominance towards parasympathetic dominance.
Your parasympathetic nerve system is responsible for growth, repair and relaxation associated with healing. In addition, this muscle attaches to your spinal bones in your lower back and when they work efficiently, it creates less demand for the joints, hips and soft tissues in the lower back to counteract the weight of the growing baby.
So...be sure to get your deep breathing on!
3. Focus on Proper Posture
Sit up straight!
You’ve probably been told that a time or two by your parents growing up, and it can be annoying.
However, it is abundantly clear that posture has a substantial impact on overall health. Nobel Laureate, Dr. Hans Selye M.D. was admitted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for coining the stress theory of disease.
His words were, “Postural distortions are the beginning of the disease process.” There is some leeway considering that you have a baby developing inside you, but the overarching theme is still imperative.
Making a consistent daily effort to introduce small improvements to your posture will go a long way in regards to reducing pain and improving your quality of life.
4. Stable Shoes
We always want to look our best, and yes, many women have an obsession with shoes! Are you one of them?
High heels look phenomenal…..but your spine is generally not a huge fan of them. As you progress through pregnancy, your hips rock forward and you have a more forward curve in your lower back as the baby continues to grow. This alone can lead to issues, but if you add in high heels, this causes more forward curve in your lower back and is like tossing kerosene on a fire.
Not to mention, the likelihood of falling in high heels as opposed to regular shoes is much higher because there is little support and stability. So...don’t wear high heels!....at least not during pregnancy.
Instead, get outside and walk in the grass barefooted to get connected to earth and when you do wear shoes make sure you’re wearing something that gives support to the arch of your foot but isn’t too stiff to the point that it doesn’t provide any freedom for your feet.
5. Sleep on Your Side
When it comes to everyday life, we’ve all been told to sleep one way or another and to be honest…..everyone’s body is different so it stands to reason that we shouldn’t ALL sleep in the SAME position ALL night.
In general, sleeping on your back with an ergonomic pillow would make sense to avoid strain and stress on your neck. However, when you have a growing baby inside you, it seems reasonable to make every effort to avoid any positions which might be strenuous or harmful for you and the baby while sleeping; when you sleep on your back, the weight of the baby can put pressure on major blood vessels going back to the heart and lead to swelling of the legs which would be a good thing to avoid.
Sleeping on your stomach puts a lot of pressure and strain on the baby for obvious reasons. Therefore, sleeping on your side seems to be the best option, but is it okay to sleep on both sides? When it comes to sleeping positions, it’s best to speak in terms of ideal position rather than the best position, because let's face it, most people toss and turn throughout the night.
By sleeping on your left side, this ensures that you’re not laying on the baby, and not putting any added pressure on the major vessels that bring blood to and from the heart; this is the most ideal sleeping position during the later stages of pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, you live your life through your nerve system and the development of your baby in the womb is orchestrated by your nerve system.
Interference to the proper functioning of the nerve system from the spine is detrimental to spinal structure, obstructs healing, growth, repair and limits your ability to adapt to stressors which can be detrimental to you and your baby.
Consider having your spine carefully analyzed by a NeuroStructural Chiropractor that focuses on the restoration of the function of the nerve system by specifically adjusting the spine when necessary.
Feel free to give us a call at 925-255-5805 to see how we can help you or help you find someone near you if you are from out of town. Our office is located in Pleasanton, CA, and we serve the east bay / tri-county area and beyond
Are you looking to be as stress resilient as possible and have the best quality pregnancy and labor?
Let us help you!