It is no secret that pregnancy takes quite the toll on your body. It is normal for expecting mothers to experience musculoskeletal aches and pains, and one of the most commonly reported areas of discomfort is the back. In fact, most expecting mothers experience back pain, usually during the second half of their pregnancy. Fortunately, physical therapy treatments can help relieve your undesirable back pain so you can get back to comfortably doing what matters most – preparing for your new bundle of joy.
Why do you experience back pain during pregnancy?
The short answer is this: you’re growing a baby! Most expecting mothers report their back pain occurring at the “sacroiliac joint,” which is the area where your pelvis meets your spine. This happens due to a combination of several factors, including:
- Increased weight. Women typically gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. This puts extra stress on the spine, since it is responsible for supporting your weight. The growing baby in your uterus also puts extra pressure on the nerves and blood vessels surrounding your back and pelvis, which can also attribute to your back pain.
- Separation of muscles. As your uterus continues to expand throughout your pregnancy, stress is put on your “rectal abdominis” muscles. These muscles run parallel to one another, from the rib cage to the pubic bone. With continued expansion of the uterus, it is possible for these muscles to separate along the center seam, in a condition known as “diastasis recti.” This may cause or further aggravate your back pain.
- Changes in posture. When you’re pregnant, your center of gravity changes. To compensate for this, most women will adjust their posture and the way they move, sometimes without even realizing they are doing so. Postural changes may cause a strain in the back, leading to discomfort.
- Changes in hormones. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone known as “relaxin.” This increases joint laxity and – much like its name infers – allows the ligaments and joints in the pelvic area to relax. This is your body’s natural way of preparing for vaginal birth; however, the relaxin hormone can also cause ligaments in the spine to loosen. When this happens, instability and pain can ensue.
How can you find relief?
At Integrated Physical Therapy, we offer prenatal and perinatal physical therapy treatments for pregnancy-related pain relief. At your initial appointment, you will be greeted by one of our experienced and dedicated physical therapists who will perform a physical evaluation in order to assess the nature of your symptoms. Your medical history and any health risks will also be discussed and taken into account prior to creating a treatment plan. After your evaluation, your physical therapist will put together an individualized treatment plan for you, aimed at providing relief for your back pain and allowing for a smoother pregnancy.
Treatment plans for prenatal and perinatal care related to back pain typically involve gentle therapeutic exercises, stretches, and manual therapy. These are all done in order to relieve pain, strengthen your core muscles, and improve posture. Your physical therapist may also suggest additional methods and modalities, such as massage or ice and heat therapies, in order to provide additional relief and optimum function as deemed necessary.
For specific conditions, such as cases regarding diastasis recti, condition-specific treatments will be designed to correct the symptoms. Diastasis recti can interfere with the strengthening of the abdomen muscles and cause the belly to “pooch.” Our highly-trained physical therapists use the latest evidence-based clinical knowledge in the field to identify and treat this condition, based on its severity and the personal needs of the patient.
In addition to your back pain, our services can help provide relief for a large number of pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing, including:
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain during exercise.
- Vulvovaginal pain.
- Tailbone pain.
- Neck pain.
- Painful, numb, or weak hands.
Contact us today:
Integrated Physical Therapy can help expecting mothers find relief from prenatal pains as their bodies experience the effects of pregnancy. Our physical therapists will also help in addressing any problems or questions that may arise during this time.
You don’t need to suffer before your delivery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and we’ll create a plan to help you along your pregnancy. By including physical therapy in your prenatal care, you’ll be able to relieve your pain and better prepare yourself for one of the biggest challenges in a woman’s life: delivering and caring for a baby.