Physical Therapy For Low Back Pain During Pregnancy
Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, and physical therapy can help alleviate it and prevent recurring episodes. This therapy may be especially beneficial for pregnant women with chronic lower back pain.
Most pregnant women will experience some degree of back pain during their pregnancy, typically worse in the later months. Fortunately, for most women this discomfort will gradually subside as they gain weight and prepare for labor and delivery.
Pregnant women experience the pelvis expanding and abdomen expanding, placing additional strain on their low back and hip joints. Coupled with changes to posture, these changes may cause back pain for the mother-to-be.
Estimates suggest that about 50% of pregnant women will experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy or shortly after delivery.
Pregnant women often experience back pain for various reasons. Most often, an increase in weight puts extra strain on the spine bones and muscles, leading to irritation of spinal nerves or sciatica (a condition which occurs when a nerve in the lower back or buttocks becomes pinched).
Treatment options may include rest, limiting strain and high impact activities, performing stretching exercises and strengthening activities to build the strength of core muscles in the pelvis, hips, and lower back. If these don’t help, your doctor can suggest safe exercises as well as physical therapist assistance with stretching and strengthening techniques.
Your physical therapist (PT) can instruct you on proper back-strengthening and bending exercises that you can do at home safely and effectively. It’s essential that you adhere strictly to their instructions in order to reap the full benefits of your treatment plan.
If your back pain is getting worse or you’re finding it difficult to carry out daily activities due to it, speak to an obstetrician. She can assess the situation and refer you to a specialist if needed.
Acupuncture has become a widely-used alternative treatment for back pain during pregnancy, and studies have even demonstrated it to be more effective than physical therapy alone in many cases. When choosing an acupuncturist, make sure they are experienced in prenatal acupuncture and know where to avoid the spine, abdomen, and pelvis area.
Massage is a safe, gentle way to reduce pain and increase mobility in the pelvis and lower back. Massage helps relax muscle tissues while improving circulation.
Heat and ice treatments are another non-invasive solution to lower back pain during pregnancy. These simple yet safe solutions can be used quickly to provide relief. Apply ice directly onto the painful area for 20 minutes several times a day, or use a heating pad or hot water bottle instead.
Stress reduction techniques can help alleviate emotional strain that may cause muscle tension and back pain. You might try meditation or join a yoga class for stress relief.
If these methods don’t relieve your back pain, a physical therapist can create an individual program tailored to address the specific requirements of you and your baby.