Pregnancy hormones can soften ligaments and allow the joints of the pelvis to loosen. Surrounding muscles of the low back and hips work harder to protect loosening joints and become overworked and painful. Poor body mechanics and poor rest positions make the condition worse.
As a general rule, if the pain is affecting your daily activities, you should seek the help of a physical therapist. 50% of all pregnant women complain of back pain, usually beginning during the second trimester.
- I rate my back pain to be mild and easily relieved.
- I have no difficulty sleeping because of back pain.
- I have no difficulty standing, sitting, or driving because of back pain.
- My work and/or home activities remain comfortable and easy to do.
- These words do not describe my pain: “a catch in my back”, like needles, stabbing, burning. The pain is much more mild.
Hilary Garrett, MSPT and Diana Spring, DPT specialize in the treatment of pregnancy related pain. If you answered “true” to the above statements, you may consider joining a pregnancy exercise class such as aquatic exercise or prenatal yoga.
- For sharp/acute pain use cold compresses.
- For achy/muscle pain use warm compresses.
- Have a spouse or friend give you a massage.
- Sit with a pillow to support your low back, don’t slouch, avoid the couch.
- Sleep with a pillow(s) between your knees and ankles.
- Move through the day as if you were wearing a pencil slim skirt. This keeps your pelvis even.
Benefits if a specially trained physical therapist
Many pregnant women can benefit from the individual attention of a specially trained physical therapist. Hilary Garrett MS PT or Diana Spring DPT will begin by determining the cause of the pain and offer the following treatments:
- Education about what is causing your pain and how you can help yourself.
- Gentle movements to correct the uneven pelvis.
- Massage and myofascial release to relieve tension in overworked muscles.
- An exercise program specially designed to suit your needs.
- Neck and upper back pain
- Rib pain
- Tailbone pain
- Groin pain
- Hip pain
- Pelvic floor pain (pain around the vaginal area)
- “Sciatica” – shooting leg/buttock pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – tingling of the wrist and fingers