Anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women experience some degree of back pain. Usually occurring during the later stages of pregnancy, persistent back pain can make it difficult to sleep and cause an assortment of other distracting aches and pains. Fortunately, most pregnancy-related back pain can be managed. However, it’s important to know why this type of pain occurs from professional spine surgeons. Los Angeles spine care experts are here to discuss 5 of the main causes.
The average pregnancy weight gain can be anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds. Though necessary for a growing baby, this extra weight can also place extra pressure on the spine.
Pregnancy hormones loosen muscles and joints to prepare the body for the birthing process. This relaxation often extends to the soft tissues that support the lower spine. The hormone relaxin can also affect ligaments in the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.
Natural balance, or center of gravity, slowly changes as a pregnancy advances. As a result, spinal alignment can change and place added stress on the vertebrae and discs.
Proper posture tends to be more difficult to maintain during pregnancy, especially if a woman is shifting to positions that may not be supportive for the spine. Pregnant women should avoid excessive bending or standing for long periods to help counter alignment changes.
The emotional stress that sometimes accompanies pregnancy can result in added muscle tension. As muscles become weaker, physical stress can also naturally develop within the body, especially around the pelvic area.
Women can ease their back pain during pregnancy by wearing supportive shoes, but not entirely flat ones. If they have to do some lifting, they should squat and lift with their legs. Side sleeping tends to be easier on the spine than sleeping on the back, and light exercise can also help strengthen abdominal and back muscles. Getting plenty of rest, elevating the feet, and wearing a maternity support belt can also be helpful. A board-certified back doctor can help find additional solutions to alleviating back pain.
To learn more about back pain during pregnancy and what can be done if the pain continues after the baby is born, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae and his team of professional spinal surgeons specialize in spinal fusion and alternatives to spinal fusion like mobi-c disc replacement. Call our office today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.