In Part 1 of this post, pregnancy and pain treatment with opioid-medications. We looked at the surprising rate of opioid prescriptions among pregnant women. Most of the women in the two studies discussed were prescribed these powerful pain-killers for short-term bouts of less than a week. The most common reason cited for prescription in one of the studies was lower back pain; other reasons included headache and abdominal pain.
Musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy is sometimes the result of a spinal abnormality, infection or other serious cause, but, for most women, the causes are biomechanical. As mentioned in Part 1, your posture and body mechanics change as weight increases and center of gravity shifts; joints become susceptible to painful instability as the hormone relaxin loosens them to widen the pelvis in preparation for delivery of the baby.
The following pregnancy pain management methods are not only safe, but aim to address actual structural causes of pain during pregnancy, thereby offering a more stable, long-term solution. They require more time and effort than popping a pill, but come with more promising results and fewer, if any, risks to yourself or your child.
You can perform exercises deemed safe by medical professionals for pregnant women to strengthen muscles in the lower back and pelvis, helping them to cope with the extra stresses they are being subjected to. See Spine-Health’s page on pregnancy exercises at www.spine-health.com. It’s always a good idea to talk with a health professional before beginning a new exercise program. Some women may opt for physical therapy in order to learn more about exercise as well as proper body mechanics and posture.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy may help to keep the spine and sacroiliac joints aligned, thereby relieving pain. While there is a lack of high-quality research available, studies into this form of treatment for relieving pain in pregnant women generally suggest it is a promising method, according to a 2008 systematic review found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Chiropractors implementing a certain type of therapy known as the Webster Technique work to adjust the pelvis in such a way as to foster optimal positioning of the baby for delivery, meaning that chiropractic care may not only relieve pain, but assist in a safe delivery as well.
A pregnancy support belt can help you maintain proper posture and body mechanics by supporting your belly. It can also help stabilize your sacroiliac joints at the top of the buttocks, which may become hypermobile during pregnancy. There are several designs available. Read customer reviews before purchasing.
Muscle tension, particularly in the back, is common in the general population and certainly in pregnant women. From the lower back to the neck, postural changes have likely caused tension throughout the torso. For throbbing aches and soreness, a pregnancy massage may be just the thing to give you pain relief. Massage not only manually loosens muscles, but encourages the release of endorphins as well; these act in a similar manner as opioids within the body, but are natural and safe.
Relieving pregnancy back pain might not be a quick fix. Finding solutions that are cause-oriented will help you protect your child and provide a long-term solution.