Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints of pregnant women (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306025/).
The majority of women who come to see me for treatment whether this be massage, kinesiology taping or for manual therapy have experienced some form of back pain in pregnancy.
Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the body, shifts your centre of gravity, impacts your posture when sitting and standing and can cause the spine a fair bit of stress leaving it vulnerable to pain if not looked after properly.
With this in mind I wanted to share three simple tips that you can implement in your home and work environment to help avoid or worsening back pain during your pregnancy.
- Use good sitting posture.
When seated you should be sitting up tall, imagine a piece of string coming out of the top of your head and attaching to the ceiling, this should help you to lengthen your spine. Your ears should be over your shoulders, your shoulders should be over your hips. Your hips should be at a 90 degree angle (or slightly higher) to your knees and then knees should be over the centre of your ankles and finally feet should be flat on the floor.
If your feet do not reach the floor find a step/big book etc to place your feet on to get you into this optimum position.
When you are at home chilling in front of the TV watching Love Island where do you sit? Sofa?! Thought so… I know its super comfy BUT the majority of them don’t support our back at the best of times let alone when pregnant so get off of the sofa, get onto that birthing ball and use your correct sitting posture!
As an added bonus birthing balls are great for improving your balance, core stability and getting baby into a better position, if you haven’t got one google the size you will need as if it is not correct for your height it will not be any good for helping you to sit correctly.
- Support your lower back
Use a towel rolled up and placed into your lower back to offer comfort and support. You could also use a pillow/cushion or if you want to spend some money you can buy yourself a lumbar roll/support easily off of the internet!
You can use this when at home, at work or even when you are driving to ensure you are supporting your lower back.
It will also act as a reminder when you feel the support in your back to use proper sitting position (see above!!!)
- Move regularly
Many office workers are guilty of sitting at their desks for too long. When pregnant it is even more important to get up and move regularly, take a walk to the toilet (let’s face it you probably need to pee all of the time anyway!) to the photocopier, along the corridor, to the kitchen…anywhere but just get up and move.
You should not be sitting for longer than 20 minutes (30 minutes maximum!) as it becomes harder to maintain proper sitting position for any longer than this which then in turn places stress on your spine and joints meaning back pain is being aggravated again. If you are worried about what your colleagues might think about your regular wandering around the office, let them know that it’s a good way to keep back pain at bay and I’m sure they would rather you were there wandering regularly than at home with back pain making you unable to come into work?! I thought so!
So put into practice these 3 super simple steps and look after your back in pregnancy. Please remember pregnancy doesn’t have to be painful, when you feel pain seek help.
Speak to your midwife about any symptoms you may be experiencing and seek advice on suitable treatments. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable as it will be much harder to improve further down the line.
Contact Hayley to see how she can help you today at: firstname.lastname@example.org