Back pain during pregnancy
Back pain is a kind of pain or stiffness that can be felt along the spine, from the neck base to the coccyx. The presence of spinal or strained tissue (strain), is the most common cause of complaints of back pain. This type of pain usually occurs when a person lifts a heavy object or exercises excessively.
It usually results from problems in the vertebrae with surrounding tissue, such as muscles, blood vessels, or nerves. Also, back pain can appear as a symptom of disorders of other organs around the spine, such as the kidneys. Because the causes of back pain are very diverse, further diagnosis is needed to find out the exact cause.
Sometimes back pain occurs when you wake up in the morning, for no apparent reason. Apart from the presence of spinal parts that are attracted or dislocated, back pain can also occur due to:
- Injury to the spinal pad. Spinal pads are cartilage which limits each vertebra. These pads can get changes in position, swelling, or damage that finally cause the spinal cord to become pinched and cause pain.
- The abnormalities of the spinal structure. The vertebrae can experience structural abnormalities that can cause back pain. There are several examples of this case such as scoliosis and narrowing of the spinal cord (spinal stenosis).
- Spinal thinning due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can cause the vertebrae to become thinner and brittle so that it can cause fractures. These fractures eventually can cause back pain.
Back pain can also be caused by more serious conditions or diseases. However, these diseases are less common than back pain due to sprains or spinal structure problems. Examples of these diseases include:
- Spinal infections. Spinal infections can occur due to bacteria or fungi.
- Tumor. Tumors or cancers that appear in the spine, both benign and malignant, can cause back pain.
- Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis is a structural disorder caused by a fracture or crack in one of the vertebrae. While spondylolisthesis is a condition when the position of the vertebrae shifts, especially due to spondylolysis. Both of these disorders can cause back pain, especially in athletes.
- Cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome is a disorder that occurs as a result of suppression of the spinal cord nerve at the tailbone. Besides causing back pain, this condition can also cause the problem of urination or bowel movements even paralysis.
Risk Factors for Back Pain
Regarding its effects toward the body, the following conditions have a risk for causing back pain, they are:
- Obesity. Excess weight makes the spine work harder to support the body.
- The fetus’ s growth will increase the burden of a pregnant woman’s spine. This is different from normal women.
- Sitting position continuously in a long period, for example when you are working.
- Psychological disorders, such as stress or depression.
- Smoking. This bad habit can cause damage to body tissues.
- Take drugs in the long term that can make bones brittle, such as corticosteroids.
Almost everyone has experienced back pain. This condition is often caused by daily habits that make the muscles or joints tense and stressful. If you often feel back pain, you should avoid some habits, such as sitting bent, eating carelessly, lazy to move and rarely exercise, smoking habits, often lifting or carrying heavy items, even wearing high heels.
Back pain during pregnancy
Pain and back pain has been a common problem in pregnant women. Increasing body weight and increasing breast size make it easy to get back aches and pains. Back pain during pregnancy can be a good sign, namely that the fetus is growing. As the fetus grows, the greater the burden on the back. Generally, pregnant women in the second trimester of pregnancy often have the problem of back pain. Back pain during pregnancy usually occurs when the pelvis meets the spine, which is at the sacroiliac joint. This complaint is usually not a danger sign, but some serious cases are indicated by symptoms of back pain. The most important thing is to always communicate complaints with the obstetrician.
Some experts explain that there are two types of lower back pain during pregnancy; lumbar pain that occurs in the lumbar area of the vertebrae at the lower back, and posterior pelvic pain that is felt in the back of the pelvis. Some pregnant women experience symptoms for both types of back pain.
Lumbar pain is similar to the lower back pain that you may have before pregnancy. You will feel the pain around the spine. You can also feel the pain that spreads to your feet. Sitting or standing for long periods and lifting weights usually makes the pain worse and tends to increase at night. More pregnant women experience posterior pelvic pain, which is felt lower than lumbar pain. This pain usually goes deep into the buttocks, on one or both sides, or behind the thigh. This condition can be triggered by various activities such as walking, climbing stairs, standing from a low seat, shifting from a bed, or lifting weights.
Your position when sitting in a chair or leaning on a desk while working can make posterior pelvic pain worse. Pregnant women who experience posterior pelvic pain may also feel pain in the area of the lumbar region. You are more having a risk of experiencing lower back pain if you have experienced this before, either before becoming pregnant or during your previous pregnancy. You are also at high risk of experiencing it if you often sit for a long time. Having twins or more also increases the risk of experiencing back pain. Obesity can be a factor in lower back pain during pregnancy, however, there are no valid studies on this matter.
Here are some ways that pregnant women can do to reduce back pain problems when pregnant:
- Compress your back
Compress your back using ice cubes or cold water coated with a towel for 20 minutes several times a day.
- Massage your back
- Pay attention toward the posture when sitting. Relaxing throughout the day will make more pressure on your spine. You should always position your back. Use the footrests to lift the legs slightly and do not cross the legs resulting in the pelvis tilting and worsening the tension of the back muscles.
- Take a break
Avoid standing too long, balancing with walking or standing and stretching at least once an hour.
- Be careful when lifting the items. Do it slowly starting with the new squat to stand instead of lifting directly by bending
- Wear the right shoes or footwear
You should wear comfortable shoes or flat shoes because wearing high heels when on the move will make your back hurt.
- Do not reach for books or objects on high shelves or cabinets. Ask for others help if you can’t reach nearby objects.
- Bathe with warm water
Bathing with warm water can relax your back muscles