Pregnant Severe Lower Back Pain

Call your doctor if you feel tingling, numbness, or a sharp, shooting pain in your legs, feet, or buttocks to make sure there isn’t anything more serious going on. Numbness may be caused by compression of the sciatic nerve or other nerves that run from your spine to your lower body and pelvic region, even though the cause is typically not a more concerning condition, such as preterm labor.

Before taking any prescription or OTC medication, pregnant women should always seek medical advice. Women who are considering becoming pregnant and taking painkillers should speak with their healthcare providers about the risks and advantages of taking these medications. When prescribing painkillers to patients who are pregnant, healthcare professionals should continue to abide by the instructions on the drug labels. © 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not meant to replace seeking professional medical advice. Always follow your healthcare professionals instructions.

Back pain can occasionally be a sign of a more serious problem. Preterm labor is one of the most concerning causes of back pain in pregnancy. Women should be on the lookout for new, cyclical pain, which could be a sign of uterine contractions, as well as any changes in vaginal discharge or bleeding that might point to a placental problem or an early rupture of the waters.

Watch your posture when you are sitting. Your spine is most likely to be harmed by sitting in a chair all day. Make sure the chairs you use the most at home and at work are supportive, ideally with a straight back, arms, and a firm cushion. Don’t cross your legs; instead, use a footrest to elevate your feet just a little. Your pelvis may tilt forward as a result, aggravating your strained back muscles.

Take breaks. Walk or stand and stretch at least once an hour. Sitting too long can make your back hurt even more. Try not to stand too long either. Try to put one foot on a low stool if you have to stand all day at work to relieve some of the pressure on your lower back.

Treatments for Back Pain in Pregnancy

More good news: Unless you had chronic back pain prior to becoming pregnant, your pain should gradually subside before giving birth.

There are numerous things you can do in the interim to alleviate low back pain, treat it, or make it less frequent and severe:

  • Exercise. Regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility. That can ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming, and stationary cycling. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises to strengthen your back and abdomen.
  • Heat and cold. Applying heat and cold to your back may help. If your health care provider agrees, start by putting cold compresses (such as a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. After two or three days, switch to heat — put a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful area. Be careful not to apply heat to your abdomen during pregnancy.
  • Improve your posture. Slouching strains your spine. So using proper posture when working, sitting, or sleeping is a good move. For example, sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees will take stress off your back. When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support; rest your feet on a stack of books or stool and sit up straight, with your shoulders back. When standing, pull your hips forward and your shoulders back. You may tend to lean back to compensate for your growing belly. Wearing a support belt may also help.
  • Stretch regularly. Look up the “backward stretch,” the “low back stretch,” and the “standing pelvic tilt.” These strengthen your back and pelvic muscles.
  • Counseling. If back pain is related to stress, talking to a trusted friend or counselor may be helpful.
  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted into your skin at certain locations. Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving low back pain during pregnancy. Check with your health care provider if youre interested in trying it.
  • Chiropractic. When performed correctly, chiropractic manipulation of the spine can be safe during pregnancy, but consult with your doctor before seeking chiropractic care.
  • More tips:

  • If you need to pick something up from the ground, use your legs to squat rather than bend over.
  • Dont wear high-heeled shoes. Choose low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Remember, as hormones loosen joints, you may need to buy a larger shoe size.
  • Dont sleep on your back.
  • Consult your doctor if your back pain doesn’t go away to find out what else you can do. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking pain medications. Most pregnant women can safely consume acetaminophen (Tylenol) It is not recommended to take aspirin or other NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or naproxen sodium. Your doctor may occasionally suggest additional painkillers or muscle relaxants that are safe to take while pregnant.

    Include physical activity in your daily routine

    Regular exercise can strengthen your back and possibly ease back pain during pregnancy. Try gentle exercises like walking or water exercise with the approval of your healthcare providers. A physical therapist can also demonstrate stretches and workout routines that may be beneficial.

    You might also stretch your lower back. Your head should be in line with your back as you recline on your hands and knees. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold for a few seconds, then release while maintaining as flat a back as you can. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions. Ask your health care provider about other stretching exercises, too.

    According to some studies, acupuncture may help with back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment might provide comfort for some women as well. However, further research is needed. Discuss any potential complementary therapies you’re considering with your healthcare provider. Make sure to disclose your pregnancy to the chiropractor or acupuncturist.

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