Backache and pregnancy? Deadly combination. Upper back pain is common, at least 50% of pregnant women experience it, and it can prove very uncomfortable, not to mention altogether deadly. It is only natural that in such a situation, you want to know how to get rid of it.
First of all, you should know that it may occur at any point during pregnancy and is not just a symptom of impending labor. You can contact your doctor if the pain persists for more than two weeks, along with cramps. The important thing here is to know why this happens and, when it does, how you can relieve it.
When Does Upper Pain Start In Pregnancy?
It can happen at any moment. You may be sitting down and having a snack, and the pain creeps in. So basically, it can happen at any time for no reason at all. You will notice the pain more during the initial stages of pregnancy or by the third trimester when the body weight puts a burden on the back.
Doctors consider emotional stress and a high increase in hormonal levels as the two culprits behind back pain during pregnancy. Moreover, if the pain occurs during the second and third trimesters, you can blame breast over-growth and change in the center of gravity of the body for the ache.
There are multiple other causes for upper back pain as the pregnancy progresses.
Cause Of Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?
As mentioned earlier, upper back pain can occur at any moment and may be a result of a variety of reasons, such as:
Starting with hormonal changes, prolonged periods of pain are caused by hormones, particularly a hormone called relaxin. While the duty of relaxin, as the name indicates, is to relax the joints and ligaments in your pelvis for childbirth, its side effect is putting strain on the spine.
So naturally, when the spinal column feels the strain and muscle stretching, you feel back pain.
Center of Gravity
The next cause, as mentioned earlier, is the change in the center of gravity, Yes, I know it does sound very technical, but it happens. The thing is, as your uterus expands, your muscles get stretched to a higher capacity causing you back pain. While upper back pain is a result of strain on the spine due to stretching of neck and shoulder muscles, the gravity of the body shifts to the front.
As a result, the back muscles feel this shift, and as a reaction, you feel pain in your upper body. It sounds complicated, but it is all everyday science that makes a bit of change in your balance to cause you pain.
As common as it sounds, incorrect posture is a leading cause of back pain, be it during pregnancy or not. In pregnancy, maintaining the right posture becomes more important as the new mama gains weight, putting pressure on the spine.
Wearing heels and standing upright becomes a real problem with all that weight. When you can’t stand upright, there is nothing else but to expect backache.
Changes in Uterus
The uterus is the central part of your pregnancy, and changes in its size and composition determine what you will undergo. The uterus muscles stretch as the baby grows. This, like an increase in weight, puts pressure on the spine, making your back pain more pronounced.
This additional weight on the spine also makes the blood vessels and nerve endings present in the spinal column feel unnecessary pressure during the third trimester. Therefore, you feel pain during that time when you lay on your back.
Other than these causes, medical history and genetics also play a part in how your upper body will be affected during your pregnancy. Diseases like symphysopathy are also to be blamed for this. Moreover, if you have had an injury before your pregnancy and experience frequent episodes of pain, it is natural that the pain will keep resurfacing even during pregnancy.
What Causes Upper Back Pain Between Shoulder Blades?
Upper back pain between the shoulder blades is related to all the causes of back pain as mentioned before. Generally, it is a result of stretching of back and neck muscles and added pressure on your spinal column due to all the weight that you are gaining.
Other than pregnancy, surgery, genetic disorders, medical history, and poor diet all can contribute to the damage of your shoulder blades, causing recurring pain for an extended period. The only way to avoid this issue is to ensure you maintain a healthy balanced diet and exercise enough so that when you are pregnant, you can cope with this pain or not experience it at all.
Do Breast Changes During Pregnancy Cause Upper Back Pain?
The entire body undergoes massive changes as the pregnancy progresses, and everything is connected. Therefore, as the breast tissue increases the breast size, it does impact your upper back pain. But how is that possible?
Research shows that an increase in breast size impacts the thoracic spine and also increases the amount of stress on the shoulders and neck. This results in upper back pain and also pain in the spinal region containing the neck and shoulder blades. Fortunately, you can relieve this pain if you are careful.
How Did I Relieve Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?
You can, of course, always contact your doctor. Persistent pain can make life really tough, especially when you aren’t allowed to take any muscle relaxants. During such a time, your doctor will advise you on what is best to relieve your pain.
Other than this, there are some simple ways that you can indulge in to make the pain go away or at least bearable. Try these hacks.
You need a calcium-rich diet to get over bone and muscle pains. Having a high calcium intake can help maintain the increasing body weight. You must include dairy products in your diet in addition to meat, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
There are multiple supplements and multivitamins for pregnant women too, but take those only after your doctor recommends them, as you may be allergic to an ingredient, or taking them in excess can prove harmful to you and your baby.
Never ignore the importance of the right posture. Poor posture can only worsen the pain. Alleviate the upper body to reduce the load on your spine, and try to walk in this position to avoid any pain. You should always try to keep a posture that puts minimal strain on your spine and back.
You also need to position yourself properly when sleeping. Sleeping on your side can make your pain go away and is better for your heart as well according to research.
Pregnancy is the time to pamper yourself before you are given the lifelong responsibility of raising a human being. Try massage with your partner, be it hot or cold, as both are beneficial in eliminating pain.
If not, your partner opts for a massage therapist who can put you in your comfort zone once again. Massages make your nerve endings and blood vessels release stress. The blood flow improves, and your pain is relieved.
You can avoid pain if you shun wearing heels during your pregnancy. Yes, I understand you want a completely stylish look with your best stilettos, but for the sake of your spinal column, you have to be careful. High heels or such footwear only make your posture hard, which only leads to back and neck pain and puts you in discomfort.
The smart thing is to wear comfortable shoes that may not look as good as heels but keep your body aches at bay.
Exercise is your best friend to eliminate any sort of pain, even if you aren’t pregnant. You must be wondering if exercise is safe for the baby and if your health will be affected by it. Hear it loud and clear, a little exercise in moderation is healthy for your body as well as for your baby. It releases useful hormones and makes your body fit for the later stages of labor.
If you are doubtful about running or any other form of exercise, you can always go for yoga. If you don’t have a medical history and your doctor recommends exercise, yoga is one of your safest options. Yoga not only heals your aching body but also puts your mind at peace. As the emotional stress wears off, you are better able to enjoy your position and feel mentally prepared for the arrival of the baby.
Swimming is also recommended, but don’t do it unless it is part of your everyday routine, even before the baby comes. The same goes for running. You can take up walking as it is very healthy and less taxing on your body.
Other than these practices, you need to stretch and do exercises that help reduce pain early on before it gets too uncomfortable. In addition, avoid lifting heavy objects, as they can bring instant discomfort and pain. Also, lifting heavy objects in early pregnancy can induce a miscarriage, so try to avoid it altogether.
Be careful when bending. Try to bend your knees before bending your body completely. Or better, use other people to pick your stuff up. Just pregnant woman perks!
What is SPD in Pregnancy?
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a pain that occurs during pregnancy in the pelvic area. This is not common in every pregnant woman but does occur in multiple women. The pain attacks the pelvis making joints stiff and unable to move properly. If it occurs in the back, you will experience back pain.
It makes you uncomfortable but is not harmful to the baby. You may experience it when moving. Something as simple as walking can trigger it. There is no specific reason for SPD during pregnancy, and you can relive it easily using your doctor’s advice.
What Is Lightning Crotch Pain?
The lightning crotch pain occurs by the end of your pregnancy. It is one of the late symptoms of pregnancy before a mother goes into labor. As the name indicates, a lightning crotch is a shooting pain in the pelvic area that reaches the vagina and the rectum as well.
Since the pain feels like an electrical shock, it is named after lightning that strikes quickly and sharply. The main reason for this pain is the growing fetus whose weight moves towards the pelvis as labor approaches. This pressure goes on to the nerves causing sudden pain.
Additionally, it is the uterus’ way of preparing the body for labor. The pressure increases on the cervix as the baby’s head pushes downwards. The bladder is also located there, along with numerous nerve endings. The pressure on them causes shooting and unavoidable pain, and this becomes more prominent as labor comes closer.
So if your backache is killing you, you don’t have to tolerate it any longer. Find out the cause and reach out to your doctor ASAP!
If it is a problem with posture or diet, you can easily eliminate it. If the pain is persistent and is occurring as a side effect of pregnancy, then you need to try some home remedies to give yourself some relief.
If it gets out of hand, you can always call your doctor. But remember, you will not have to deal with it all along. Rather it will go away once you have the baby. So on that bright note, let’s wind it up here!