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Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

Almost as certain as the sun rising in the morning, is the onset of low back pain during pregnancy. As weight is gained during pregnancy, it is unequally distributed. Our bellies get bigger and the good posture that our Mothers taught us starts to go by the wayside. When standing, we stoop forward. When sitting, we tend to slouch. When lying, we can’t find a comfortable position.


The pain is often described as “aching”, “burning” or “sore”, with intermittent sharp twinges. This pain is typically felt to be musculoskeletal as opposed to a pinched nerve, since it does not radiate down the leg. When the pain does radiate, it is typically related to sciatica (pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg due to injury or pressure on the sciatic nerve.)


Low back pain appears to be directly related to the posture changes described above. Unfortunately, after we deliver, and slim down, we have many years of not only carrying our child, but the baby bag, groceries, etc. Given this, it is important to pay attention to this issue and work towards prevention.


Undoubtedly, the hardest piece of advice to implement is improving posture. When walking and sitting, try to remember to keep your back straight. With housework, raise the ironing board to a more comfortable height. When reaching for a pan in a lower kitchen cabinet or clothes from a dresser drawer, bend at the knees, not at the waist. At work, make certain your chair is ergonomically appropriate. When reaching into drawers and files, roll your chair, or reposition your body, to reduce low back stress.


Yoga instructor, Janine Silverman, preaches the importance of good posture from “The Studio Loft”, in North Hollywood, California. She feels that yoga is an excellent discipline to teach body awareness and back strengthening exercises. Physical therapists, personal trainers, massage therapists, and acupuncturists are often good sources of information, too.


Finally, it is also important to pay attention to your mattress. Personal preference is of course important, but many sleep experts recommend a medium-firm mattress. For some, memory foam mattresses and pads give added comfort. Being a mother is literally “back-breaking” work. Take the time to practice good back health.

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