Back Pain

Is My Pregnancy Causing Back Pain or Something Else?

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Q: I’m experiencing back pain more so now. My question is, is this back pain from my baby is it normal, or is it something else? I’m a 30-year-old woman in the second trimester with our first child. I would have back pain before I was pregnant, but nothing serious, just normal work and a little soreness at the end of the day. There was never back soreness or pain that I thought warranted a visit to the doctor. My doctor says that it is normal from the baby’s weight and there is nothing amiss, but to discuss this with a chiropractor, as there could be some treatment/therapies/exercises to help.

El Paso, TX.

A: Having low back pain before you were pregnant concerns me, as what you are saying sounds like a possible herniated disc bulging or slipped disc. However, I cannot give you an official diagnosis unless I see you as a patient and can’t say if it is something else.

But low back pain can be caused by a combination of things. This includes your pregnancy along with:

  • Herniated disc
  • Disc degeneration
  • Age
  • Muscle spasm/s
  • Daily wear and tear
  • Injuries
  • Unknown injuries
  • Added Weight

These are just a few of the things that could be causing your low back pain. Add pregnancy to this list, and low back pain can become unbearable. Your pain can be made worse by a variety of factors.

For example, let’s say you were lifting a few pieces of light furniture before you became pregnant, and that slight soreness you felt and thought was nothing could actually be a strain, muscle spasm, or over-stretch that did not cause an injury but is the beginning of an injury waiting to happen.

During pregnancy, a growing belly can put place more pressure on the:

  • Intervertebral discs
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments

Hormones that are released during pregnancy can also exacerbate your back pain. The hormone relaxin causes the pelvis and the ligaments of the lower back to gain flexibility. This is in preparation for the delivery and can cause low back pain because of the added flexibility you are more prone to injury, which is why doctors say to take it easy. It could all be a combination of these factors. Still, I would have to examine you and review your medical history to get a proper diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan during pregnancy and after if the need is there.

Treatment During Pregnancy

There are several treatment options for back pain. Pregnancy is not the time to experiment with medications or back pain treatments that could cause a negative response or something else to your health. The goal during pregnancy is safe.

Here are four safe therapies for managing back pain while pregnant:

  1. Gentle exercise/s like walking and yoga help alleviate back pain and can also generate an overall feeling of wellness.
  2. Physical therapy can decrease your back pain by strengthening the muscles. A physical therapist with experience working with pregnant women is the best option.
  3. Prenatal massage relaxes tense back muscles and reduces stress. Look for a massage therapist that specializes in prenatal massage.
  4. Prenatal yoga classes are great for decompressing/destressing during pregnancy.

Discuss all of this with your doctor and all treatment options. Starting a new exercise program when you’re pregnant is not a good idea. If there was a regular exercise routine before you were pregnant, you can continue, but you may have to make some adjustments as your body prepares for the delivery. Once the baby is born, you and your doctor can re-evaluate your treatment plan. But regardless of your treatment plan, you should continue to maintain a proper healthy weight by eating right and exercising regularly to prevent back pain from worsening.


Treatment for Low Back Pain During Pregnancy


NCBI Resources

Chiropractic is a preferred treatment for pregnancy low back pain. The chiropractor may perform a spinal subluxation to bring the spine back into alignment and the body back into proper balance. Regular chiropractic care and following the doctor’s instructions can help greatly decrease back pain so that she can better enjoy the excitement and joy of her pregnancy.

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The information herein on "Is My Pregnancy Causing Back Pain or Something Else?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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