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I'm Struggling with Chronic Back Pain During Pregnancy

I'm Struggling with Chronic Back Pain During Pregnancy

If you’re experiencing back pain during your pregnancy, rest assured: Back pain is a common discomfort for pregnant women.

Typically, back pain occurs when your growing baby and your expanding uterus strain the muscles, nerves, tendons, and bones of your spinal system. This strain can lead to anything from mildly annoying aches to very uncomfortable pain.

Fortunately, most pregnancy-related back pain is temporary, and it often responds to simple pain-relief strategies.

At Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, our caring doctors and certified nurse midwives want to help you with any common pregnancy discomforts, including back pain. 

Here, we provide some helpful information about steps you can take to prevent or relieve pregnancy back pain.

Causes of pregnancy back pain

As your baby grows and your uterus gets larger, they begin to press on structures near and within your pelvis and spinal cord. As a result, you may experience a range of body changes that can cause various types of discomfort, including back pain. Most of these discomforts are irritating but normal.

What’s more, the hormones of pregnancy cause your joints to expand to give your baby space to grow. As joints loosen, they and the structures connected to them may pull or tug on the muscles, nerves, and vertebrae in your back.

Your growing body can affect your nerves, too. The sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, down your leg, and to your foot, is especially susceptible to pregnancy-related pain and pressure. When your baby or your uterus presses on this nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body, you may develop a painful condition known as sciatica.

Sciatica can cause pain, weakness, tingling, numbness, or achiness anywhere from your low back to your feet. Fortunately, pregnancy sciatica is usually temporary.

Treating pregnancy back pain

When back pain is the result of normal changes related to pregnancy — such as weight gain and pressure from your baby — you can typically find solace with non-drug, at-home treatments that offer pain relief.

For example, the March of Dimes recommends sleeping on a firm, supportive mattress and lying on your side with a pillow or body pillow tucked between your knees. Other support measures include:

Never take any kind of pain reliever, even over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, without first checking with your doctor or midwife.

Help for your pregnancy aches and pains

If you’re experiencing any of the common discomforts of pregnancy, we want to know. Your doctor or midwife can suggest specific strategies to help relieve your pain and make your pregnancy more enjoyable.

Although aches and pains are usually just an inconvenience, they may also signify a complication, a condition that requires immediate attention and care, or even the onset of labor. When a new symptom develops, don’t wait to tell us about it.

To schedule an appointment at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices or to alert us to a new symptom, please call us today. You can also use our online tool to book routine checkups.

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