Many women who are pregnant experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Back pain during pregnancy has many causes and can take many forms. You may experience back pain because of weight gain, loosening of the ligaments that support your spine and pelvis, or pressure from the location of your uterus. Back pain may include lower back pain, usually around the curve of your spine and near your bottom, or upper back pain around the neck and shoulder blades. If you experience back pain during pregnancy, visiting a chiropractor can help ease your pain and give you some relief. However, it is also important that you engage in strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, and cardiovascular exercises every day.
Strengthening exercises will not provide immediate relief for acute pain that you are currently experiencing. However, if you regularly engage in strengthening exercises, then your body will be able to support your weight gain during pregnancy in a more comfortable way. Some great strengthening exercises for pregnant women include lunges, squats, and pelvic tilts as well as light weight-lifting with the arms to improve your posture.
You do not need to dedicate a lot of time to strength training. Just 10-15 minutes a day will help keep your muscles strong and allow you to provide proper support to your body. But if you fail to keep up with your strength training exercises, you may start to experience more back pain. Also, keep in mind that traditional strength training exercises that focus on your core, such as sit ups or crunches, should not be continued after the first trimester. For more safe, healthy ideas on strength training exercises that you can do, consider joining a prenatal yoga class.
Stretching exercises can provide immediate relief for mild to moderate back pain. Common stretches that relieve back pain include side bends, trunk twists, seated forward bends, chest stretches, and neck stretches. When you complete these stretches, you should keep in mind that you are not trying to increase your flexibility but rather provide relief to your currently over-worked muscles. You should only engage in a stretch as deeply as is comfortable for you and you should hold stretches for a minimal amount of time, 30 seconds to 1 minute, to prevent over stretching.
As with strengthening exercises, you should perform stretching every day. Many pregnant women enjoy stretching more than strengthening exercises as it provides immediate relief. You may want to stretch 2-3 times a day for 15 minutes each session or stretch once in the evening before bed. If you have excessive or chronic back pain, you can talk to your chiropractor about specific stretches that you can do at home to help relieve your pain between adjustments.
Cardiovascular exercises deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and can improve the functioning of your nervous system. This can help keep pain at bay. The best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women include simply walking or swimming. However, you can spice up your workout with a light aerobics or a dance routine occasionally. You should be careful not to work yourself to fatigue and drink plenty of water while you are doing cardiovascular exercises. You should aim for 30 minutes of light to moderate cardiovascular exercise every day, but feel free to break it up into 10 minute mini-workouts if you need to.
The key to all pregnancy workouts is to do them consistently but to not over-exert yourself on any given day. This will allow your body to gently support you and your growing baby while minimizing the pain and discomfort you experience. You should also consider visiting a local chiropractor to help manage some of your back pain and to receive back pain treatments.