Common Pregnancy Related Discomforts – Backache

General Description

Pain, discomfort, or achiness of the back region, is experienced by approximately 70% of women during pregnancy. Posture, body mechanics, and muscle tone, along with a variety of factors can contribute to back pain.


Sources of Discomfort

During pregnancy, necessary hormones cause the softening of joints and ligaments in preparation for birth. The weight of a healthy growing baby can cause a shift in posture to accommodate the ever changing center of gravity, and may lead to misalignment or tilt of the uterus. These changes will often causes nerve and muscle pain, as well as stress to the ligaments which attach to the uterus and sacrum, resulting in upper and lower back pain.


Other potential source(s) of backache:

  • Kidney Infection – when pain / discomfort is at waist level


Methods of Relief

  1. Avoid excessive bending, lifting, or walking without appropriate rest periods. Wear shoes that are flat and comfortable, avoiding heels.
  2. Proper stooping / bending position, with feet shoulder width apart, one foot slightly in front of the other. Use a squat when lifting, rather than bending at the waist.
  3. Use of proper back support (brace, belt, maternity girdle, abdominal support) when sitting or standing for excessive periods of time.
  4. Sleeping surface should provide good support. Make use of body and pregnancy pillows, ensuring a pillow at the back and between the legs to keep knees hip width apart.
  5. Physical activity that provides gentle stretching such as yoga and swimming. Pelvic tilts and rocking can be particularly helpful in easing discomfort.
  6. Chiropractic Care and osteopathic therapy. As well as massage, acupuncture, and acupressure. Pamper yourself during this time.
  7. Use of heat / cold in the form of baths, water bottles, or packs. Magnesium flakes / Epsom salt added to baths can also be helpful. 1-2 cups in a large tub. Apple Cider Vinegar soaks, castor oil packs, and capsaicin cream can also bring relief.
  8. Increase your daily intake of calcium and magnesium, either through nutrient rich foods, such as dairy, dark leafy greens, and nuts, or through supplementation.
  9. Many herbal therapies can also be helpful, as needed:
  • Devil’s Claw: 50 – 100 mg daily
  • Willow Bark: 120 – 140 mg daily
  • John’s Wort Tincture: 15 – 25 drops in a glass of water, every few hours, as needed
  • Cayenne: used as a poultice or a plaster over the area of discomfort