Physiotherapists are often consulted to aid in the relief of lower back pain. A physio is also an ideal partner to work with prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy to prevent pain if you’re susceptible to lower back issues. Carrying a growing human being is a beautiful experience, but it results in a great deal of changes to your body, including postural adaptations which can result in lower back pain. Physios all over the world will advocate that ideal posture is a key contributor to a healthy and comfortable pregnancy and beyond the birth; it also goes a long way to preventing lower back pain.
Even before falling pregnant, acknowledging that you will spend one third of your life sleeping, raises the importance of investing in bedding suitable to your body’s needs. Why? Your body’s everyday functioning and posture will be disadvantaged if your musculoskeletal system is not properly supported for eight hours each night. My recommendation is to take the time to test mattresses and pillows and consult with your physiotherapist for their recommendation specific to your needs.
While sleep and rest is important, it’s not advised to completely cut out exercise and stay in bed if you’re experiencing lower back pain. A recent study in the UK showed, contradictory to common thought, that bed rest can be bad for the treatment of back pain and that exercise and general body movement is better for relief. As we know, the benefits of exercise are boundless – it can be a mood enhancer, improve sleep and even prevent gestational diabetes, not to mention all the obvious benefits of strength, flexibility and weight control. If exercise has been a key part of your life prior to falling pregnant, don’t stop your routine once you fall pregnant. Modify it, by being conscious of the type of exercise you undertake – as it’s likely you’ll need to reassess the routine with a qualified physio as you progress in each trimester.
Low intensity exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, Clinical Pilates and stretching are the safest for pregnancy and can aid in both the prevention and treatment of lower back pain. Many women see great results from undertaking Clinical Pilates during and after pregnancy. Clinical Pilates, different from regular Pilates, is instructed by a physiotherapist and is specifically designed to suit your individual health needs. This will work wonders for improving posture and core strength which in turn helps avert lower back pain.
Previously, I wrote about exercises to reduce pain during pregnancy. Many of these can be undertaken not only during pregnancy but after as well. Furthermore, daily stretching will not only relieve but prevent lower back pain. Why not add it to your morning or before-sleep routine to reap the benefits?
Finally, if you’re prone to lower back pain, a pregnancy sling is a supportive garment to consider purchasing. Although wearing the sling might take some getting used to, it will provide support underneath the growing baby to your lower back and assist in maintaining correct posture.
To avoid lower back pain, prevention really is the key. A physiotherapist is one of the best health professionals to consult with and will be able to provide advice and exercises that will suit your situation. You might also like to explore Back In Motion’s Mums In Motion™ and Mums & Bubs™ classes. For their physical and social benefits, find out more here.