It’s pretty much inevitable that every women will experience back tension and pain at some point during pregnancy. With all the added weight you’re carrying around on your front side; it only makes sense that your back will suffer. Prior to becoming pregnant, I always had on and off again back pain. I’ve definitely strained it more than once during a workout, and having a bigger chest to begin with has always put some strain on my backside. About a year and a half ago I suffered from sciatica; however, I had no idea what caused it. At the time I had a desk job and noticed that sitting for long periods of time was when it was at its worst. I had to get up and walk around and also stretch in the bathroom to ease the pain.
About eight weeks into my pregnancy I hurt my back so bad doing yard work that I literally could not walk for almost two days. Anytime I had to go to the bathroom I either crawled or my husband carried me. I had pulled and strained a muscle so bad that every time I moved even the slightest bit, it would tense up and felt like I had a major charlie horse in my lower back causing extreme pain. I worried that further along in my pregnancy I’d be in real trouble. I made a pact with myself that I would do everything in my power to stay active during my entire pregnancy unless I was told otherwise by my doctor. Once I hurt my back at the eight week mark I wanted to make a point to really keep my back in good health. I had concerns that between strained muscles and previous issues with sciatica that I’d be in agony, so I’ve been determined to keep my back as happy and healthy as possible.
Right now I’m 31 weeks pregnant. I will be 32 weeks which marks the start of my 8th month this coming Saturday. It’s hard to believe that I have less than nine weeks to go until my due date. With that said, I have kept up with a great workout regimen five days a week and have been able to keep my back happy enough that it hasn’t stopped me from doing anything. In fact, it’s when I stop moving and have a “lazy day” that it hurts the most. Because I know several women who have dealt with back pain during their pregnancy; I decided to dedicate a blog to some of the tips that have helped me and my back greatly thus far.
Tip #1: Move, Move, MOVE your body! I have written countless blogs about fitness and working out, but I truly cannot say enough positive words about how beneficial continuing my exercise routine has been during my pregnancy. I notice a significant difference in how my back feels on the days that I workout from my rest days. For example, just this past Sunday my husband and I had friends over to watch the Patriots game. After sitting on the couch for a good three hours my back was sore and unhappy. We had all planned to do a snow hike after the game on the trails behind our house as we had just had our first a snow storm. We were out for about an hour and not only did I have more energy after our hike (this isn’t shocking), but my back felt so much better. Without a doubt I continuously notice such a positive difference in my back after I exercise, particularly after cardio. So whether it’s a simple walk, hike, spin class or elliptical, try moving your body for at least 30 minutes a day to help relieve some of the back strain and boost up your energy. That’s by far my number one tip for a happy healthy back and pregnancy!
Tip #2: Foam rolling! There’s nothing like making your body hurt so good. My husband bought me a foam roller a few years ago when I really got into running. I have to admit; I hated using it. Although it helped, it hurt so damn bad to roll out my sore aching muscles that I didn’t use it nearly as much as I should have. Once I hit my second trimester and started to feel the added weight of my bust and belly, I started using the foam roller not only on my hips and lower body, but on my back. I cannot even explain the amount of tension it relieves in my back. Foam rolling has pretty much become a nightly ritual for me, typically before I go to bed. Just this past Sunday I stumbled across a new blog that I’m loving, Knocked-Up Fitness, that posted a video, Foam Rolling to Release Tension in Your Lower Back! This video mainly focuses on lower back exercises; however, I also do a lot for my mid and upper back as well because that is actually where most of any pain and tension has been for me. My foam roller has become my new best best friend during these last few months!
Tip #3: Stretching and yoga! Along with my nightly foam rolling ritual before I crawl into bed, I also stretch and do various yoga exercises. I typically do this after I’ve foam rolled my back which really helps to loosen tight muscles and ease any added pain and strain. Both have been greatly helpful not only to relieve tension, but it also helps relax me before bed aiding in a better nights sleep. Although, I cannot deny that bathroom trips are starting to wake me up more frequently in the past week!
Tip #4: I’ve always been a big believer that pampering yourself is a big factor in being healthy both physically and mentally. Therefor, massages have always been something that I did for myself prior to pregnancy, typically once every six to eight weeks. I’ve done deep tissue, sports, hot stone and relaxation all prior to pregnancy. I’ve now had several prenatal massages and I absolutely love them. My last massage the therapist used both hot stones and stretching techniques that were amazing. Along with splurging on professional massages, my husband also gives me a back and foot massage almost every night to help ease any troubled or uncomfortable areas.
Tip #5: Some people swear by going to a chiropractor. I’m including this, but, I have to admit that I’m not completely sold on it for me personally. My doctor recommended prenatal chiropractic care and I have several friends who said it truly saved them during pregnancy. After my second adjustment I felt good; however, I didn’t notice it helping nearly as much as everything else I’ve included. After a few more adjustments I didn’t really see much of a difference at all. Then, during my last prenatal massage the therapist told me that I was definitely in more need of muscle work than spinal work, so I discontinued going. I still wanted to include this for two reasons. One, because I do know many women who have had amazing luck with it and two, because every pregnancy and women is different. Everything that works for me isn’t necessarily going to work you. But it’s a great option especially for women suffering with sciatica pain during their pregnancy. Side note, I also learned that getting adjusted can help reposition the baby if breached and has helped many women from having a C section.
While I’ll certainly don’t claim to be a professional when it comes to pregnancy; I feel strongly on the things that are helping me still feel great at 31 weeks. Pregnancy is a different journey for every women and I’m all for sticking together and sharing what works. So here’s hoping a few of these tips can help some of my blog readers too! Pregnant or not, I think all are great options for health and fitness. Here’s to a happy and healthy pregnant back ladies!