Upper back pain during pregnancy is most common during the third trimester. Still, it can occur at any point in the pregnancy. It is caused by the many changes the body goes through due to the pregnancy. Dr. Yashar recommends you take steps to prevent upper back pain during pregnancy. If you already have it, there are things you can do to ease your pain.

Causes

Center of Gravity

As the baby grows and the uterus shifts, the mother’s center of gravity moves forward. This places increased pressure on the muscles in the back, causing back pain.

Weight Gain

The mother typically gains 25%-30% of her body weight in a short period. This stresses the back muscles.

Hormones

Pregnancy hormones also have an effect on back pain. Particularly the hormones released during the third trimester. These hormones prepare the mother’s body for delivery. They loosen the ligaments and muscles. Consequently, the pelvis and back become less stable. This causes the muscles to work harder and can sometimes cause muscle spasms.

Breast Growth

The enlargement of breast tissue places new demands on the thoracic spine, neck, and shoulders. It alters posture and can often cause upper back pain.

Maintain a Neutral Posture

Standing

Keep your chest high and shoulders back but relaxed. Keep your knees slightly bent. Maintain a good base of support. Keep a wide stance and distribute weight evenly between legs. If you must stand for a long time, try to rest one foot for a while, then the other. For instance, see if you can find a step stool to alternate resting your feet on.

Sitting

Make sure to sit in a chair with good lumbar support. Even better, buy a lumbar support pillow. Supporting the lower back allows the muscles in the upper back to relax. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. The hips should always be at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to sit in a chair which is high enough for this. If it is too high, try setting the feet on a footstool or ottoman.

Sleeping

Pregnant women should sleep on their side during their second and third trimesters. A trick for maintaining a neutral spine during sleep is to use pillows. Place a pillow between the knees. You can also place one under the abdomen. Other places to use pillows are under the neck and cervical spine.

Avoid Heavy Lifting

Avoid heavy lifting and use proper body mechanics when lifting. Keep objects close to the body. This decreases force placed on the back. Bend from the knees and hinge at the hips. Never bend from the back when lifting heavy objects. Never twist when lifting. Wait until the object is up and close to your body before pivoting or turning.

Supportive Clothing

It is important to wear a strong, supportive bra. Supportive shoes can also be a big help. To keep the spine neutral, make sure you shoe does not have a heel. Choose comfortable clothing throughout your pregnancy.

Exercise

Exercising throughout your pregnancy keeps your back muscles strong. It helps them support your growing baby. It prevents back pain and eases the pain you already have. Always consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. This is especially true if you are pregnant.

Stretch

Daily stretching can prevent or ease upper back pain. These two exercises are helpful because they reduce postural stress:

Doorway Pectoral Stretching

“Stand in a door frame and place your arms on the door frame at shoulder height with the elbows bent to 90 degrees. Place one foot forward and gently lunge forward until you feel a moderate stretch at the front of the chest into the front of the shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times several times a day.”

Scapular Retraction

After you have completed the above stretch, keep your arms at your side and relax. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine you are attempting to grip a pencil between them. Hold this pose for 5 seconds. It is best to repeat this several times a day.

Spine Surgery Los Angeles

Dr. Yashar is a preeminent neurosurgeon in Los Angeles. He puts a special emphasis on brain and spine surgery. Dr. Yashar provides his patients with the tools to direct their own care. In addition, he guides them through each step of the treatment process. That process may include surgical and non-surgical options. He cares for patients before, during, and after surgery. Contact Dr. Yashar to schedule a consultation today!