Pregnant women are often told that they should expect sleepless nights and endless feedings once their baby is born. They aren't told that they are at risk for serious back pain. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimate that new mothers lift up their baby up to 50 times each day. That is a lot of repetitive motion that your back is not used to doing. Pain may come on gradually or all at once after you bend, lift, or twist your back. Talk to your doctor, then consider using some of this advice to ease the pain and strengthen your back muscles so that it does not happen again.
The most important thing you can do for your back is to keep moving and using the muscles. If you sit or lie down for a long period of time you can cause the muscles to go into spasms. You need to keep moving and changing positions so that the blood can flow properly to the area.
Take the Right Medicine
Talk to your physical therapist or your obstetrician about medications that you can take for the pain. Generally they will recommend that you take ibuprofen rather than acetaminophen because the ibuprofen can reduce the inflammation in the back muscles. Do not take ibuprofen for back pain during the last three months of your pregnancy, because it may harm your baby. Finally, never take over the recommended dosage.
Strengthen Your Muscles
You will need to do some physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles in your back. Your baby is only going to get bigger, so you need to preemptively strengthen your back so that your lower back pain does not become chronic back pain.
Dorsal raise – This exercise is sometimes called a "Superman." Lie on your stomach and bend your arms so that your fingertips are at your temples. Slowly lift your chest and stomach off the floor, but keep your hips and legs still. Hold your chest up for 2-3 seconds before you slowly lower the upper body back to the floor. Ask your physical therapist how many repetitions you should do. To make the exercise easier, you can lie on an exercise ball or Swiss ball instead of the floor.
Some gym instructors will have you do a "Superman" with both the chest and legs raised, however, that focuses on the back and the glutes. The dorsal raise is a therapeutic exercise that focuses on the lower back muscles. For more information on physical therapy, contact a facility like Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.