Pain in the Upper Back or Thoracic Spine during the pre-natal stage is a matter of concern. Though upper back pain may occur at any stage of the pregnancy, but most of the pregnant women are affected by upper back pain in the third trimester stage. There are various reasons for this. During pregnancy, as the pregnancy progresses, the baby grows inside the belly. This leads to the belly becoming bigger and bigger and due to gravity, the belly becomes large and hangs out in the front. This puts pressure on the muscles at the back. Moreover, the woman gains twenty five percent to thirty percent of their body weight in a very small time. This also stresses the back muscles. The upper back pain may also be due to the changes in the hormones in the pregnancy at later stages in the pregnancy. In the later stages of pregnancy, the body gets ready for pregnancy. During this period many hormones are released in the body so that the muscles and ligaments become loose. As this process is taking place, there is less stability in the pelvic and back. This causes the muscles to take on extra pressure which results in muscle pain and muscle cramps and muscle spasms. Another very important point is during pregnancy, the breast tissues get enlarged. As a result this has an effect on the thoracic spine, shoulder and neck tissues. There are certain ways in which you can get relief from upper back pain during the period of the pregnancy.
- Standing Posture: You must maintain a neutral standing posture. You must always stand tall and straight with the chest held high and the shoulders should be pushed back and relaxed. You must not lock with your knees. You must try to keep your weight equally distributed in between both the sides. If you have to stand for long periods, make sure to use a small step stool. Place one foot on the stool and keep changing feet from time to time at small intervals thereby changing the weight distribution.
- Sitting Position: You must maintain a neutral sitting position. Either use a good lumber support chair or a lumber support pillow. You must never cross your legs. Keep your feet flat on the ground approximately keeping a distance of shoulder width between both the feet. In case your feet are not touching the floor, use a small stool on which you can place your feet flatly. See to it that your chair is of proper height. You must place your hips a ninety degree position approximately. The knees should never be placed at a higher height than the hips. The lower back must always be supported; this will help to relax the back muscles when you are sitting.
- Sleeping position: You must maintain a neutral spine position when you are sleeping. During the second and third trimester of pregnancy, the pregnant women are advised to sleep on their side. They must place a pillow in between their knees and abdomen. This will help them to maintain a neutral spine position. Also, the use of appropriate number of pillows and positioning them so as to maintain a neutral neck and neutral cervical spine position is important.
You must avoid lifting heavy objects during pregnancy. In case you do have to lift heavy objects, use proper posture for doing so. Always face the object. You must bend from your knees and not you’re back while lifting objects. You must not twist your body while lifting objects. Only after you have lifted the object, holding it close to you that you can turn.
You must always use comfortable clothes and a supportive bra during pregnancy. Avoid using shoes with heels during this period.
You must do some physical exercises like walking or swimming. This will strengthen your muscles and give relief from discomfort. Do take the advice of your doctor before beginning any new exercise in your pregnancy period.
In case you are feeling too much upper back pain during pregnancy, you can use heat or ice or massage to get relief from the pain. Whatever you do please take your doctor’s advice and guidance. Take precautionary measures like use of proper padding between the hot pack and your skin to avoid burns. Use a barrier between your skin and the ice pack to prevent irritation of skin. If possible take the service of a professional prenatal massager.
Always consult your doctor who is the best person to check you and know the specific reasons for which you are facing this upper back pain. And thereby a proper treatment plan can be chalked out. Sometimes back pain is a symptom of pre-term labor or other obstetrical conditions may be involved. Back pain can be easily treated thereby leading to a pain free and a happy period of pregnancy and delivery.