pregnant woman having back pain sitting on her bedThe waddling gait, the hands pressed into the small of her back, mama-to-be is uncomfortable.

An aching back is such a common part of pregnancy that the waddling, back clutching is a stereotype of late term pregnancy. But backache can start much earlier in pregnancy, and the vast majority of pregnant women will experience back ache during pregnancy and for many it persists post partum.

Tim Evens PT of Agility Spine & Sports Physical Therapy gave us the low down on why back pain is an issue during pregnancy and what to do to prevent and to treat back pain

Why do so many pregnant women experience back ache?

As the baby grows and mama’s belly grows, the increased weight, shift in center of balance, and the hypermobility of the sacroiliac joint all contribute to extra strain on the lower back. This added strain and resulting distorted movements and joints locked at the end range of motion can make daily life painful.

What can you do to prevent back ache during pregnancy?

A strong core and upright posture before and during pregnancy can help prevent backache.

  • Squats help strengthen leg, abs and pelvic floor, and require balance and can be performed during pregnancy.
  • Balancing exercise ex. yoga,  can provide core strengthening
  • Avoid over-stretching.
  • Limit how much sitting you do each day
  • Exercise 30 minutes every day

When to contact a physical therapist?

Evens suggests that if back or pelvic pain is limiting daily function do not linger to see help. Often it is an issue that can be easily addressed. The first port of call is your primary care physician who can rule out other pathologies. If this is a second or third pregnancy and this is a familiar pain you may wish to check in with your physical therapist’s office.

How can a Physical Therapist help you if you experience back ache?

A physical therapist can help you return to fully functional movement, address tissue healing and trauma of back and pelvis pain. As many of these issues can be addressed simply, Evens encourages women to seek help if the pain is limiting their daily function. Don’t let it linger for months when it is easy to fix and can help reduce stress during a time that can be fraught with stress anyway. At your appointment the physical therapist will evaluate your flexibility, strength, balance, and posture. They may manipulate or move your body to address immediate tissue issues and almost always provide you with some at-home daily exercises to increase strength, mobility and flexibility. 

Tips on how to perform a squat from Tim Evens Physical Therapist. Particularly important for pregnant women to maintain/develop core/pelvic strengthHow to do a good squat

Tim provided these tips for performing an effective squat.

  1. Hold your lower lumbar spine in a neutral position, as you squat low the spine should not flex (tail tuck under)
  2. Make sure your knees do not move in front of toes, this ensures that majority of motion is coming from hips
Remember good squats require good hip strength and flexibility.

Tim Evens PT., is taking part in the Tucson Medical Center ‘Oh My Aching Back’ series. In cooperation with TMC, the Center for Neurosciences, Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, Arizona Connected Care and Agility Spine hosts “Oh, My Aching Back,” a monthly series on back and neck pain.

Topics include:

  • March 20    Back Pain in Mid to Later Life
  • April 24       Weekend Warriors — Getting back in the game after a back injury
  • May 22       Workplace Back Issues

Talks are 5:30 – 7 p.m., in Marshall Conference Center on the TMC campus, 5301 E. Grant Road.

Please RSVP at (520) 324-3745