Beat the Back Pain Blues

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The final trimesters of pregnancy can feel like you have a bowling ball strapped to your belly, so it’s no wonder your back hurts. Here are some pain-relief tips that actually work.

If your back is killing you, you’re not alone. Research shows up to 70 percent of all pregnant women suffer from backaches, especially between months five and seven. The only permanent relief is giving birth. In the meantime, try these strategies to minimize your back pain:

· Give yourself more support in bed. Remove any pillow-toppers from your mattress and place a wooden board between your mattress and box spring for more firmness. Also, try sleeping on your left side with a wedge pillow underneath your belly and a pillow between your knees.

· Ice first, then heat. Wrap an ice pack in a T-shirt and rest it on your lower back for 15 minutes. Then apply heat. You can make your own heating pad by stuffing a cotton sock with uncooked rice and tying up the open end. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it’s warm.

· Stop wearing flats and high heels. Instead, wear sneakers with adequate arch support. For the fashion-conscious, orthotic inserts can add the necessary support lacking in more stylish kicks.

· Take your workouts to the water. Mild exercise, such as yoga, gentle stretching and walking, during pregnancy is one of the most proven pain-busters. Even better than exercise? Aquatic exercise. It not only strengthens your back and core muscles, but also relieves belly weight while you work out. A recent systematic review found that water gymnastics noticeably relieved pain intensity and reduced the incidence of sick leave due to pregnancy-related pain back. Speak with your primary care provider before starting any vigorous stretching or exercise regimen.

· Vary your position. Alternate between sitting and standing, as doing either for too long can trigger muscle aches. When standing, try to keep your back as straight as possible, resisting the temptation to arch your back.

If your back pain is abrupt or becomes severe, see your doctor right away.

McKenzie-Willamette Birthing Center offers a variety of services for expecting parents and postpartum support. Call (541) 741-4649 for more information or visit McKWeb.com.

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