The back pain in my current pregnancy (#6) has not exactly been fun — and I know I’m not alone.
By just 18 – 20 weeks, standing up for very long was hard. Walking was hard after awhile. If I had to carry anything, forget it…I was so sore that even sitting didn’t relieve it.
When I hit 24 – 26 weeks, my low back was so sore that there were few positions I could even sit comfortably in. I was stiff and sore a lot. I had to lie down regularly with lots of pillows just to not be in pain…
But not anymore. At 29 weeks, I’m certainly slower (and waddling!), but I’m not in pain anymore. Yes…there is help. This is what I used to naturally help with the back and hip pain.
5 Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Back Pain Naturally
When I traveled when I was around 20 weeks pregnant, I came home so sore that I wasn’t sure I could even get up and do anything. I begged my husband to help me — with massage, or something. I couldn’t be barely functional for the second half of my pregnancy!
That’s when I started implementing these tips. Some took awhile to really help…others helped right away. But in combination, over time, I am able to be functional and (mostly) pain-free!
1. See a Chiropractor
This one I should have implemented sooner than I did. In most of my pregnancies, I saw a chiropractor all along. This time, I waited until I was very sore and around 25 weeks. It took a month of weekly visits to really see things turn around…but they have.
A chiropractor who is trained in helping pregnant women can offer specific stretches and adjustments to help with the shifting center of gravity and tight round ligaments that are so common in pregnancy. This not only will offer you relief; it will help your baby adopt a more favorable position for birth! Mine turned from transverse to head down after a couple of visits.
2. Sore Muscle Salve
This was kind of my magic relief when things got bad in one spot. It’s a combination of arnica and magnesium — and it works better than either one of them alone. After my travel episode, a couple applications of this got rid of most of the pain! I have continued to use it on sore spots as needed.
Be aware: some types contain essential oils that aren’t safe in pregnancy. Arnica and magnesium both are. (You can get it here.)
Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do but simply rest.
Lie down on your side, using pillows between your knees and under your belly. Not supporting your belly can lead to overstretching your round ligaments, which can cause more pain. Use as many pillows as needed, including long body pillows, to help support your body well. An extra pillow behind your back helps a lot, too! Anything that supports your weight.
Try to lie down for 15 – 20 minutes any time you are in pain. Putting on some sore muscle cream first may help even more.
4. Light Exercise
Believe it or not, some soreness is caused by inactivity. “Junk” can build up around your muscles and joints and make you feel more sore. Take a short walk. Or just clean your house — I found that by giving in to my ‘nesting’ instincts and scooting around on the floor to clean under cabinets, baseboards, etc. helped me really stretch and move in different ways, and relieved a lot of the pain. This is not as easy now as it was at 20 weeks, but it still helps!
5. Pregnancy Support Belt
More recently, I added a support belt. My belly was already so big that my round ligaments were stretched, and this caused more pain in my sides and sometimes low back. The support belt helps to, well, support everything so that nothing’s getting overstretched! (I got this one.)
Between these 5 things…I am functional again, and usually don’t hurt!
Other Ways to Relieve Back Pain
Of course, you may need other options if you have stubborn pain or if your body is just a bit different. These are other things you can try:
1. Massage and/or Craniosacral Therapy
This is a hands-on way to help your muscles relax and your body to shift back to an optimal position. It may help to relieve pain. Craniosacral can help your body (especially hips and low back) to stay in alignment.
2. Cinnamon and Turmeric
Both of these herbs are anti-inflammatory, and may relieve inflammation or pain.
3. Warm Baths
A warm bath can help to relax tight or sore muscles, too, especially if you add Epsom salts to the water.
Stubborn sore spots may benefit from short-term icing to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
I use magnesium nightly, not specifically for sore muscles, but it helps with restless legs and promotes better sleep. (I use this.)
6. Essential Oils
Peppermint is okay to use in pregnancy, unless you are at risk for pre-term labor or very sensitive to mint. Chamomile and lavender are also both safe. Copaiba is another excellent option (and one I used).
Wintergreen, rosemary, eucalyptus, and clary sage are NOT safe in pregnancy. (Clary sage is safe during labor. It may induce/augment contractions, which does not matter at term or during labor.)
7. Exercise Ball
Sometimes, stretching out on an exercise ball can be very beneficial. Sit on it and rock your hips from side to side, front to back, or move in circles. This can help to gently relieve tension and pain.
If someone tells you back pain is par for the course, and there is nothing you can do, that is not true! There are definitely natural things you can try to relieve your pain. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or midwife, or to seek other professional help in dealing with your pain. There are ways to help.