While it is well-known that back pain is a natural part of late pregnancy, many women do not know if early pregnancy back pain is normal. If the pain is not severe, it is likely the result of changes that begin to take place in the body very soon after conception.
Muscle spasms are at the root of most cases of back pain during early pregnancy. They are caused in a couple of ways. First, the hormone relaxin begins to be released into the body to loosen ligaments around the pelvis. Your body does this to make room for the growing womb. As the pelvic connections loosen, instability and pain develop that affect your lower back. Your muscles will begin to stretch as the position of the pelvis changes; when muscles become overstretched, they run out of energy, since muscles depend on a relaxation/contraction cycle to pump nutrients in and out. Just as you may begin to shake if you haven’t eaten in a long time, muscles begin to twitch and spasm when they run out of energy. The result is a forced, painful contraction of the muscle.
Another potential cause of first trimester back pain is the relaxing of abdominal muscles. This also occurs to make room for the growing womb. For some this does not occur right away; however, if you had weak abdominal muscles before pregnancy, it will occur sooner. This means that the lower back muscles will have to support the upper body’s weight without assistance from the stomach. The muscles are not allowed to relax long enough to rid expended nutrients and take in a fresh supply. As described above, this leads to spasm.
Though pregnancy and back pain often go together, you can still take steps to reduce the amount of pain you experience. Having a healthy balance of rest and activity is important for pregnant women; you must keep your muscles and ligaments supple while avoiding strain. Going for regular walks is an effective way to manage pelvic and back pain for many women in early pregnancy.
After activity, lying on your side with a pillow between your knees will allow your muscles to recover.
Another great exercise for back pain during pregnancy is the pelvic rock. See the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WeWVx5fT6I to view proper execution of this exercise. The pelvic rock stretches the lower back and strengthens the pelvic floor.
As always, posture plays an important part in the amount of pain you feel. If you allow your body to slouch forward as the abdominal muscles weaken, you will increase the strain on your lower back. It is important to train your body to maintain proper posture early on, since your center of gravity will change later in pregnancy and the task will be doubly difficult. Make sure your muscles and ligaments are able to support your spine from the beginning.
If back pain is severe during your first trimester or at any other time during your pregnancy, you should see your doctor immediately, as severe pain can be the sign of a problem in your pregnancy. Also, pay attention to any other abnormalities that may coincide with the pain.
Back pain management during your first trimester involves light exercise, proper posture and rest. Help yourself enjoy this exciting time by reducing pain.
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