Causes of Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy And Tips For Relief

Back pain is a common condition in pregnancy and is not surprising at all. But upper back pain is less common than lower back.

Where ever it is, you should not ignore it.

woman holding aching upper back

Pregnant women experience upper back pain in their thoracic spine. Sometimes it might be accompanied by vaginal bleeding, fever, or burning during urination.

In some cases, it can be a sign of pre-term labor or urinary tract infection.

When Does Upper Back Pain In Pregnancy Occur?

Upper back pain can occur at any point in your pregnancy. But mostly women reported it in their third trimester.

Causes of upper back pain in pregnancy

Upper back pain can be caused by several possible reasons. Following are some of the causes of upper back pain:

The growing size of your baby:

The growing size of your baby increases pressure on your back muscles. This increasing pressure leads to upper back pain.

Increase in body weight:

When you are pregnant, there is a rapid increase in body weight in a short period.

woman's feet on scale

This increase in body weight causes your back muscles to stress. As a result of which upper back pain happens.

Fluctuating hormones:

During the later stages of pregnancy, the hormones of your body begin to fluctuate. Your body releases several hormones to get prepared for delivery.

These released hormones start to make difference in your body and also loosen the ligaments and muscles of your body. This causes your muscles to work harder and leads to muscle spasms.

Breast enlargement:

As we mentioned above that with the progress in your pregnancy you will experience an increase in weight. And this will happen in almost every part of your body.

Your breast will also enlarge which alters your posture and increases the strain on your neck, your shoulders, and your thoracic spine. All of these conditions cause upper back pain to happen.

Related:  Check out Simple Tips to Reduce Back Pain During Pregnancy

 How to prevent upper back pain

Upper back pain should never be ignored and needs attention, especially during pregnancy. Therefore we have made a list of some steps which help to prevent upper back pain from happening.

Consider the following 7 ways and get relief from back pain during pregnancy:

1. Maintain a neutral standing posture

Following are the fundamental standing postures to get relief from upper back pain:

  • Try to stand up straight and tall
  • Keep your chest high
  • Keep your shoulder back and stay relaxed
  • Avoid locking your knees

2. Maintain a neutral sitting posture

A good sitting posture is very essential to get relief from upper back pain. Make sure you have a comfortable place (chair or sofa) to sit.

You should choose a chair that provides support. You can also use a lumbar soft pillow or cushion to put behind your lower back to prevent back pain.

Put a footstool under your feet if putting your feet on the floor creates an uncomfortable sitting position.

3. Maintain a neutral spine while sleeping

It is recommended for pregnant women to sleep on their side. You can use a U- Shaped Pregnancy Pillow specially made for side sleep, especially during the second and third trimesters.

You can place a pillow between your knees and under the abdomen area to maintain a neutral spine while sleeping.

Several pillows can also be used to ensure a neutral neck or cervical spine position.

4. Wear a supportive bra and comfortable clothes

Wearing a supportive bra and comfortable clothes are found to be very helpful with upper back pain. In addition, you can also wear supportive shoes to prevent back discomfort at all.

pregnant woman getting upper back massage

5. Performing physical exercises

Practice simple stretching and other physical activities such as walking or swimming. This will help to keep your back strong and prevent back discomfort.

Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

6. Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects

You should try to avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects. Follow the instructions while lifting objects:

  • Your face should be towards the object that you are lifting
  • Keep the object close to your body.
  • When lifting the object bend down from your knees, and not from your back
  • Avoid twisting while lifting
  • Wait until you have entirely lifted the object

7. Try heat, cold or massage

You can use ice, heat pads, or massage on your back. There is little evidence about their effectiveness but applying them might help relieve some upper back pain.

Final thoughts

Upper back pain is not an unusual thing and following the above tips can help you to prevent it. Consult your healthcare provider, if it is severe.

Your doctor will suggest proper treatment and medication by examining your condition. This would help improve the quality of your pregnancy experience.

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