Debilitating, painful and annoying, back pain affects a whopping 50-70% of women during their pregnancy (American Pregnancy Association). If you have ever experienced back pain, or know someone who has, you know that the pain can significantly impact your everyday life and is worth the effort to avoid. By following the 5 tips below, your body will be better prepared to maintain alignment and balance throughout your pregnancy to prevent back pain.
Pre-Pregnancy Low Back Prevention Tips:
- Exercise is Medicine: Focus on exercises that strengthen your legs, core and back. Do these exercises 2-3 times a week. These include squats, plank and superman. Switch to yoga specifically for pregnancy once you are pregnant that also has a lower back focus. Additionally, do physical activity for 20-30 minutes every day. This may be a walk, stationary bike, swim or jog. Need ideas for lower exercises? Check out these Mayo Clinic Lower Back Exercises which only takes 15 minutes each day.
- Goodbye High Heels: High heels physically tilt your pelvis forward making it impossible for your vertebrae to be aligned correctly. This leads to unnecessary wear and tear. Wear heels that are two-inches or less in height.
- Food for Thought: Believe it or not, a poor diet can lead to low back pain. How? Highly processed food and sugar can lead to inflammation which leads to pain. Load up on fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
- Sitting is the New Smoking: Just as your body changes when you exercise, it also changes when you sit. Your hip flexors tighten and shorten which pulls and tugs on your lower back when standing. Your core weakens making it harder to maintain good posture, which means that your vertebrae are not stacked on top of each other properly. This can lead to premature wear and tear. Yikes! What can you do? Stand every 30-60 minutes, take multiple walk breaks or invest in a stand up desk. If you stand for work such as being a nurse or you are already using a standing desk, switch off propping one foot up off the floor to take a load off of your lower back.
- Sit Up Straight: How are you sitting at this very moment? Is your back in a nice straight line or are your shoulders rounded forward? Are your ears in line with your shoulders or is your neck sticking out? When sitting with poor posture, your head is like the weight of a bowling ball pulling and tugging on your spine. This of course can lead to all sorts of complications. Check out the Cleveland Clinic guidelines here on how to sit and stand with good posture.
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