- Hold and cold compresses
Hot and cold compresses can help to reduce inflammation and ease back pain. First, lower the body temperature with a cold compress to help constrict the blood vessels to slow the blood flow to reduce swelling and decrease inflammation. This also causes a numbing effect. Once inflammation is reduced, apply heat. Heat boosts the flow of blood and nutrients to an area of the body, improving the flexibility of soft tissues and movement of muscles. You should repeat this process intermittently for several hours or days in order to improve tissue healing and prevent recurrence of pain.
Before using hot and cold compresses, you should consult either your GP or midwife to ensure it is safe to do this whilst pregnant. It is not always safe to apply heat to certain parts of the body such as your abdomen whilst pregnant, and a healthcare professional will be able to advise you how to use hot and cold compresses safely without causing harm to your baby.
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine often used as a method of pain relief. During an acupuncture session, thin needles are inserted into certain parts of the body to stimulate the nerves and muscles, release endorphins and neurotransmitters. This process can help speed the body’s way of handling pain and restore the flow of Qi (the body’s energy flow) to normal. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial for pregnant women, especially during the first trimester to alleviate early symptoms such as nausea. It’s also helped many people cope with lower back pain. Before trying acupuncture, you should consult your GP to ensure it is safe and before a session, make sure that the acupuncture therapist is aware that you are pregnant.
Osteopathy is an alternative medicine that uses physical manipulation techniques such as stretching and massage to provide pain relief to your muscles and joints. Osteopathy is based on the idea that your general health and wellbeing depend on your bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues all working in harmony together. An osteopath can help you to target problem areas such as your back, including if you’re struggling with sciatica.
In an appointment, an osteopath will want to find the source of the problem and hear more about your general health. They will also complete an examination to see how they can best help you. After an examination, an osteopath will usually use a combination of massage and manipulation techniques to help improve your posture. They might also provide you with some stretches and exercises you can practise between appointments to improve your posture and alleviate strain.
Although health professionals say osteopathy is safe for pregnant women, it’s still advised to get the advice of your GP before booking an appointment. Always make sure that an osteopath is aware that you’re pregnant before your appointment.
4. Pregnancy massage
The extra weight of your baby bump can cause a lot of tension to build up in your back muscles. A pregnancy massage incorporates a variety of massage techniques and is a great way to ease muscular discomfort and muscle tightening that can be experienced throughout the body, including calf muscles, lower back pain and upper back pain. It can also help to reduce swelling and improve circulation. A relaxing massage is also a great way to treat yourself to a rare relaxing moment before your baby arrives, to enjoy some pampering and calm your mind and body before giving birth.
5. Medication for pain relief
If you haven’t found a natural back-ache remedy that works for you or if your back pain becomes very severe, it might be worth consulting your doctor about possible pain relief medications. Your doctor might recommend medication such as acetaminophen or another type of pain relief. Never take medication during your pregnancy without consulting your doctor first as this can be very dangerous for the health of your baby.