Upper back pain is common during pregnancy. It can occur at any point during the pregnancy term, and is often related to the changes taking place in the mother’s breast tissue.
Causes of Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain During Pregnancy
- Hormones- During pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin, whose primary role is to help soften the tissues and joints of the pelvis in order to allow for childbirth. Though this is true, these hormones affect all the joints and muscles in the body, causing changes in body tension and posture which can translate into pain.
- Poor Posture- slouching and round shoulders can contribute to or cause upper back pain.
- Breast changes- During pregnancy the breasts increase in size, becoming fuller and heavier. This creates pressure on the shoulders, neck and back, pulling on them resulting in pain.
- Weight gain- As your baby grows your weight increases and your back gets strained from supporting the extra weight.
- Improper Lifting- Bending, twisting, heavy lifting and sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to upper back pain.
- Stress- Stress creates tension in the body. The upper back is a very common place to experience stress tension. Try some of our stress relieving tips.
Preventing Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain Before it Begins
- Practice good posture- don’t slouch, be sure to keep your shoulders back and your head up. The weight of your body during pregnancy pulls decidedly foreword. To counterbalance this you need good posture.
- If you are sitting for prolonged periods of time, take breaks at least every half hour.
- Practice safe lifting and bending. To lower your body, bend at the knees instead of the waist. Use your thigh muscles to push yourself back up without using your back.
- Try a pregnancy support belt.
- Exercise regularly to support and strengthen your back.
- Pregnancy massage (prenatal massage) is excellent for keeping your body loose and free of pain.
- Get your partner or friend to practice hands on pregnancy pain relief techniques on your body.
- Chiropractic visits can help prevent back pain.
- Acupuncture can help keep you balanced and prevent aching.
- Prenatal Yoga can help keep your body loose and comfortable.
- Be sure you are getting adequate calcium and magnesium in your diet.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Treatment for Upper Back Pain or Thoracic Pain During Pregnancy
- Use ice or heat.
- Take acetaminophen for pain.
- See a chiropractor, massage therapist or acupuncturist.
- Use a pregnancy belt or support device.
- Have your partner help you with hands on techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief Book.
- Herbal Medicine.
- Take a Warm Bath.
When You Should Call Your Doctor
- Your back pain is very intense.
- Your pain is getting increasingly worse or you have sudden stabbing pain.