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Outsmart Pregnancy-Related Back Pain: Take the Yoga Obstacle
Congratulations! You're pregnant. Depending on your circumstances, you may have waited years for this moment. Now you're eagerly (and a bit impatiently?) awaiting the new addition to your family. Perhaps when you envisioned this joyous time in your life, you failed to take into consideration a few of the details, like that lower back pain you may be feeling right now?
Many women naturally assume that back pain and pregnancy go together like a baby and a rattle. But, you don't really need to accept it. You can outwit it. True, there are solid physical reasons you may be feeling that twinge in your lower back. Your body's going through changes, not only hormonal fluctuations, but other physiological ones as well. While you can't do anything about the changes themselves, you can take measures to alleviate them.
Before we even talk about what you can do to alleviate the pain (and hopefully give you a bit more energy in the process), let's look at what your body is going through right now. You have another living growing human being inside you, demanding more room by the day. It seems obvious, but your body is making adjustments it may never have had to make before. This is such a natural process, though, that many times, you may just overlook what's truly happening to your body.
It really is nothing less than a miracle. The word miracle has been bandied about quite a bit. But the way in which the female body adjusts to the growth of her baby still qualifies as nothing less than a miracle. Actually there are more adjustments occurring than you may even realize. Your uterus is expanding, thanks to the growing baby, which triggers a series of physiological changes in your body.
This growth definitely shifts your center of gravity, the area of your body crucial in maintaining your balance. For the most part, your center of gravity is located in the area of your hips, lower back and abdominal muscles. In essence, it's the point around which your body weight is evenly distributed. It's easy to see, then, how a pregnancy could change that.
In addition to your shifting center of gravity, the abdominal muscles around your uterus also weaken as the organ enlarges and pushes on both the muscles and surrounding tissues. While this loosening of the muscles seems harmless enough, it actually has several secondary implications. Your abdominal muscles, which eventually will be nearly stretched to their limits, frankly, aren't equipped to withstand the entire weight of the uterus. You can tell when this happens because this area will hurt.
But if that weren't enough, remember those hormonal changes you're going through (I know, you can't forget, you're living with them!)? They also add to the back pain, believe it or not, by loosening your joints as well as ligaments attached to your pelvic bones and your spine. The result? You probably feel somewhat less stable. It can also cause you pain when you walk, stand or even sit for any length of time. You may also feel pain when you roll over in your bed (that doesn't even seem fair, now does it?), get out of the bathtub or try to rise from a low chair.
Now Here Comes Another Revelation. Not all pregnancy-related back pain is the same. It's true! Basically, there are two types of pain you may develop. The first is lumbar pain, which occurs around the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back. While many pregnant women develop this, it's not solely their complaint. You may have even been experiencing this pain before you became pregnant.
It's characterized by a pain over and around the spine that's about level with your waistline (or where your natural waistline was before pregnancy!) it may also radiate down to your legs. You can tell if your pain is of the lumbar variety simply by gauging how you feel when you sit for any period of time. Sitting or evening standing for long periods of time may increase the intensity of this pain. You may also feel it more when you lift something. Additionally, if it seems as if it's feeling worse by the end of the day, it's a good bet you're experiencing lumbar pain.
Posterior Pelvic: The Other Type of Pain
If these attributes don't adequately describe the pain you feel, then maybe you're experiencing posterior pelvic pain. This is actually more common in pregnant women than the lumbar pain. It's characterized by a pain deep inside your buttocks. It may affect just one side or it could affect both or it may appear as a discomfort in your thighs.
You probably find that when you walk, or climb stairs it worsens. This is natural. This is the type of pain we talked about earlier. It hurts to get out of the bathtub or a low-to-the ground chair. Just sitting in a chair - any chair -- may worsen posterior pelvic pain, simply because you're bent at the waist.
So you believe you're stuck with back pain? Outwit your body!
Many pregnant women take a deep breath and resign themselves to back pain. They assume it's the price to be paid for the birth of their child. Perhaps there's some logic here. But the good news is that you don't have to live the rest of the nine months with this pain - regardless of the changes in your body. The answer to the pain comes in the form of one word: yoga. Okay, let's make it two words "prenatal yoga." Now, you may not think you, along with that bundle you're carrying, may be up to twisting yourself like a pretzel. You may be thinking you'd be doing more harm than good to your baby.
While that's the stereotypical, even comical, impression you may have of yoga. That's really far from the truth. And it especially doesn't apply to yoga you perform while you're pregnant exericse. As you can probably surmise from the name, it's a form of exercise especially created specifically for pregnant women. You'll discover a wealth of benefits which will improve your quality of life during these nine months. Just what can you expect from this set of exercises? Quite a bit, actually.
1. Eases back pain.
Yes, yoga in effect outwits pregnancy-related back pain. Cool, isn't it? On top of that, a related benefit is better posture. Yes, your parents always told you to stand straighter. Now, you'll discover you'll automatically be doing this simply be going through these postures. Prenatal yoga, additionally, has poses especially created to help stretch the muscles and tissues that surround your hips, hamstrings and lower back. Within several sessions (if not the first), you'll notice a dramatic improvement in your pain.
2. Increases your energy; decreases your overall aches.
You know exactly what I'm talking about. Some women from the moment they conceive feel that vague, irritating feeling of fatigue. It zaps your motivation to do... well, just about everything. Depending on how bad you're feeling it, you may even think twice before getting out of bed in the morning. By performing these exercises, you'll gain more energy and notice a distinct reduction in those aches you've been feeling.
3. Improves spinal alignment.
You think there's nothing wrong with your spinal alignment. With that growing bundle of joy inside you, it's hard not to have a few issues with your spine. Have you noticed that it's difficult to find the perfect sleeping position now that you're pregnant? This mother exericse is due to... yes, you guessed it, your shifting spinal alignment. Once you begin your prenatal yoga classes you'll discover that finding that restful pose at night isn't all that difficult and you'll be getting a much more restful sleep at night.
4. Decreases pregnancy-related joint inflammation
Perhaps this is something you may not have associated with your condition. But a regular yoga routine helps to reduce inflammation by boosting your blood's circulation. Your body will be pumping more oxygen throughout your entire body. (By the way, this increased delivery of oxygen also helps relieve fatigue).
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