If your back pain lasts more than two weeks, it's time to contact your healthcare provider. Call your provider immediately if:
- Your back pain is severe, gets progressively worse, or is caused by trauma.
- Your back pain is accompanied by a fever, vaginal bleeding, or a burning sensation when you pee.
- You've lost feeling in one or both legs, or you suddenly feel uncoordinated or weak.
- You lose sensation in your buttocks, groin, genital area, or your bladder or anus. This could make it hard to pee or have a bowel movement, or, alternatively, cause incontinence.
- You have suddenly worsened lower back pain in the late second or early third trimester. This can be a sign of preterm labor, especially if you didn't have intense back pain previously.
You have pain in your lower back or in your side just under your ribs, on one or both sides. This can be a sign of a kidney infection, especially if you have a fever, nausea, or blood in your urine.
What if I continue to have lower back pain during pregnancy?
Let your provider know if your back pain doesn't respond to the measures above. She can evaluate your situation, discuss treatment options, and refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Some options to consider and discuss with your provider:
Acupuncture may reduce the intensity of back pain during pregnancy. Some studies have demonstrated acupuncture to be superior to physical therapy alone and more effective than standard treatment in many cases. Make sure, however, that the practitioner you choose knows how to do prenatal acupuncture and the areas to avoid.
- Physical therapy can relieve pain and prevent recurring episodes of lower back pain.
- Chiropractic care may be helpful, although there isn't much evidence that it helps with pregnancy-related back pain.
- A maternity belt lessens pain when walking for some women, although the device doesn't help others at all. It may even increase pain for some women. Various maternity support garments have also been shown to improve low back pain in some cases.
- Prescription medication may be necessary for severe pain.