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All About Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

If you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy, you are not alone; more than 50% of pregnant women experience the same. Most pregnant women feel pain in their lower back during pregnancy, but upper back pain is rare. Lower back pain is a matter of concern as it can restrict your mobility during pregnancy. Find out the actual reason for the upper back pain during pregnancy, which will help you treat it right. Here is a quick outlook on what you must know about upper back pain in pregnancy and ways to relieve it for a pain-free pregnancy.

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What Is Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Upper back pain is a dull pain that develops into intense pain as the day ends for expecting mothers. You may experience lower back pain on one side and some on either side. It is a sharp pain in the upper back, mainly during the 1st and 3rd trimesters. This is due to the growing body and hormonal changes during pregnancy. The pain gets even worse when you stand all day on your feet.

What Causes Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Each body is different, and you may experience upper back pain during pregnancy due to the growing baby and the pressure it puts on the body's muscles. The following can also be one of the causes of your back pain during pregnancy.

Change in Centre of Gravity: When you’re baby grows inside, the uterus grows as well to accommodate the growing baby. This puts extra pressure on your back muscles, causing back pain.

Hormonal Changes: Hormones play a key role in preparing your body for pregnancy. Relaxing, a pregnancy hormone, not only makes your body ready for delivery but also results in side effects like muscle spasms, body aches and back pain.

Stress: Stress during pregnancy can also be a potential cause of upper back pain.

Weight Gain: It is common for pregnant women to gain weight during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, which puts extra pressure on the upper back.

Enlargement of the Breast: During pregnancy, your breasts enlarge due to hormonal changes. This puts pressure on the chest and creates strain on your upper back.

How To Ease Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Here are ways to relieve your upper back pain during pregnancy.

  • You can opt for a massage done by a professional massage therapist who can help relieve the pain in the upper back during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before you opt for a massage.
  • You can offer both warm or hard compress on your back that can ease the pain.
  • If the pain is unbearable, then your doctor might prescribe you certain pain-relieving medicines that are safe to consume during pregnancy.
  • Practising low-intensity exercises like walking can ease the upper pain. Consult your doctor before you start to exercise.
  • Go for simple stretches that do not put too much pressure on the abdomen. Doorway pectoral stretching and scapular retraction are safe stretches that can help eliminate the pain.
  • When you experience upper back pain, check your sitting and standing posture. Make sure you keep your chest and shoulders high when standing. Keep your feet flat on the ground with proper lumbar support when sitting.

When To Call Your Doctor?

Generally, upper back pain during pregnancy is not a serious issue. You must look for the symptoms, and if the pain becomes worse and affects your daily activities, then you must consult your doctor immediately. Back pain might be a serious issue in certain conditions. It can also be a symptom of liver disease or a lung infection. You must rush to your doctor immediately when you suffer upper right shoulder pain. This can be due to high pressure, which can lead to preterm labour.

Also Read : How to handle leg cramps during pregnancy

Ways To Prevent Upper Back Pain During Pregnancy

Prevention is always better than cure, so pregnant women must make certain changes in their lifestyle that help to avoid upper back pain during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

  • Expecting mothers must maintain proper posture during pregnancy.
  • If you stand longer, try distributing weight equally on both legs. You can also place one foot on a step stool and alternate the feet after some time.
  • If you’re pregnant and working for long hours on a computer, then it is a must to sit on a chair with lumbar support. Use a lumbar support pillow that relaxes your upper back when you sit for long hours.
  • Sleeping on your side during the second and third trimesters can help prevent upper back pain.
  • Be careful when lifting heavy weights during pregnancy. Always bend your knees and not your back when lifting heavy objects. This avoids pressure on your back.
  • Keep your body flexible throughout your pregnancy. Regular exercise can strengthen your back muscles, thereby preventing back pain.
  • Wearing supportive shoes and an appropriate bra provides proper spine alignment.

The above gives a clear overview of things you must know about upper back pain during pregnancy. Understanding and addressing upper back pain during pregnancy is crucial for maternal well-being. Proper posture, exercises and prenatal care can alleviate discomfort, ensuring a healthier pregnancy journey.


1. Why does my upper back hurt so much during pregnancy?

The upper back hurts during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Other reasons for experiencing too much pain in the upper back are weight gain, growing chest and growing uterus

2. What is the best position to relieve back pain during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, you must maintain the right posture to relieve back pain. Sleep on your sides so the growing baby does not put extra pressure on the back. Stand upright without bending your chest or shoulders. Maintain the right sitting posture with proper lumbar support. All this can help you relieve the pain.

3. When should I be concerned about back pain during pregnancy?

You must be concerned about back pain during pregnancy if the pain is unbearable and it disrupts your daily routine. If the pain persists for longer and it's severe, visit your doctor immediately. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain shifts to your upper shoulder, as it can be likely due to high blood pressure.

4. What is the remedy for back pain during pregnancy?

Some safe home remedies can help ease your back pain during pregnancy. A warm or cold compress can help ease the upper back pain. Prenatal massage can help relieve the muscle spasms caused by the extra pressure on the growing baby.

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