Pregnancy can bring about many changes to the body, including aches and pains that can make it difficult for a pregnant woman to find relief.
One common issue is back pain, which may be relieved by cracking one’s back.
While this may seem like a simple solution, certain precautions must be taken to crack your back safely while pregnant.
This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to crack your back while pregnant and tips for other methods of relieving back pain during pregnancy!
Safe Ways to Crack Your Back While Pregnant
Learning safe ways to crack your back while pregnant is essential for getting much-needed relief without risking severe injury.
Let’s take a look at some of the safest ways!
1. Perform gentle stretches
Doing gentle stretches is one of the safest ways to crack your back while pregnant. Start by standing up straight and arching your back slightly while lifting your arms over your head.
At the same time, take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you release the pose. Be sure to keep your movements slow and controlled for a gentle stretch and avoid overdoing it.
Don’t worry… we’ll get into more detail about the best stretches for pregnancy later in the piece.
2. Use a foam roller
Foam rollers effectively provide temporary relief from back pain during pregnancy, as they help realign the joints in your spine.
To use a foam roller, lay down on the roller with your shoulders supported by the floor and slowly roll up and down your spine.
Make sure to avoid any areas that are tender or uncomfortable.
3. Try an assisted crack
An assisted crack is when another person (often a chiropractor) helps you achieve a deeper stretch than you could do on your own.
To get an assisted crack, ask someone else to put gentle pressure on your back while you arch in the opposite direction.
This will help stretch the muscles and joints in your back, relieving pressure.
4. Use a yoga ball
Sit straight on top of the ball and slowly rock forward, stretching out your spine. You can also use your arms for extra support or stability if needed.
Make sure to adjust your positioning on the ball until you feel relief from any areas of muscle tension or soreness in your back.
For added benefit and mobility, rotate to one side, back to center, and then over to the other while rocking forward slowly on the ball.
5. Have your partner roll a tennis ball on your back
If you’re pregnant and looking to have your partner roll a tennis ball on your back to help crack it, here are some brief instructions to follow:
- Find a comfortable and safe space: Choose a spacious and soft area, like a carpeted floor or bed, where you can lie down comfortably.
- Lie down on your back: Lay on your back with your knees bent, allowing your partner to access your back easily.
- Position the tennis ball: Have your partner place a tennis ball on a specific area of your back where you feel tension or discomfort. You can start with the lower back, as it commonly carries more strain during pregnancy.
- Apply gentle pressure: Instruct your partner to use their hands and apply gentle pressure on the tennis ball, rolling it in a slow and controlled motion. They can use their palms, fingers, or knuckles to press the tennis ball against your back.
- Communicate your comfort level: While your partner rolls the tennis ball on your back, communicate any discomfort or sensitivity you experience. You should never feel excessive pain during this process.
- Encourage longer, slower strokes: Encourage your partner to roll the tennis ball in longer, slower strokes rather than quick movements. This will help target specific areas and provide a more effective cracking sensation.
- Continue rolling and adjusting: Have your partner continue rolling the tennis ball on different areas of your back, making small adjustments as needed. If you have problem areas, spend a bit more time there.
- Take breaks and relax: Remember to take breaks in between rolling sessions. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help you unwind during these breaks.
Exercises & Yoga Stretches for Pregnancy Back Pain Relief
Because of your body’s changes, you’re no stranger to aches and pains, am I right? Particularly pregnancy back pain.
Fortunately, both exercises and yoga positions can help provide relief and keep the body strong throughout the pregnancy.
Let’s dive in!
1. Pelvic Tilts
Pelvic tilts focus on mobilizing and stabilizing the pelvis and lower back, relieving tension and promoting flexibility.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Find a comfortable position: Start by finding a comfortable position to perform the pelvic tilts. You can either stand with your back against a wall or get down on your hands and knees.
2. Align your body: Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart if you’re standing, or your knees should be aligned with your hips if you’re on all fours. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders if you’re on the floor.
3. Engage your core: Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, gently engage your abdominal muscles and pull your belly button towards your spine. This will help activate your core muscles.
4. Tilt your pelvis forward: While maintaining the engagement of your core, slowly tilt your pelvis forward by arching your lower back. Imagine that you are trying to bring your pubic bone towards your belly button. This will create a slight curve in your lower back.
5. Tilt your pelvis backward: Now, slowly tilt your pelvis backward by rounding your lower back. Imagine that you are tucking your tailbone underneath you. This will flatten the curve in your lower back.
6. Repeat the movement: Continue to move between tilting your pelvis forward and backward, finding a comfortable range of motion. Take it slow and focus on the stretch and release of your lower back muscles.
7. Aim for a rhythmic motion: Try to create a smooth and rhythmic motion as you perform pelvic tilts. Remember to breathe naturally throughout the exercise.
8. Do sets and repetitions: Start off with a few sets of 10 repetitions, gradually increasing as you feel more comfortable.
2. Table-Supported Cat-Cow Pose
The Table-Supported Cat-Cow Pose helps to mobilize and stretch the spine, relieving tension and promoting flexibility. It also engages the core muscles and improves posture.
Perform this exercise smoothly and with control, coordinating your breath with each movement: inhale for Cow pose, exhale for Cat pose.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Find a comfortable space: Start by finding a quiet and comfortable space where you can stretch out on a flat surface, like a yoga mat or carpeted floor. Ensure the area is clear of any obstacles or objects.
- Get into a tabletop position: Come onto all fours with your hands stacked directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Make sure your fingers are spread wide for better stability.
- Align your body: Maintain a neutral spine by keeping your back flat rather than rounded or arched. Engage your core muscles gently to support your lower back.
- Prepare for Cat Pose: Inhale deeply while looking forward, lifting your chest slightly, and allowing your belly to hang downwards. Maintain a relaxed but stable posture to support your growing baby.
- Transition to Cow Pose: As you exhale, gently round your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your tailbone and chin inwards. Feel the stretching sensation along your spine while keeping the movement slow and controlled.
- Repeat the movement: Inhale to come back to the neutral tabletop position, and then exhale while rounding your spine again. Continue this gentle back-and-forth movement, coordinating your breath with each movement.
- Maintain a slow pace: Keep the pace of your Cat-Cow movement slow and rhythmic. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements that could strain your muscles or ligaments.
- Focus on your breathing: While performing the Cat-Cow Pose, focus on taking deep breaths in and out. Inhale during the Cow pose, allowing your belly to expand, and exhale during the Cat pose, gently contracting your abdominal muscles.
- Perform several reps: Aim to perform 5-10 rounds of Cat-Cow Pose, or adjust the number according to your comfort level. Listen to your body and be mindful of any discomfort or pain.
- Modify as needed: If you experience any discomfort or difficulty performing the exercise, you can modify it to suit your needs. For instance, you can reduce the range of motion or perform the movement while seated on an exercise ball.
3. Knee to Chest Stretch
The Knee to Chest stretch is a beneficial stretch for cracking the back and providing relief during pregnancy. It involves lying on your back with your legs extended.
The Knee to Chest stretch helps to stretch the muscles in the lower back and hips, relieving tension and promoting flexibility. It can also help alleviate lower back pain and improve overall posture.
Here’s how to do it:
- Find a comfortable position: Begin by finding a comfortable position to perform the knee to chest stretch. You can lie down on your back or choose a supported sitting position.
- Start with a bent knee position: If you’re lying down, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor or bed. If you’re sitting, sit on the edge of a chair or on a stability ball with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
- Bring one knee towards your chest: Slowly bring one knee toward your chest by grasping behind your thigh or at the back of your knee. Use your hands to gently pull your knee closer to your body.
- Maintain a relaxed upper body: Keep your upper body relaxed and avoid tensing your shoulders or neck during the stretch. Take a few deep breaths to enhance relaxation.
- Hold the stretch: Hold the knee to chest position for about 15-30 seconds, focusing on a gentle but noticeable stretch in your lower back and hips.
- Release and repeat: Slowly release the stretched leg back to the starting position and repeat the stretch on the other side. Aim for a balanced stretch on both sides of your body.
- Do sets and repetitions: Start with a few sets of 2-3 repetitions on each side, gradually increasing as you feel comfortable.
- Modify if needed: If lying on your back becomes uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses, you can also perform this stretch while lying on your side or with the assistance of a pregnancy support pillow.
4. Glute Bridge
The Glute Bridge exercise involves lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
The Glute Bridge primarily targets the glute muscles but also engages the lower back and core muscles. It helps to strengthen the posterior chain, improve hip stability, and alleviate tension in the lower back.
It is important to perform this exercise with control, avoid overarching the lower back, and adjust the range of motion based on comfort.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Find a comfortable surface: Lie down on your back on a yoga mat, carpet, or any other padded surface that provides support.
- Bend your knees: Keep your feet flat on the ground and bend your knees, ensuring they are hip-width apart. This position should feel comfortable for your baby bump.
- Relax your upper body: Rest your arms alongside your body, palms facing down, and try to keep your upper body relaxed throughout the exercise.
- Engage your core: Gently contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your lower back and protect it as you perform the glute bridges.
- Lift your hips: Exhale as you press your feet into the ground and lift your hips upward. Try to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, engaging your glutes and core. Avoid excessive arching of your back or straining your neck.
- Hold for a second: Pause for a second at the top of the bridge, making sure to maintain a comfortable position.
- Lower your hips: Inhale as you slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position. Ensure that your back remains in a neutral position throughout the movement.
- Repeat: Aim for 10-15 repetitions of glute bridges, taking breaks as needed. Gradually increase the number of repetitions over time if comfortable.
5. Spinal Roll
The Spinal Roll is a beneficial exercise for cracking the back and providing relief during pregnancy. It involves sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
The Spinal Roll helps to mobilize and stretch the entire spine, relieving tension and promoting flexibility. It is important to perform this exercise smoothly and without any jerking movements, adapting it to your comfort level.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Find a comfortable seating position: Start by sitting on the edge of a chair, stool, or exercise ball, ensuring that your feet are firmly placed on the floor.
- Stabilize your core: Engage your core muscles by gently pulling your belly button towards your spine. This will help maintain stability during the exercise.
- Relax your shoulders: Allow your shoulders to relax and drop away from your ears, promoting a better posture and reducing tension.
- Exhale and round your back: Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, slowly and gently begin to round your back. Start from your tailbone, continuing up towards the upper back and head.
- Continue rolling forward: As you exhale, continue the rolling motion, moving your torso forward towards your thighs. Feel the stretch along your spine as you go.
- Inhale and reverse the motion: Once you have rolled as far as you comfortably can, take a deep breath in and start reversing the motion. Begin to sit back up, slowly unrolling your spine from your head down to your tailbone.
- Repeat the exercise: Repeat the Spinal Roll exercise as needed, ensuring to move at a comfortable pace and never pushing your body beyond its limits.
6. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose stretch is a beneficial yoga pose that can provide relief and assist in cracking the back for pregnant women. It involves sitting on the knees and bending forward, bringing the torso down towards the thighs while extending the arms in front or alongside the body.
One of the main advantages of the child’s pose stretch during pregnancy is its ability to stretch and release tension in the lower back gently.
As the growing belly can cause discomfort and strain in this area, this stretch helps to alleviate these sensations and promote relaxation.
Moreover, the child’s pose stretch enables pregnant women to open up the hips and stretch the muscles of the buttocks and thighs.
This can be particularly beneficial as the body undergoes hormonal changes and additional weight during pregnancy, which can lead to tightness and discomfort in these areas.
Here’s how to perform Child’s Pose safely:
- Start by kneeling on the floor (you may use a cushion or yoga mat for extra support). Keep your knees hip-width apart and lower your buttocks down towards your heels.
- Slowly lean forward, allowing your belly to rest between your thighs.
- Extend your arms forward, resting them on the floor in front of you, palms facing down. Allow your forehead to gently rest on the mat.
- Take slow, deep breaths, focusing on relaxing your back and letting it gently stretch.
- Maintain this position for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or longer if you’re comfortable.
- To release, slowly walk your hands back towards your body and sit up, ensuring you do so gradually and mindfully.
7. Figure 4 Stretch
The Figure 4 stretch is a beneficial stretch for pregnant women. It targets the hips and lower back, relieving tension and discomfort.
Crossing one ankle over the opposite knee and gently pressing the raised knee down helps release tightness in the glutes and hip muscles.
This stretch can also alleviate lower back pain and improve posture and alignment.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Find a comfortable seated position, either on the edge of a chair or on the floor with back support.
2. Bend your left leg and place your left ankle just above your right knee, creating a “Figure 4” shape.
3. Keep your left foot flexed to protect your knee joint.
4. Gently press your left knee away from your body using your left hand, while keeping your back straight and tall.
5. At the same time, turn your upper body to the right, using your right hand placed on the back of your chair or the floor for support.
6. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle opening in your lower back and buttocks.
7. Release the stretch slowly and repeat on the other side, by switching the positions of your legs.
8. Remember to breathe deeply and relax throughout the stretch.
8. Standing Open Book
In this stretch, you stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Standing Open Book pose primarily targets the muscles in the mid-back and spine, providing a gentle twist that helps to release tension and promote flexibility.
It can alleviate discomfort and stiffness commonly experienced during pregnancy.
The Standing Open Book pose also helps to improve posture and strengthen the core muscles.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, ensuring you have enough space around you for movement.
- Place your hands on your lower back, fingertips pointing downwards, with fingers spread apart for support.
- Slowly rotate your upper body to the left, as if you were opening a book, while keeping your lower body facing forward.
- Gently twist your torso further until you feel a comfortable stretch along your spine, avoiding any excessive range of motion. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds, focusing on keeping your balance and breathing deeply.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the same steps, this time rotating your upper body to the right.
- Perform 2-3 sets of this stretch on each side, gradually increasing the range of motion if it feels comfortable. Remember to maintain proper posture throughout the stretch, keeping your shoulders relaxed and core engaged.
9. Side-Lying Open Book
The Side-Lying Open Book stretch involves lying on your side with your knees bent and arms outstretched in front of you.
This stretch targets the muscles in the mid-back and spine, helping to alleviate tension and improve flexibility.
- Find a comfortable spot: Lie on your side on a firm surface such as a mat or your bed, with your knees slightly bent.
- Positioning: Place a pillow between your knees and another one to support your head. This will help align your spine and provide support.
- Stretch your arms: Extend your arms out in front of you, keeping them stacked on top of each other.
- Open the top arm: Slowly rotate your top arm, opening it up and allowing it to rest on the bed behind you. Keep your head facing forward throughout this movement.
- Breathe and relax: Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, allow your body to sink into the rotation, feeling a gentle stretch in your back.
- Hold the stretch: Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, or until you feel relief in your back.
10. Thoracic Extension
The Thoracic Extension pose involves sitting on a chair or stability ball with your hands clasped behind your head or crossed over your chest.
Thoracic extension targets the upper and middle back, promoting improved posture, flexibility, and relief from tension.
- Find a comfortable position: Sit on a stable and firm chair or exercise ball, ensuring your back is upright and supported.
- Maintain good posture: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Engage your core and relax your shoulders.
- Interlock your fingers: Bring your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers. Your elbows should be pointing forward.
- Extend backward: Gently lean back from your hips, using your hands to support the back of your head. Be careful not to arch your lower back.
- Breathe and relax: Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, focus on extending your upper back further while keeping your neck and lower back stable.
- Hold the stretch: Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in your thoracic spine. Remember to avoid any pain or discomfort.
- Repeat as needed: Relax for a moment and repeat this extension stretch 2-3 times, gradually increasing the range of motion if it feels comfortable.
Other Ways to Relieve Pregnancy Back Pain
In addition to gently stretching and cracking your back, there are other ways to reduce back pain during pregnancy.
Here are some tips:
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise helps keep your muscles strong and flexible and can help relieve back pain by strengthening core muscles. Try low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, and yoga.
- Wear supportive shoes: Wearing shoes with good arch support can help reduce back pain during pregnancy by reducing the strain on your feet and legs.
- Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your left side is the best position for pregnant women, as it reduces the strain on your back and decreases the chances of stillbirth or reduced fetal growth. Invest in a good pregnancy pillow to support your growing bump and ensure you are comfortable throughout the night.
- Practice proper posture: Good posture can help reduce back pain during pregnancy by taking pressure off of your lower back. Stand up straight with your shoulders back, chin up, and tummy tucked in.
Following the tips above can help reduce your pregnancy back pain and keep your body healthy. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan!
You Shouldn’t Crack Your Back If…
• You have been advised by your doctor not to do so
• You feel pain or discomfort when performing the stretches
• You have any pre-existing back or joint conditions
• You are experiencing contractions
• You experience any other symptoms that may indicate a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it OK to use a heating pad on my back while pregnant?
Generally speaking, using a heating pad on your lower back during pregnancy is considered safe if used in moderation. Ask your doctor or midwife for specifics as guidelines may vary depending on your particular situation.
Can twisting while pregnant harm the baby?
Twisting can put a lot of pressure on the stomach and uterus, potentially leading to discomfort or even harm to both mother and baby. Many healthcare professionals recommend avoiding deep twists altogether while pregnant and instead opting for more gentle stretches, such as side bend poses, to help heal any aches throughout the pregnancy.
Why do my bones crack more when pregnant?
Pregnancy places additional strain on the bones, ligaments, and muscles of the body, often resulting in audible joint cracking and popping.
During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin are produced which relax the joints by increasing their laxity.
This can cause instability in certain joints, causing them to crack or pop when even small amounts of pressure are applied.
Can I do twists in the first trimester?
Generally speaking, a twist or torquing movement is not recommended during any part of pregnancy. This includes side bends and rotation of the torso like arm circles. These movements can cause tension in the abdominal muscles and uterus, putting stress on the baby.