If you’re pregnant, the odds are you’ve got back pain. Heck, even if you haven’t been pregnant you’ve probably experienced it. However, let’s start where you are now: about 16 weeks is the time in which I’d see many of my clients begin to feel the pain. Generally, it’s in the lower back above the hips. With many other women it feels like an ache or sharp pains at the base of their spine. The bone at the base of the spine is called the sacrum. Many women experience pain directly above it and to the left and right of it. Here it is:
Chances are also high that if you’ve asked for help you have heard the same advice over and over:
“Have you tried yoga?”
“What about a pillow to sleep with between your knees at night?”
“You should get a massage!”
“Try a Tylenol! That’s allowed while you’re pregnant…right?”
I’m sorry, but Tylenol should be sued for false advertising because that stuff doesn’t work. If you experience pain at or around your tailbone, keep reading to learn the single best thing you can do to feel better now.
Here it is:
The very best thing you can do for the pain at your sacrum is applying pressure and holding it there for at least five minutes. FIVE MINUTES!? Omg that’s a decade!
That’s the reaction I get from people when I tell them what I do. That reaction also makes me want to stab my eye out with a fork because here’s the thing: it works. And, it feels sooooooooooo good.
What do I apply pressure with? Anything. If you can reach, with your own hands. If you can’t reach, try a bed post. Or a ball. Or the corner of a wall. (Dr. Suess would be proud.) But really, when I chose my first objects to fix my own back pain, I went to the Target toy section and tested out balls to find my favorites in terms of size and hardness. I sat down on the ground like a weirdo and tested each one out to decide which one I liked best. For the areas around my tailbone, I found that a softball sized ball with slight give to it worked was most appropriate.
Here are your steps to relief:
- Feel around with your fingertips at your sacrum. Locate the areas where it’s sore or tight.
- Sit down on the floor against a wall and prop yourself up against some pillows.
- Place the ball under the area where you’re hurting. Roll around and adjust the ball placement until you find the right spot.
- Put on Netflix.
How much pressure? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning you don’t feel anything and 10 meaning you’re screaming, you want to be at about a five to a seven. If you go too deep you won’t be able to hold it long enough. This can be adjusted by using a softer ball.
When you hit that sweet spot in pressure, you know that it’s helping and you can hang out with it for a while. It is a strange “it hurts so good” feeling that you’ll know when you’re there. Once you’ve found that hurt-so-good spot, set a timer for five minutes and be patient. Once you’ve reached five minutes, take stock of how it feels. Is it still tender there? Then stay. Does it feel pretty ok? Then maybe move the ball over two inches and see if there are other nearby spots that need attention. Get it?
If you are on your own, these tricks with the ball should provide you with a significant amount of relief. I cannot emphasize more than to be extremely careful. If we treat our bodies with respect, the doors to healing will open. Never force; if you aren’t forcing anything, you can’t hurt anything.
There you have it 🙂 This really helped me when I had my pain here too.
Bonus tip: the last thing I’d recommend for the time being is picking up a sacro wedgy. Be sure you pick the pink version for females. This tool helps control sciatica and low back pain during pregnancy by taking some of the pressure off the sciatic nerve as the baby grows. It comes with photos to show how to use it, and you can go to the Sacro Wedgy official website and check out their how-to videos. I’d suggest laying just a minute a day on it to start and gradually work up to 5 minutes with your knees bent. Do not lay on your back for more than 5 minutes–however, every pregnancy is different so please speak to your doctor if you have concerns. This tool can be used while sitting, as well, in case lying on your back is too uncomfortable or not recommended by your doctor in your individual case.