5 Best Pregnancy Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

5 Best Pregnancy Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

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hey everybody it’s doctor Jo, and today I
have a special guest with me Doctor Jen, and we’re gonna talk about low back and
pelvic pain during pregnancy. so let’s get started. so Doctor Jen specializes in the pelvic
floor. so this is awesome, that’s why she’s special. she’s actually just a cool
special person anyways, but she’s also pregnant. like it’s not really fair for
me to tell you what to do, but she’s gonna tell you what to do. so tell me a
little bit about what you do in general. so I am a pelvic floor physical
therapist. and what that means is I specialize in treating bowel, bladder, and
sexual dysfunction in men, women, and little kids, and that includes the pre
and post partum population. so I see a lot of women who are dealing with pain,
urinary or bowel issues during and after pregnancy. so a lot of stuff. lots of lots
of stuff. yeah. so today we’re going to talk about low back pain, pelvic pain
during pregnancy cuz I think you kind of know about that. so let’s get started
tell me some things that you experienced in general being pregnant and those
ailments and what can you do to fix them. perfect I think I speak for most women
in their third trimester when I say that there are a lot of changes that happen
in your body. so some of the first things that change
are your hormones. so your hormones are shifting all over the place and during
the first and third trimester is when those hormones are the most variable. so
you may see a woman who has barely gained any weight but is complaining of
significant low back or pelvic pain because she has a special hormone called
relaxin moving her pelvis to get ready for baby. and then that happens a whole
lot more in the third trimester, so those hormonal changes will cause some pain in
general, but the next biggest problem during your third trimester is postural
changes. so the weight of the baby as well as the weakness that occurs in your
belly and your bottom changes the way that you stand and then the way that you
transition. so all of a sudden you’re experiencing pain as you get out of bed,
bend over to pick up a child, tie your shoe. name it it all hurts because our posture has changed. all that weight shifts forward.
yeah. yes exactly, exactly so what we want to do today is talk about how you can
bring that back to it what we would call a neutral posture to help calm down your
pain. awesome. yeah all right so you’re gonna show us some stuff. I’m gonna show you guys my top five exercises for low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. I
just want to mention that these exercises are a balance of both mobility
and stability. so we do want your pelvic girdle to move, but we want it to move
safely and we want it to move pain-free. and then the next category of exercises
that we do are stability or what we call control exercises. to where you can get
your body moving in a pain free range and stable in a pain free range. cool. so
the first thing that I want to do is I want to lie down. now all of that to say
if you are a bigger lady who’s having a harder time lying on your back there are
lots of modifications. you can grab a seat on the edge of the chair you can
prop yourself up on a ton of pillows, but in general it is safe to lie on your
back for short periods of time in the third trimester. so that’s where I want
to start today. so I’m going to go ahead and lie down on my back, and show you both
a mobility and a stability exercise. all right we’re gonna switch roo. right oh
oh oh. see it’s real here, it’s not just me with
a basketball underneath my shirt. it’s part of it okay. so in a relatively relaxed position with your hips and knees bent and feet flat
what, I want you guys to do is connect to your pelvis and your low back. so the
first direction that we really emphasize movement is that what we call a forward
and a backward direction. you can see how she’s coming kind of up and down with
her belly there. pretty cool. yeah. this should be pain-free and initially your
movements may be very very small. so for example a woman who’s having excessive
pain at 39 weeks may only be able to move this much, but any movement is
better than nothing at all. it really is lubrication for those joints. a woman
who’s earlier in her pregnancy may be able to excessively arch and then round
and tuck that bottom under. okay. but I really want
the movement to come from the low back and the pelvic girdle, okay.
so I usually have patients do about five to ten in each direction and trying to
maintain normal breathing during the movement. so dr. Jen while are you’re doing
this, if you have a little bit of increased tightness maybe slight pain in
the beginning but it then decreases is that okay? that is a great question.
absolutely. it may be slightly uncomfortable at first, yes absolutely.
because you’re tight it in there. mm-hmm, easy-peasy.
so we call this an anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. once you return to the
middle. just pointing to where the pelvic tilt is. good. once you return to the
middle, as silly as this exercise may seem, I want you to move your pelvis in
a side to side direction. so imagine for a second that you’re going to draw one
side of your pelvic girdle up towards your armpit, and then bring it back to
that neutral spine. draw the other side up towards your armpit and then come
back towards the middle. again moving through your range comfortably. and by
the end you really should feel as if you’ve gained a little bit of mobility.
this is sometimes something that you can do on a Swiss ball as well. would you do
it while you’re pregnant because a lot of times with low back pain, I’ll have
people get on a Swiss ball or a therapy ball. absolutely. so if you don’t have a
stability ball which is a wonderful option for this exercise, you can always
sit on the edge of your chair with your back unsupported.
so if lying down is problematic. if you have difficulty catching your breath
then get on the edge of the chair and you can do this exact same exercise in
your pain free range of motion. this is what I call the Shakira. yes, yes, it’s
true it’s true. so let’s pair this with a little bit of stability shall? we alright
the core is made up of four muscles: diaphragm, pelvic floor, transversus
abdominus, and our deep multifidus or low back muscles. and they should function
beautifully together to stabilize the spine and pelvis prior to movement.
and so what I want to do is, I want to have you ladies connect with your core.
and so I don’t know what cues you give your patients, but you can just imagine
that you’re gently drawing your baby back towards your spine, you see subtle
flattening of my low back. I’m able to hold and maintain normal breathing which
is key. if you have to hold your breath you’re not doing it right. so I have
patients take a big deep breath nothing happens, setting up the exercise and as you exhale gently draw that baby back
towards your spine. goes down. hold, hold, and relax. it’s a pretty dramatic
difference when you’re in your third trimester, you can really see your abs
activating. if that cue doesn’t work for you, you can imagine that you’re gonna
tighten your inner corset, zip up a tight pair of pants, but regardless minimal movement of the spine and pelvis should occur, and relax.
and I tell people this is all happening here, so you’re not pushing with your
legs, right? it should all be in that core in that pelvic area. so if you feel like
you’re pushing down with your legs or your feet are sliding, you’re probably
not doing it quite right. absolutely. let’s say ladies that you’re
experiencing a little bit of urinary leakage when you cough, or sneeze, or lift
or laugh, during pregnancy. this is a great way to start incorporating your
pelvic floor into your routine. so the ABS should fire and are best friends
with your pelvic floor. so now imagine for example that you’re inhaling and
nothing’s happening, as you exhale you pull that baby back towards your spine,
you won’t be able to see this, but gently lift from the bottom of your core as if
you’re holding back gas or urine, and let go. and trying to connect with those
muscles is key. this is the basis for returning to exercise after pregnancy. it
starts here and then we translate to jumping, bending, jump roping, lunging
squatting, you name it, but you have to master it in a pain
free position here. so again I inhale nothing happens there, exhale pull belly
button to the spine, lift as if you’re holding back gas, continuing to breathe
and relax. always making sure that after a contraction
there’s relaxation. nice. can we progress? yeah let’s do it.
okay awesome. so Dr. Jo, mm-hmm. there’s a huge muscle group in the back of the
pelvic girdle that stabilizes your SI joints, but also
helps to lift your hips and that is? the glutes. so these muscles are key in
preventing low back pain because they stabilize from the back side. so we are
gonna add on to our basic core contraction which was abs in, pelvic
floor lift, and now that movement is gonna occur, I’m gonna squeeze my tushie
as I lift up continuing to breathe and come back down. this is awesome
at the end of the day when you’re feeling excessive pressure in your belly
like everything is being pulled down. you can do a gentle inversion. so inhale
belly gets big, exhale pull that baby and lift the pelvic floor activate those
glutes continuing to breathe and come on down.
easy, easy exercise. if it’s painful, you do not have to go nearly as high. you can
really just get those glutes firing and come up in your safe range. if you’re
feeling good go ahead and activate, lift the pelvic floor, and come up a smidge
higher. I really want you to feel those muscles firing in the back because they
do play such a huge role in stabilizing the pelvis. I usually have patients do
“to tired” just enough to where you feel like your bottom muscles are really
firing and getting a little tired, and then that’s it. sweet. cool. squeeze and
booty muscle. do it. alright. alright let’s change positions and I want to show you
two more things. okay. for my last two exercises, I want to change positions a
little bit. so I want you to know that that basic core exercise you can do in
any position, seated on the edge of the chair,
why don’t you try it while you bend over to pick up your baby carrier. all of
those really basic exercises can become very functional and then like I said you
can get back to running and maintaining normal core activation because you’ve
mastered it and trained your brain to use it appropriately. so at the end of
the day when the back is really feeling strained or those sacroiliac or SI
joints are really feeling irritated, a great position to get in is quadruped,
or all fours. so I’m sure you’ve seen this with dr. Jo before, but what I’m
gonna do is I’m gonna prop onto my hands and my knees and I’m gonna mobilize my
spine and pelvis just like I did lying down. the beauty of this is that gravity
is really gonna help and you’ll get a little resistance to help through that
range, okay. so I’ll go ahead and demonstrate. I’m gonna place my wrist
directly under my shoulders. you guys have heard that before. my knees under my
hips and what happens first and foremost is gravity kind of pulls and my belly
drops and this actually is quite relieving to get the weight away from my
spine. so I can just hang out here and breathe, rest, and get a little bit of
relief from low back pain. but I do challenge you to find that neutral spine
where I’ve activated my core just subtly. okay. and what I want you to do is really work through that range because we want the
pelvis to be mobile and pain-free. remember that it should move but it
should be pain-free, and you should be in control. so as I just inhale I’m gonna
just let gently let my my tail go up towards the ceiling, my belly drop down
towards the floor, getting that excessive arch, and then with my exhale I’m gonna
round up pushing my belly button up towards my spine, trying the best I can
to get some length in the low back and gluteals in general. as pregnant women
this is where we live from postural changes, the weight of the baby, laxity of
the ligaments, like we already talked about. so we really have to challenge
ourselves to be here and then this is the opposite direction which provides
that stretch in that leg in the low backing gluteals. okay. so
again I’m just gonna start pairing that with my breath slowly in my range. it can
be as exaggerated as I’m doing now, or it can be as subtle as something like this.
again about five to ten times in each direction, moving my pelvic girdle, and
then I’m going to come back to neutral. so remember that lateral pelvic tilt I
taught you when you were sitting down? where you draw one side of your pelvis up into
your armpit? we’re going to do that same thing here, and it looks absurd. so I call
this wagging your tail or Shakira, but imagine for a second you’re drawing
one side of the pelvis up. I’m getting length on the left side of my low back and
I’m tightening the right side, coming back to neutral. drawing the left side up,
getting length on the right side of my pelvis, and then coming back to the
middle again. it can be a subtle tail wag. you get a shy dog, or it can be a really
happy tail wag. that would be Bear. it would be Bear. and then come back to
neutral. so for the last pose that I was talking about, the restorative pose, I
want Jo to demonstrate because early in your pregnancy you may be experiencing
low back pain and that is not uncommon, and you’ll be able to do this exercise a
little bit easier than somebody who’s in their third trimester. so the point of
Child’s Pose is one relaxation, but also to get some length in the back of the
spine and the glutes. so Jo has sat her bottom back onto her heels, and now all
you’re gonna do is reach her upper body forward, feeling a good pull in the upper
lower and gluteal region. okay. so you can stay here and spend about two to five
minutes breathing. okay. this is a wonderful position to just get some
length in the low back for a prolonged period of time. okay. and then go ahead
and come on out of that. I’m going to show you a modification if you’re
experiencing a large abdominal girth in the way. so I’m going to scoot over just
a little bit and grab a pillow you can fold it up. with the dog hairs on it.
separate the knees wide because we do have to make room for the belly. bottoms
still back on the heels, and then I’m slowly working myself forward turning my
head to the side, but still trying to get the length in the low back. breathing and
sitting back into that stretch as I can. again it should feel really really great
beginning, middle, or end of your pregnancy. like we talked about, you may
not be able to get in this position. getting down on the floor might be a
little bit of a challenge for you. so seated on the edge of your chair with
your knees wide, you can just gently lean forward trying to get what we call
flexion in the low back in the gluteus. so there’s some good modifications as we
go. the other great thing about Child’s Pose is you can start to connect to your
pelvic floor. as you prepare for delivery, we want your pelvic floor to start to
relax and open, so while you’re in Child’s Pose focusing on your breathing,
you can do that small subtle squeeze, feel the pelvic floor come back down and
live there, so that your body can get to know where it needs to be during
delivery. mm-hmm. so a little trick of the trade there. one thing that I do want to
mention that dr. Jo pointed out was breathing. breathing is everything. if you
are holding your breath you’re doing the exercise incorrectly, and it’s not
functional anymore. so I generally will tell my patients that as you inhale
nothing’s happening, you’re really just setting up the exercise, but all of the
power from your core and the movement is coming with your exhalation. so when we
were on our back we inhale, belly got big, we pulled those abs in. with our exhale
we lifted the hips and that should translate from squatting, bending over to
pick something up, dead lifting, you name it. nice. cool. cool. those are the five all
right. so I I had asked you earlier is there anything that you shouldn’t be
doing while you’re pregnant, certain exercises, certain movements. that’s a
really great question. so in general if it hurts you want to find a way to
modify it. so whether you’re experiencing pain in the front of the pelvic girdle,
the back. really excessive movements of the leg
and the pelvis can be a little bit too much. so think about getting in and out
of your car and really swinging that leg around. you’re gonna want to modify and
limit that because you do have that laxity, but in general, if you were an
active exercise or performing even recreational exercise prior to getting
pregnant, you should and can continue that all during your pregnancy. cool.
however if you get pregnant and that is your motivation to start an exercise
program, don’t do it. find a physical therapist whether they specialize in the
pelvic floor or general orthopedics, and have someone take you through safe
exercises because when you get pregnant is not the time to start a new exercise
routine. lastly if you’re having any difficult, difficulty breathing, primarily
on your back, get off your back. ok. so use common sense, right. be smart but stay
active and moving this is a great time to connect to your body and get your
core a little bit stronger. awesome. oh no contact sports, no scuba diving.
right yeah cuz you just float back up. I think those are, I think those are the
only two big things that you need to avoid. yeah and it’s very important to go
see your physical therapist even if it’s just for an evaluation because someone
like dr. Jen is gonna give you all that information and make sure you’re doing
it correctly, even if you just go one time, then at least you know you’re doing
it the right way instead of just doing it. absolutely. yeah. absolutely so there
you have it. those were some exercises for low back pain and pelvic pain during
pregnancy. so if you’d like to help support my channel click on the link
above, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking right down there. and remember
be safe, have fun, yeah, and I hope you feel better soon!

90 thoughts on “5 Best Pregnancy Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”


  2. Thank u soooo much to both of u doctors ,, looking forward to try these when get pregnant 🤗🙈 dr.Jo ur videos are simply great and useful ❤ we love u ❤❤❤🌸🌸😗

  3. I have had lower back pain for 2 days. I tried Tylenol and a massage pad and the pain stayed. I watched this video and just got on the ground and did it and there was instant relief. Unbelievable, how well it worked for this 15 weeks along pregnant lady. How many times a day do you suggest to do it?

  4. I have an excessive backpain even my weight not increase too much, and it is just my 22 weeks pregnancy. I try this exercise and it really help a lot. Thanks Doctor❤

  5. 35 weeks, desperate for lower back relief! Will do these exercises as much as possible to help strengthen my body back up. I'm sure it will also help when its time to go into labor! Super relaxing movements.

  6. i dont know why but somehow its work on me😭 im happy but im crying..my back pain slowly reduce🥺 thank you sooo much❤️ will keeping watching this everytime

  7. i can't wait to try😭😭😭 I can't walk is my third pregnancy back lower pain and also when sleep on one side and want to turn another side 😢😢😢I feel like crying … thanks to God is my last born😢😢😢
    thanks a lot😍😍😍😍😍

  8. This is fantastic! Im 6 months preggo and back is always killing me. This helped relieve me right away! I cant believe it!

  9. Thank you both. My lower has been so stiff and painful for the past 2days. I’ll definitely be trying these exercises.

  10. I'm 20 weeks pregnant and I was suffering a terrible lower back pain for 1 week. I've done these exercises just once and a miracle happened 😍 instant relief… I have no words to thank you. ❤

  11. It’s 4:00 am the pain in my back was killing me just got done doing this exercise now going back to sleep. Yaay it really works thank you so much ladies.

  12. 24 weeks pregnant and currently loving these stretches. I swear my back is killing me after a long day and this really helps.

  13. Haven’t been here since I first got pregnant ! 39 weeks as of today. You are very knowledgeable , thanks for the video ♥️👶🏻💜🤰🏼

  14. Thank you for this video!! I've been in a lot of pain recently and after doing it once I already felt huge relief!🙏🏼

  15. So im just starting my 3rd trimester and my back hurts a lot when I lay down even with a pillow under my back is there anything I can do to fix it

  16. I'm 23 weeks and have fibroids 7cms and 8cms posterior and anterior. Are these exercises safe for me? I'm experiencing back pain these days. Thank you!

  17. Hi, great video ladies many thanks 🙏 I’m currently planning my holiday I will be 18weeks pregnant, do you think it will be okay if I go snorkeling with my husband? I love snorkeling and that wouldn’t be to hard even with a belly, but what do you think 🤔?

  18. Thank you so much!!! It really gave a relief from back pain in 37 weeks which was unbearable specially at night time. Thanks and God bless you both🙂

  19. I am 11 weeks pregnant and I am having lower back pain and upper back pain on and off ..can I do these exercises ?

  20. Hi,I don't work out and my body hurts ever day belly area and back hurts alot.what should I do I'm 33 weeks iam tired of this it's my first baby at age 35

  21. My first pregnancy and entering my 2nd trimester.. This is so informative thanks to both of you Doc Jo and Jen 🙏

  22. well how can these exercises be done using a chair. when sleeping feel heavy on the chest and experience breathlessness.

  23. Thanks my dear doctors. It’s very helpful. God bless you easy time in every moment of your life🙏🙏🙏😍😍😍

  24. Thank you so much! I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have been having such bad pain in my SI joint, it hurts just to walk. Forget about bending over to pick anything up 🙁 I get a sharp pain when I sit cross legged or lift my leg to put underwear/pants/shoes on. Generally my back aches and is tight. I need serious help. I’m excited to try these exercises

  25. Dr. Jo and Dr. Jen!!!!! THANK YOU BOTH so much!!!! I needed this video. This will give my husband some rest with massaging my lower back. Lol

    Also, I feel my pain is extremely deep in my lower back. I'm guessing it maybe in my QL area on the right. When I do the pelvic tilts it's extremely painful but i feel like it's targeting those areas. Continuing on these stretches should help right?

    Thanks again so much! Im in my 2nd semester!!♥️♥️♥️♥️

  26. I’m going to try this, I’m 26 weeks pregnant and my lower back started hurting yesterday, it’s hard to walk and I have so much to do and can’t get anything done 😭

  27. My pain was relieved by the end of this video, thank you so much! Hopefully I will sleep better tonight and I will continue this tomorrow and each day from now. I am 36wks + 2 and have been suffering with bad back, sides etc unable to comfortably lie, sit and stand now for the past week. Hopefully this will help. Thanks for sharing.

  28. An issue some women may experience after pregnancy is Diastasis Recti, which is when your “six pack” ab muscles separate vertically. Here's a video that may help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjIX_v4gGeM

  29. I'm on my 3rd-trimester and these 5 step helps me a lot! I'll recommend this to my preggo friend that suffering from back pain and all. Thank u!

  30. ⭐⭐ Leaving a Question or Comment? ⭐⭐
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  31. 20 weeks here… used to be much more active than I’ve been while pregnant. My fiancé has been nagging me to do prenatal yoga for my own good and I’ve brushed it off until now that I’m experiencing lower back pain 🤦🏻‍♀️ wish I would have been more proactive.

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