By Maya Ray-Schoenfeld
During pregnancy your body goes through a huge amount of change to accommodate your baby’s growth. While this transformation is amazing and life-affirming, it can also cause a lot of back pain!
As your breasts get heavier, your shoulders may start to round forward and strain your upper back and neck. As your belly gets bigger, your pelvis will start to tilt forward and shift out in front of you. This change in alignment can put a lot of load on your low back muscles.
All this is compounded by the fact that you have a hormone called relaxin coursing through your body that softens the ligaments that generally keep your joints stable!
With all these big body shifts going on, it’s a great time to start a self-massage routine to keep your body balanced.
For your upper back:
- Lean against a wall and place the ball behind your upper back right between your shoulder blade and your spine. Lean into the ball and gently move side to side or up and down. You only need to spend a minute or two in this area and you will start to feel some relief.
For your lower back:
- Lean against the wall and place a ball behind one side of your buttocks. Begin to move from side to side. You can either just lean into the ball once you found an achy spot or continue to move in and out of the sensation. Do both sides.
- Lean against the wall and place two balls right above your pelvis so they are touching each other and running along your spine. Walk your feet forward so they are about a foot from the wall. Begin to bend and straighten your legs so the balls roll up and down along the spine. Continue this work for about a minute or two.
Be gentle and mindful and only spend a few minutes in each spot. Try to not grind out the tension but instead see if you can soften those tight tissues into the ball. Not only will self-massage ease your tight tissues but it will also soothe your nervous system!
Maya Ray is a yoga teacher and Rolfer in Brooklyn. Her upcoming workshop, Align Your Spine & Ease Muscular Tension: Self-Massage for Pregnancy, takes place at Bend + Bloom Yoga on Saturday December 10, 2016 at 3pm.