How pregnancy can affect your lower back?

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How pregnancy can affect your lower back?

Back pain during pregnancy is very common, affecting approximately 50 percent to 80 percent of pregnant women. It can range from mild pain associated with certain activities to chronic severe pain

Causes for this pain

There are several injury mechanisms that can lead to pregnancy-related LBP. During pregnancy, there are changes in facial joints, back muscles and joints.

Weight gain during pregnancy changes uterine load and body mechanics. This increases the stress on the lower back and shifts the center of gravity forward. Postural changes can be used to compensate for previous changes, causing additional lordosis. This increases the natural curvature of the spine, increasing the mechanical stress on the lower back. It also puts additional stress on the intervertebral disc, possibly leading to compression of the entire spine.

Another contributor is pregnancy-related weight gain. On average, it is about 11-15 kilograms during pregnancy.  Weight increases the amount of force placed on the joint, shifts the center of gravity, and forces the patient to tilt the pelvis anteriorly. The shift out of the center of gravity will lead women to move their heads and upper body over their pelvis, causing hyper-lordosis of the lumbar spine. This in turn puts additional stress on the intervertebral discs, ligaments and facet joints and can lead to joint inflammation.  In addition, the abdominal muscles are stretched and weak and extra weight can compress the lumbosacral plexus.

When you stretch, the muscles get tired and lose their ability to maintain proper posture, and the lower back supports most of the weight of the growing body.

Hormonal

A significant number of women experience pain during the first trimester of pregnancy. At that point, mechanical changes still do not play a significant role in causing pain. This shows that hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling and pain in the back. A 10-fold increase in the concentration of the relaxin hormone during pregnancy is suggested to soften collagen and cause weakness and discomfort. This leads to a decrease in stability and creates tension in the pelvic girdle and lower back area.

Circulation

The growing uterus can press on the vena cava, especially when the patient is lying down. The pain is strong enough to wake up the patient..

Psychosocial factors

Psychosocial factors can also increase low back pain. Pain-related catastrophizing, depression, pain intensity, and time lead to increased pain inhibition. Findings support the usefulness of the bio-psychosocial model.

Risk factors

There are several factors associated with the development of back pain during pregnancy. Specifically, labor, pre-pregnancy back pain, and pregnancy-related lower back pain are identified as risk factors for developing pregnancy-related lower back pain.

What steps should be taken in order to get relief from this pain?

  • Watch your posture while sitting. Sitting in a chair all day puts more strain on your spine than anything else. At home and at work, make sure the chair you use the most has good support, preferably with a straight back, armrests and firm cushions. Use the footrest to raise your legs a little and do not cross your legs. This can help tilt your pelvis forward and strengthen tight back muscles.
  • Do not carry heavy loads. Slow down if you have to. Take a wide stance and balance yourself; bending at the knees instead of at the waist; and lift with your hands and feet, not your back.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Wear proper footwear. Very high heels like very flat shoes. Experts recommend a 2-inch heel for a snug fit.
  • No access. Use a low and stable ladder to get up and down, and you’ll avoid extra hassle.
  • Think happy thoughts. Calm thoughts weaken. You can also try prenatal yoga to relax your mind and back.
  • Strengthen your stomach. Do pelvic tilts to strengthen your pelvis, which in turn supports your back. Or sit on an exercise ball and kick back.
  • Soothe sore muscles using cold compresses, followed by warm compresses every 15 minutes.
  • Take a warm bath. Get a massage. Wait until after the first three months to get one. Go to a massage therapist who knows your pregnancy and is trained in the art of prenatal massage.

Moreover Sometimes back pain is a red flag that something is serious. Women should be on the lookout for new and recurring pain that could be signs of uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding or placental problems, or changes in vaginal discharge that could indicate your water has broken.

If you experience swelling, itching, or sharp pain in your ankles, feet, or legs, make sure you don’t have a serious condition. Even if the cause of insomnia is not a more serious condition such as premature labor, it could mean compression of the sciatic nerve or another nerve that connects your spine to the lower body and pelvis.

Pregnant women should consult a health professional before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication. Women taking pain medication who are trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss the risks and benefits of pain medication. When healthcare providers prescribe pain medication to pregnant patients, they should always follow the recommendations on the prescription.

Exercise for getting relief from back pain

Keep your abs strong with pelvic tilt exercises. Tilt your pelvis and hips back so that the curve of your back is level with the floor. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. You can also do this exercise standing or sitting on a gym ball. Strengthen the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor by gently drawing the lower part of the abdomen (below the navel) towards the spine. Breathe.

When should you visit your doctor

Women who experience back pain during pregnancy should contact an obstetrician or other health care provider if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • severe pain
  • Pain that stays longer than 2 weeks
  • Cramps that occur regularly and gradually increase in intensity
  • difficulty or pain when urinating
  • tingling sensation in the body
  • vaginal bleeding
  • irregular discharge
  • don’t have a fever

Conclusion

LBP is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints in pregnant women. For some women, this can be a source of chronic back pain, while for others it can relieve pain during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Early detection and treatment, which take into account the characteristics of each woman and her pregnancy, offer the best chance for the best results. The correct diagnosis and the difference between PGP and LP is very important because the treatment is different. Treatment options include exercise, physical therapy, stabilization belts, nerve stimulation, pharmacological therapy, acupuncture, massage, relaxation, and yoga. In more serious cases of neurological complications such as herniated discs or masses, more powerful medications should be used.

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