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Back Pain During Pregnancy

About 50 to 80% of pregnant women experience back pain. Because the connection between back pain and pregnancy is not fully understood, access to the right treatment can be a challenge. Fortunately, pregnancy-related spine pain typically has a short life span—most cases go away shortly after your baby’s birth.

Pregnancy-related back pain is often localized to a specific area of the spine and not widespread. Back pain tends to arise between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy, though it can begin much earlier.

Pregnancy-Related Spine and Pelvic Pain 
Women typically experience pregnancy-related pain in the lower spine—the low back, sacrum, and pelvic regions. Pain in the pelvic region, for which a clear-cut diagnosis has not been made, is called peripartum pelvic pain. Peripartum refers to the period surrounding childbirth—typically a few weeks before birth and a few weeks after birth.

Pain presents itself most commonly in the following areas:

  • sacroiliac joints at the posterior superior iliac spine
  • the groin areas
  • coccyx
  • pubic symphysis anteriorly

Occasionally, other areas of the pelvis and upper legs are affected, but rarely does pain occur below the knee. Pain tends to be influenced by posture and is associated with a waddling gait.

What Influences Pain Intensity During Pregnancy?
While age and smoking status has been not been shown to increase pain levels, higher body mass, more pregnancies, a previous history of back pain, and a previous history of pain during pregnancy have been connected to an increase in peripartum pain.

Also, younger women tend to have more intense pain when compared to older women. Studies have reported that approximately 10% of women said back pain during pregnancy prevented them from working, and more than 80% said it affects their ability to do daily tasks.

What Causes Spine Pain During Pregnancy?
The cause of pregnancy-related back pain is likely related to a combination of mechanical, metabolic, circulatory, and psychosocial contributing factors. However, most of the causes can be grouped into the following areas:

  • Weight gain: Women typically gain between 20 and 40 pounds throughout pregnancy, which puts additional pressure on the spine. This added pressure may result in lower back pain.
  • Shift in center of gravity: As you gain weight and your belly grows, your ability to maintain proper posture becomes challenged. Posture changes from pregnancy have been connected to lordosis and herniated discs, which may contribute to low back pain.
  • Hormonal changes: While most women start experiencing back pain between during the fifth and seventh months, some report back pain in the first trimester. Since the baby isn’t large enough to cause any physical stress to the spine, it may be hormonal changes causing pain. Pregnant women produce relaxin, a hormone that relaxes spinal and pelvic ligaments and joints to facilitate childbirth.  Relaxin may cause some spinal instability, and this can cause low back pain. In fact, certain hormones produced during pregnancy can cause sacroiliac joint dysfunction, a condition that causes low back pain.
  • Increased stress: Pregnancy is an exciting and special time for many women, but it can also be stressful. Stress can worsen back pain—or even cause it. Finding ways to manage stress during pregnancy may help ease your pain.

Treatment
Most treatments for pregnancy-related back pain involve lifestyle modifications, such as:

  • Avoiding excessive weight gain: A healthy diet is among the best ways to keep a healthy weight during pregnancy, and some foods have been linked to easing spinal inflammation (a common cause of low back pain). Eating 5 or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables will provide essential nutrients. Other good choices include nuts and fatty fish, such as salmon, which pack a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation.
  • Exercising to strengthen the back and core muscles: In general, pregnant women should avoid the extremes when it comes to activity: Too much activity and too little can both cause an increase in back pain during pregnancy. Walking, swimming, and yoga are great ways to condition yourself throughout pregnancy, but always first talk to your doctor about how to safely exercise while pregnant.
  • Reducing stress: Finding ways to manage your stress throughout your pregnancy has physical as well as emotional benefits. A prenatal massage, relaxing with a heating pad against your low back, and getting plenty of rest are excellent ways to manage stress while helping your spine.
  • Maintaining correct posture: Talk to your doctor about ways you can keep good posture as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Investing in a pregnancy pillow to provide support during sleep:Sound sleep and pregnancy don’t always mix, but a supportive pillow may deliver more restful mornings.
  • Wearing sensible shoes: Footwear and spine care are connected. Avoid high heels and flip flops, and purchase new footwear if your shoe size changes during pregnancy.

If your back pain is severe and doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend a prescription pelvic belt, medication, physical therapy, injection therapy, or bed rest.

Good News
Fortunately, pregnancy-related back pain tends to go away within 6 months after birth—allowing you to focus on the much more important addition to your life, your new baby. If your back pain doesn’t subside after your baby arrives, talk to your doctor about whether additional testing or treatment is an option for you.

SOURCE: https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/back-pain/back-pain-during-pregnancy


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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