More on pregnancy back pain
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Most women develop back pain at some point during pregnancy. It occurs mostly in the second and third trimesters and can be one of the most distressing discomforts of pregnancy.
As the fetus grows inside you, your abdomen grows with it. This throws your body off balance. Your body tends to compensate by assuming a swayback posture. In addition, carrying an extra 30 pounds or more in your middle puts pressure on yourback muscles. Weak abdominal muscles are yet another factor that can contribute to low back pain.
What to do about it?
- Going into a pregnancy with strong abdominal muscles can help align the body and decrease the tendency to develop a swayback posture. Unfortunately, many of us do not have the foresight to tone up our abs before we get pregnant and experience lowback pain.
- Use proper body mechanics when lifting. Don't bend at the waist. Squat, hold in your buttocks, hold the object close to your body, keep yourback straight and lift with your legs. This puts most of the strain on your legs instead of your back . Avoid lifting heavy objects. If you have a young child, try to get her to climb up onto you, rather than lifting her, when possible.
- Try to have frequent rest periods off your feet. If you are required to be on your feet for work, have a footstool or something comparable to rest one foot on while standing.
- Sleep on a firm mattress. You can put a board between your box springs and the mattress if your bed is too soft.
- Sleep on your side with your knees up towards your abdomen with a pregnancy pillow between your knees for support.
- Wear low-heeled shoes. When heels are too high, they push your body forward, putting further pressure on your back.
- Sit on chairs or couches with good back support. Place a small pillow behind your lower back to help lessen the strain.
- Place a hot water bottle or heating pad (wrapped in a towel to avoid burns to the skin) to the area where you are having discomfort.
- You can also buy an abdominal support belt, which places support under your abdomen as it grows. You can find them in maternity stores and catalogs.
- There are also exercise you can do to strengthen your back and improve your flexibility. Many women find that the exercises give them relief of pain within a few days or weeks.
More on pregnancy back pain
Acupuncture to reduce back pain in pregnancy
Monday, August 21, 2006
A Yale researcher and expert in the practice of acupuncture is conducting a three-year study on the effectiveness of this ancient Chinese practice in reducing low back pain during pregnancy.
The study is funded with a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health and will include 150 women who are at least 24 weeks pregnant. The lead researcher, Shu-Ming Wang, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine, was approached by a colleague three years ago who was suffering from severe low back pain and sciatica in the final months of her pregnancy.
"She asked if I could do anything to help," said Wang, who inserted three, two-millimeter needles into her colleague's ear. "She recovered immediately." A subsequent survey of more than 1,000 pregnant women in New Haven County showed that 65 percent suffered from low back pain and sciatica. The survey was conducted by Yale-New Haven Hospital in conjunction with Wang, who is an attending anesthesiologist at the hospital.
Acupuncture involves stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques, including penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation. In this study each of two groups of women will receive slightly varying acupuncture treatment. The remaining group will receive no treatment and serve as a basis of comparison. Wang said those women who do not receive treatment and those who do not improve with assigned group interventions will be invited to return for additional treatment at no cost after the study is completed.
The treatment consists of three tiny needles inserted on one side of the ear. The women will be asked to remove the needles after one week and the results will be measured two weeks after the treatment was initiated. "They can sleep, and shower, and forget about the needles, other than when they answer the telephone," Wang said.
Yale daily news article here
back pain in pregnancy