Back pain in pregnancy
It is very common to get backache or back pain during pregnancy, especially in the early stages.
During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.
Avoiding and easing back pain in pregnancy
Try these tips:
bend your knees and keep your back straight when you lift or pick something up from the floor
avoid lifting heavy objects
move your feet when you turn to avoid twisting your spine
wear flat shoes to evenly distribute your weight
try to balance the weight between 2 bags when carrying shopping
keep your back straight and well supported when sitting at work and at home – look for maternity support pillows
get enough rest, particularly later in pregnancy
a massage or warm bath may help
use a mattress that supports you properly – you can put a piece of hardboard under a soft mattress to make it firmer, if necessary
go to a group or individual back care class
You can take paracetamol to ease back pain while you are pregnant, unless your GP or midwife says not to. Always follow the instructions on the packet.
Exercises to ease back pain in pregnancy
This gentle exercise helps to strengthen stomach (abdominal) muscles, which can ease back pain in pregnancy:
start on all fours (a box position) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, fingers facing forwards and stomach muscles lifted to keep your back straight
pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, letting your head and bum relax downwards gently – don't let your elbows lock
hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position
take care not to hollow your back – it should always return to a straight, neutral position
do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully
only move your back as far as you comfortably can
Doing prenatal yoga or aquanatal classes (gentle exercise classes in water) with a qualified instructor can also help build your muscles to better support your back. Ask at your local leisure centre.
When to get help for back pain in pregnancy
If your backache is very painful, talk to your GP or midwife. They may be able to refer you to an obstetric physiotherapist at your hospital, who can give you advice and may suggest some helpful exercises.
Contact your GP or midwife as soon as possible if you have back pain and you:
are in your second or third trimester – this could be a sign of early labor
also have a fever, bleeding from your vagina or pain when you pee
lose feeling in one or both of your legs, your bum, or your genitals
have pain in one or more of your sides (under your ribs)
Back pain is a common complaint. Most people will experience lower back pain at least once during their lives. Back pain is also one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care. Although the pain may take several weeks to disappear completely, you should notice some improvement within the first 72 hours of self-care. If not, see your doctor.
Back pain usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. The onset of back pain may be acute or chronic. It can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be characterized by a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. Back pain may be classified by various methods to aid its diagnosis and management. The anatomic classification of back pain follows the segments of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral.
Symptoms of Back Pain
Many people have experienced some form of back pain at some point in their lives. There are many causes of back pain, from self-inflicted causes due to bad habits, to back pain caused by muscle strains, accidents, or sports injuries. Despite the causes of the back pain a person experiences, the symptoms may be the same.
Symptoms people with back pain experience might include:
• A persistent stiffness or aching along their spine, from the base of their neck to their hips.
• Sharp, localized pains in their lower back, upper back, or neck, - particularly after lifting heavy objects or after other strenuous activity.
• Chronic aches in their lower or middle back, particularly after sitting or standing for lengthy periods of time.
• Back pains which radiate from their lower back to their buttocks, down their back of their thighs, and into their calves and toes.
• An inability to stand up straight without experiencing oftentimes severe muscle spasms in their low back.
If you experience back pain, it is important to contact a doctor if you:
• Experience numbness, tingling, or loss of control in your arms or legs. These may be signs of signal damage to your spinal cord.
• Experience pain in your back that extends downward along the back of the leg. You may be suffering from sciatica.
• Experience pain that increases whenever you bend forward at the waist, or cough. The reason this needs to be looked at by a doctor is because it could be a sign of a herniated disc.
• Experience pain that is accompanied by burning urination, strong-smelling urine, or fever. You could have a bacterial urinary tract infection.
• Experience urinary or fecal incontinence.
• Experience dull pain in one particular area of your spine whenever you lie down or get out of bed. People who are over the age of fifty may have osteoarthritis.
Diagnosing Back Pain
A doctor will test your range of motion in relation to the back pain you are experiencing, unless you are completely immobilized by a back injury, and test for both areas of discomfort and nerve function. The doctor will most likely do some tests such as urine and blood testing in order to determine whether the back pain is due to either an infection or a systemic problem. X-rays may be taken to determine if you have any broken bones or skeletal issues that are the cause of your back pain; they can also help to locate issues with connective tissues. Soft-tissue damages that may be the cause of back pain can be analyzed using Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. Nerve and muscle damage can be determined through Electromygram (EMG) tests.
Australian researchers are working with an international team to understand the relationship between sitting for long periods and bone health. Sitting for long periods may be bad for your bones, with Australian researchers contributing to a global study to explore links to osteoporosis.
"In everyday life, long periods of immobility such as this are rare however, sedentary lifestyles are commonplace in modern society, through transport, work and leisure.
"If the proof of concept study identifies a significant effect of sedentary behaviour on bone metabolism, promoting frequent breaks from sitting could be a possible, and simple, preventative intervention for osteoporosis in later life."
The study will use data and blood samples already collected - but yet to be analysed - in previous sedentary behaviour studies by the research group.
About 1.2 million Australians are estimated to have osteoporosis while 6.3 million fellow residents have low bone density, the institute states.
The institute's Professor David Dunstan also added the study would shed light on the mechanisms behind osteoporosis and give a greater understanding of the relationship between lifestyle and bone health.
Experts at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne have teamed up with researchers in the United Kingdom to find out if breaking up sedentary behaviour could reverse or slow down any potential damage of the disease."We know that in extreme environments, such as total bed rest, bone loss is very high," the institute's Professor Neville Owen said in a statement on Thursday.
Pain is unpleasant suffering caused by injury or illness. Back pain may be sudden/constant, dull, severe or not responding to short rest and medication. Constant pain in back in any region of spine for more than few days to weeks needs intervention.
Pain which is intense especially at night requires urgent visit to a specialist.
Sudden onset of pain in back with or without injury needs urgent attention.
Back pain with difficulty in walking, pain while getting up from position of comfort, pain during change of posture or pain after prolonged sitting (for work) can lead to serious permanent damage, if left untreated.
Pain which travels to one or both legs may be due to pressure on the nerve/s and if left untreated for long can lead to permanent weakness or damage.
Pain associated with numbness, tingling or weakness in legs, especially below the knees, commonly called Sciatica, needs to be investigated. Various spinal ailments can lead to weakness in one or two limbs or all four limbs. There may be associated or isolated numbness (loss of sensation to touch, pain or temperature) without back pain.
Numbness, tingling or weakness may be the only symptoms without any complaint or without history of back pain.
Problems related to bladder control which may be difficulty to control, hesitancy in passing or dribbling of urine. There may be associated constipation.
Loss of bowel/bladder control is caused by pressure on spinal cord &/or nerves which may be due to injury, infection, disc prolapse or tumor.
Sudden swelling and redness in back usually happens after an injury or accident but sometimes are signs of underlying severe illness.
Loss of normal shape/curvatures of spine can present with or without pain. It can lead to forward, sideways or rarely backward bending.
Unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, evening rise of fever or disturbed sleep with associated back pain/weakness/numbness needs visit to a specialist.
Back pain is something that affects many people all over the world. Persistent and chronic pain seems to be one of the most common complaints. Middle back pain is back pain that is felt in the thoracic vertebrae region, which is located between the base of the neck and top of the lumbar spine. The ribs attach to a long, flat bone in the middle of the chest called the sternum and wrap around the back. In case, there is a nerve around there is squeezed, disturbed, or injured, you are likely to feel pain in different spots where the nerve goes through, for example, your arms, legs, chest and the stomach.
Some of the most common causes of middle back pain are as follows:
Middle back pain can happen as a consequence of injury or sudden damage or it can happen through strain or poor stance after some time.
The most widely recognized reason for middle back pain seems to begin from soft tissue problems or muscular irritation. These can emerge from poor stance, lack of strength, prolonged sitting in front of a computer, utilizing a heavy backpack, overuse injuries, (for example, repetitive movement), or injury, (like a whiplash damage brought about by an auto crash or as a consequence of a sports injuries).
The middle back is a moderately normal site for inflammatory, degenerative, metabolic, infective and neoplastic conditions.
Middle back pain and its dysfunctions are connected with various conditions, for example, essential and optional osteoporosis (particularly vertebral cracks and hyperkyphosis emerging from vertebral bone loss), ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis and Scheuermann's infection.
Muscle strain, overuse or damage to the muscles, tendons, and discs that are backing your spine can also cause middle back pain.
Weight on the spinal nerves from specific issues, for example, a herniated disc.
A fracture in one of the vertebrae can also cause pain in this region.
Osteoarthritis created by the breakdown of ligament or cartilage that cushions the little joints in the spine.
Myofascial pain that influences the connective tissue of a muscle or gathering of muscles.
In uncommon cases, pain might be brought about by different issues, for example, gall bladder disease, cancer or an infection.
Getting hit hard in the back can also cause chronic pain.
Lift something too heavy may cause pain and a sudden pressure in this area.
A compression fracture of the vertebra can also bring about intense or chronic pain in the middle back. The injury may bring about a fracture, however in ladies over age 50 without critical injury or somebody known to have osteoporosis, an unconstrained vertebral fracture is possible.