Pregnancy and Back Pain

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--By Dr Gaurav Raj Dhakal
Half of all pregnant women can expect some back pain. The back pain in pregnancy is due to the added weight of the fetus and the intrauterine contents. Also, the increase in the abdominal girth shifts the center of gravity of the body forward, causing additional strain on the back.  
The discomfort in the back can be minimized by paying attention to the following:
1. Maintain a regular exercise programme. Supervised exercise programmes help strengthen the muscles of the back.
2. If you have to pick something up, kneel down on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor, as  near as possible to the item you are lifting. Lift with your legs, not your back, keeping the object close to your body at all times. Be careful, though, it may be easier to lose your balance while you are pregnant. Whenever possible, get assistance in lifting objects.
3. Carrying. Two small objects (one in each hand) may be easier to handle than one large one. If you must carry one large object, keep it close to your body.
4. Sleeping. Sleeping on your back puts 55 lbs of pressure on your back. Placing a pillow under your knees cuts the pressure to half. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees also reduces the pressure.
Most of the back pain during pregnancy will resolve. It is advisable not to use or take any medications while one is pregnant. Some treatment options include learning exercises to support muscles of the back and pelvis, using supportive garments that may be helpful in certain causes of back pain in pregnancy and using spot treatments such as heat and cold. If your pain persists despite these measures, or you develop any radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your legs, you should consult a spine surgeon with expertise in women's health issues and/or pregnancy related disorders. They will be able to assist you in diagnosing and treating your specific problems.
The author is a Spine Surgeon at Norvic International Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Association of Spine Surgeon’s of India can be reached at spinegaurav

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