Monday, April 21, 2014

Low Back Pain During Pregnancy

Low Back Pain During Pregnancy by Douglas Penta MD

Low back pain during pregnancy is a common problem. There are a number of conditions that can cause this symptom and this article is by no means all inclusive.Perhaps the most common cause is simply the weight of the pregnancy particularly in the third trimester creating a strain on the back muscles and ligaments used to maintain your body stature. This is often seen more in women who have had one or more prior pregnancies as the supportive structures are loose and more likely to cause pressure on nerves innervating the lower back and pelvis. Assuming the pain is constant and has not been attributed to other problems (some of which are yet to be discussed), the use of belly bands or maternity support belts can be very effective in addressing the problem as they lift the weight of the pregnancy off of the lower pelvis and transmit the weight in such a way as to alleviate the strain on the back muscles and ligaments.
Another cause of low back pain during pregnancy, though less common, can be a symptom of a kidney infection. This can be seen most commonly after the first 15 to 20 weeks during which time the ureters leading to the bladder can be blocked by the uterus at the level of the pelvic brim. This blocks urinary flow to the bladder and can cause stasis of urine and increase the potential for a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). This is a problem that must be diagnosed and treated promptly as kidney infections can cause premature labor.Kidney stones is yet another problem that can cause low back pain and is determined by your primary care provider based on your symptoms, medical history and physical findings.Though all of the previously discussed causes of low back pain can be serious and cause significant discomfort the one cause of low back pain that is very important to recognize and not overlook is contractions. The low back pain relating to contractions is likely to have a regular, intermittent pattern unlike the other causes and is best evaluated by monitoring uterine activity with a uterine monitor for contractions. Causes for contractions prematurely can relate to dehydration, kidney infections, fibroids or have no defined cause. Regardless of the cause this is one cause of back pain that cannot be ignored.
Though there are other less common causes of low back pain during pregnancy the conditions mentioned above are the most common.
To best avoid low back pain during pregnancy, lift heavy items with caution and maintain posture as best you can. Keep well hydrated at all times particularly during the hot weather as dehydration occurs often during pregnancy if one does not make a conscious effort to drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. Prenatal visits are designed to pick up signs of bladder infection as prenatal care patients have their urine checked at each visit.If there are no serious medical problems detected leading to the onset of low back pain during pregnancy and the symptom is determined to be due to the weight of the pregnancy, perhaps the absolute best thing you can do to prevent or alleviate low back pain and ligament pressure is to use a maternity belt. I have seen patients experience a tremendous amount of relief with maternity belts. It used to be that such belts were hard to find but with the resources available online this is no longer a problem.
I hope this article has been informative about some (not all) causes of low back pain during pregnancy. Again this is only for educational purposes and any questions or concerns relating to this problem must be addressed by your primary care clinician.
For more information about pregnancy and your prenatal care please visit:
This article is for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for the care you receive from your primary care clinician. Only your personal health care provider can manage your medical problems as he/she has the necessary history and physical information required to address your particular problem. This article does not include all causes of low back pain during pregnancy.

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