Friday, November 24, 2006

How to avoid back pain?

If there's one thing that makes me want the baby to come out so badly, then it is the persistent back pain. Adequate 'calcium' intake and simple back exercises haven't helped either. i've stopped mentioning this to my doctor. She says, "It is a common complaint and part of the package". Here is an excerpt from The Hindu recently that me of help to you ---

Women in reasonable shape who get at least 45 minutes of exercise a week are less likely to develop back pain.
Back pain afflicts 50 per cent of pregnant women, and it is a wonder that more are not affected by it. Back pain can begin as early as the first trimester and last up to 6 months postpartum.

Not all back pain in pregnancy is because of pregnancy, and just because pain is so common does not mean it is unavoidable or untreatable.

Back pain during pregnancy follows one of three patterns — the pain occurs while bearing weight and while sitting for long hours (lumbar pain); sacroiliac pain occurs in the posterior pelvis and deep in the buttocks area (this pain is exacerbated by prolonged standing and it worsens while turning over in bed); nocturnal back pain is a low back cramp similar to the discomfort of pre-menstruation. It does not worsen with turning over in bed.

The treatment involves maintenance of proper posture and exercise. Joint manipulation of any kind is not advisable. Women in reasonable shape who get at least 45 minutes of exercise a week are less likely to develop back pain.

Pregnant women should avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. They should try to maintain a neutral spine posture at all times. When standing for long periods, placing one foot on a footstool decreases the strain on the lumbar spine and back muscles. Those who sit for prolonged periods will find elevating one foot on a low stool or footrest relaxes the back and reduces pain.

Back exercises: walking a few minutes a day is a gentle back-conditioning exercise. Pelvic tilts, leg lifts and arm-leg extension exercises help strengthen back muscles.

Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with knees flexed and feet flat on the floor. Clench your abs and buttocks and push your pelvis and lower back into the floor for about 2 seconds. Release. Repeat 10 times. After the first trimester, it is not advisable to exercise while lying flat on your back. Do this exercise while lying on your side, with a wall substituting for the floor.

Leg lifts: lie on your side, tighten your thighs and abs and lift your leg off the floor. Hold the leg in the air for a few seconds. Repeat ten times.

Arm-leg extension: lie flat on your back, lift one arm and the opposite side's leg at the same time. Hold position for 5 seconds. Alternate sides and repeat ten times.