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Pregnancy could increase your risk of back problems

by , 31 July 2013

Sciatica is a condition of the spinal column where your herniated spinal disc presses against and irritates your lumbar spine root or the sciatic nerve root. This results in serious pain in your lower back and buttocks often radiating down one or both legs and sometimes all the way into your foot. Just how far the pain extends down your spinal column and into your legs depends on which disc and nerve roots are affected. Read on to discover how pregnant women are especially vulnerable to this spinal condition.

“Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in a woman’s body. One of those changes is the physical shifting of the spine to accommodate the change in the woman’s centre of balance and the increased ‘front load’ of an advanced pregnancy,” says Chet Cunningham author of the Sciatica Report.

This means to give you a chance to maintain your balance, your spine must accept much more weight than normal along with the related stress on your vertebrae and the associated ligaments and muscles.

Adding to this structural problem are the hormones that are being released.

One of these hormones is released during pregnancy to relax and loosen your pelvic ligaments. This happens so that when you give birth, your baby’s head can move through the birth canal easier.

“The big problem is that this hormone, Relaxin, also loosens up the sacroiliac and other joints in the same general area which can cause you more problems,” says Cunningham.

So, pregnancy does create some new problems for your spinal column. It can further irritate an already hurting sciatic nerve, or it can create a painful sciatic condition all on its own.

So, what can be done? Several things...

Here’s how you can reduce your risk of back problems during your pregnancy

“Your best position for being comfortable while lying down during this time is most likely going to be on your side. The side position is also usually going to be the best one for sleeping or making love as well,” says Cunningham.

If your sciatica is hurting and you can find one position that gives you relief from the pain and the weight of the baby, use that position.

It’s important to note that what works well for one woman might not work at all for you.

“If you start experiencing back pain during pregnancy your first stop should be the obstetrician.

This is just in case the back pain is caused by something other than your pregnancy or the sciatica,” advises Cunningham. If no new problems are found, stick to your exercise programme and get relief from the sciatica as your doctor prescribes.

Remember, since you’re pregnant your doctor won’t be giving you any serious pain medication.

If the pain is too great, you might want to ask your doctor about a special corset designed for pregnant women to help reduce back pain.

In addition, a massage and a long soak in a warm tub of water does wonders.

While pregnancy can increase your risk of spinal problems, you can reduce the risks by taking the steps mentioned above.

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