Disability Prevention: Back and Hip Pain During Pregnancy


 Most people don't consider pregnancy to be a disabling condition but there are many conditions that can develop during forty weeks of pregnancy that can contribute to disability. Pregnant women have to deal with multiple aches and pains during pregnancy that stem from musculoskeletal conditions that can arise due to an increase in body size, particularly an increase of the midsection at a rapid rate and a change in the body's center of gravity.

This article will go through some of the common, potentially disabling aches and pains of pregnancy and how you might be able to prevent them. 

Low Back Pain

Low back pain in pregnancy is very common and can become very disabling if a person experiences it to a severe degree. Low back pain in pregnancy can result from multiple different structures of the back including the small joints of the spine, from the muscles surrounding the spine that support and keep it stable, or from the sacroiliac joints in the posterior pelvis. Pregnant women are at risk of developing pain from these areas due to changing body mechanics and stretching of the ligaments that support the bony structures of the spine. 

Valuable tools to prevent low back pain during pregnancy are relatively easy. It is important to maintain your prior level of exercise during pregnancy due to the "use it or lose it" principle. It is easy to get into the mindset that being pregnant means that you can significantly decrease your level of activity, especially if you're dealing with difficult issues like nausea and fatigue.

If possible, maintaining your activity level by walking regularly and stretching can do a great deal of good for your back. Your back muscles work to keep your body stable during light activity even if you don't know that they are working. 

Alternative ways to prevent back pain during pregnancy include using hip opening stretches and back stretches such as spinal rotations and knees to chest and exercises such as pelvic tilts and cat/cow posing.

Participation in prenatal yoga or pilates classes can be really helpful for some women as well. 

If back pain has already become an issue for you, a visit with your doctor to go over potential causes for your pain might be in order. Your physician can also refer you to a physical therapist who can help go over exercises that can potentially relieve or shorten the duration of your pain. 

Hip Pain 

Hip pain is another type of musculoskeletal pain that can develop during pregnancy and can be quite disabling to some women. Hip pain can result from tendinitis of some of the major tendinous attachments surrounding the hips due to alterations in the way the body moves due to increased size and change in center of gravity. You may also walk a bit differently or sleep differently to compensate for your changing body. Hip pain can also result from bursitis, particularly trochanteric bursitis, which is inflammation of small, fluid filled sacs that allow tendons to slide easily over each other. 

Keeping a consistent activity level during your pregnancy can also help to prevent these problems.

Most tendinitis syndromes result from overuse of the muscle that the tendon is attached to. Keeping up with consistent activity can help to keep your muscles conditioned and avoid overuse problems. 

Sometimes, the "outside of the hip" pain that results from trochanteric bursitis occurs because of changes in sleeping positions that result in compression of the outside of the hip and inflammation of the bursae in this area. Changing positions when in bed and padding yourself with pillows can help avoid this problem as well. 

The bottom line about these painful problems is that they can be prevented by avoiding becoming sedentary on the basis of pregnancy. Keep your activity level up to avoid many of the pregnancy related aches. 

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