Back pain during and after pregnancy is a common phenomenon. A woman’s body undergoes a lot of change during pregnancy and after giving birth. There are changes in how a woman walks, hormonal changes that cause the ligaments to be more relaxed, postural changes from carrying a child internally and after birth (think of holding a child on the hip), and often weakness from muscles having been stretched. If a cesarean-section was required, then there will be weakness of the abdomen and possible limitations in mobility from scarring.
Let’s be honest, women are ‘tough mothers,’ and often live through their discomfort as they raise their child(ren). But there is no need to suffer. Back pain after childbirth is treatable.
One of the first questions we ask our female clients of child-bearing age is have they had children? Was it a natural birth or Caesarean section? We know the effects childbirth can have on a woman’s body and back pain is often a result.
Low back pain is one of the most common physical complaints from people in our society. It’s a billion -dollar business when accounting for total amount of trips to the doctor, pain medications, injections, surgeries, and loss of work production. At Body Evolution Physical Therapy & Wellness , a majority of our clients come to get help with lower back pain. These clients often ask if yoga would help their pain. We know yoga can be beneficial and research has shown yoga to be positive for low back pain, but we answer our clients with ‘it depends.’
Yoga has been around for centuries. It is a philosophy that is comprised the Eight Limbs. One of those limbs is called asana. Asana are the positions and postures that most people in the West think of as yoga. Most yoga studios are centered around this aspect of the practice. These movements and postures can range from simple to exceedingly difficult to perform. Yoga when performed safely and with guidance can be a great way to improve one’s strength, flexibility, and overall fitness not to mention help with lower back pain.
You go to your doctor complaining about your back. You tell him you have back and leg pain. The doctor asks you if you have any numbness or tingling sensations and you say “yes, it’s annoying.” The doctor orders an X-ray and then tells you the results…you have spinal stenosis. You are given pain medication and told to rest. You schedule a follow up appointment in four weeks.
The above scenario is common. We have heard the same story hundreds of times. Our patients come to us because they want to resolve their pain naturally, without pain medications. Spinal stenosis is a typical diagnosis for back pain in an older adult. Stenosis means ‘narrowing’ and the holes of the vertebrae where the spinal nerves exit become smaller. When there is less room for the nerves to move they can become irritated or even compressed. Often if you can give the nerves a little more room the pain and irritation will go away.
Have you ever had back pain so bad you felt you couldn’t move? You just wanted to lie in bed all day? I know from experience what that feels like and believe me the last thing I wanted to do was move. But here is the thing…bedrest is not best for a back injury. The old saying ‘motion is lotion’ holds true even when you are having pain. You just have to modify your activity and take some steps to manage the pain.
(Click Read More for some simple tips to manage back pain.)
Sciatica pain can be one of the most uncomfortable and disruptive injuries. The pain is often sharp and can become chronic and unrelenting leaving one overwhelmed on what to do next. It is a literal pain in the a$% (and often down the leg) than can put a stop to enjoying life. The good news is that we are going to tackle this very common injury. We will look at why one may be confronted by this injury and, better still, what one can do to get back to a normal, pain-free life…we know this means a lot to you.
First off, let’s chat a little about what sciatica really is. It is obvious the name sciatica refers to a problem with the sciatic nerve, but what does that mean? The sciatic nerve is a long, thick nerve that forms when the lumbar (4/5) and sacral nerve roots exit the spine then converge and continue through the pelvis down the leg where it splits above the knee. An issue with this nerve may occur anywhere along its path. Think about the nerve as a real thick wire where electricity should flow freely, but If something cuts off the current it can result in pain. This happens when the nerve is compressed or if inflammation irritates it.
Those with low back pain who go to the internet to research possible causes of their pain often land on a page touting the psoas as the cause. The muscle has been blamed for back pain, bowel issues, and even emotional trauma. Meat eaters might know that the psoas is the prized filet mignon. It’s a ‘celebrity’ muscle and it’s blamed for just about every pain condition…hip and back pain especially.
Why is this muscle considered to be so important? It’s the only muscle that connects the spine to the lower half of the body. It is a deep muscle that helps to stabilize the spine, flex the knee/thigh toward the chest, swing your leg through when walking, and helps bend your trunk forward. The psoas has attachments into the diaphragm and can impact your breathing. A reflexive muscle that tightens when we are under stress to pull us into the ‘fetal’ position as a protective mechanism. This muscle has a lot of different functions. In alternative health communities some call it the ‘muscle of the soul.’ As you can see it’s an important muscle…
…but is it really that important?
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.