HOUSTON—Women carry a heavy load. Sometimes it’s just too heavy. Sixty percent of women suffer with chronic back pain whether it’s due to pregnancy, injury or something sporadic.
A car accident was the onset of expectant mother Remya Lee’s back troubles. It happened a few years ago. Her aches and pains returned when she got pregnant.
“Things got better and then I got pregnant and that pain ended up coming back again,” Lee said.
She sought professional help and is undergoing physical therapy to deal with the pain again.
“There are times when I’m walking and in the middle of it, I stop and pause,” said Lee. “There are times when I’m laughing, it hurts. Any daily activities you do, it takes a toll on it.”
Injuries are a major cause of back pain, but there is no shortage of triggers. Dr. Yana Finkelshteyn, a physician with Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, has found the majority of her patients’ backs bother them.
“That has a lot to do with the design of the spine and our modern lifestyles,” said Dr. Finkelshteyn. “A lot of us are sitting all day long. That seems to be a trigger. With sporadic activities, sometimes people will injure their spines. With women, we also have the added pressures of having to carry pregnancies which can definitely trigger back pain.”
After giving birth, some women are cautioned to be mindful of how they sit, walk and even reach.
“Women do the majority of housework still,” Dr. Finkelshteyn explained. “They’re bending over to mop. They can injure their back. Bending over to pick up the 3-year-old, they may injure their back.”
Before the bay comes, Lee will remain busy with back-strengthening exercises. Strong muscles could help her avoid more pain.
“Remember if you bend at the waist you’re putting maximum strain on your back,” Dr. Finkelshteyn cautioned. “Having strong legs and lifting by bending the legs is probably a safer way to lift.”
Her advice applies to pre-pregnancy and afterward as well.
If you experience pain all the way down your legs, numbness or weakness in major limbs, or back pain associated with fever, see a physician immediately.