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You're pregnant! Congratulations! Your body's changing-wondrously, marvelously. One unexpected and unwelcome change may be lower back pain. Recent studies suggest that two-thirds of pregnant women experience lower back pain.1
These statistics seem reasonable. The weight of the growing baby, plus the weight of the placenta and amniotic fluid, create an unbalanced load in front of the lower back. The result is irritation of spinal ligaments, muscles, and tendons, causing pain, muscle spasm, and loss of mobility.
Of course, some cases of pregnancy-related back pain have specific medical causes. Uncommon conditions such as pregnancy-associated osteoporosis, septic arthritis, and inflammatory arthritis may need to be considered.
That said, the vast majority of cases of back pain in pregnancy are mechanical in origin.
Your doctor of chiropractic will perform a complete examination and determine the correct course of treatment, if appropriate. Once you're feeling better, you can begin stretching and doing safe, gentle exercises that will help prevent recurrences of lower back pain. The goal is to strengthen your lower back and minimize the mechanical effects of pregnancy.
The best method of preventing back pain in the first place is being fit. This includes healthy nutrition, gaining a moderate amount of weight, and regular exercise. Your obstetrician will likely recommend vitamin and iron supplements and will monitor your weight. The average healthy woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during the course of her pregnancy.3
Let's fast forward a few years. Your newborn is now a toddler. Parents know that if you have kids, stuff happens. You bend over to place a bulky car seat in your car. Then you place your child in it. And then, you bend over to remove the car seat from your car. If you've gone to the mall, kids want Daddy or Mommy to carry them. Pick them up, cart them around, put them down again.
What's a parent to do? It's not like you can avoid any of these activities. Your kids are kids - it's up to you to do stuff for them. The answer lies in regular exercise. "But how will I find time to exercise, when there already isn't enough time to do the things I need to do?"
Paula's Corner: 5 Tips for Natural Hormone Balance
That's a tough question, but if you recognize the benefits, you'll make the effort to make the time. Forty-five minutes or an hour per workout, three or four times a week, will be plenty. And, once you're in the habit of exercising, you'll notice it's easier to lift your kids, easier to bend over, easier to carry them. It's easier because you're fitter and stronger. And healthier. And, surprisingly, you're having more fun.
1Pennick VE, Young G: Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 18(2):CD001139, 2007.
2Sax TW, Rosenbaum RB: Neuromuscular disorders in pregnancy. Muscle Nerve 34(5):559-571, 2006.
3Jain NJ, et al: Maternal obesity: can pregnancy weight gain modify risk of selected adverse pregnancy outcomes? Am J Perinatol 24(5):291-298, 2007.
Dr. Paula's Corner: 5 Tips for Natural Hormone Balance
For the past few years, hormone replacement therapy has become a well-publicized and highly debated topic, and many women are looking for natural alternatives to "standard" hormone therapy. In the reproductive years, varying cycles of estrogen and progesterone and their effects on neurotransmitters lead many women to experience mood swings, painful cramps, bloating, and more than 100 other less-than-pleasant symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). For perimenopausal women, fluctuations in these same hormones can contribute to hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and weight gain.
These hormonal fluctuations may go on for years before finally dipping down to post-menopausal levels.With conventional treatment, women with PMS may end up taking a multitude of medicines, one for each symptom, often with incomplete relief. Women going through menopause might also take the symptom management approach or decide to restore their estrogen and progesterone levels through hormone replacement.
An Alternative to Hormone Replacement
The following lifestyle changes and simple techniques can help to balance a woman's hormones, to help restore her quality of life.
Weight gain. Fatigue. Mood swings. Irregular cycles. Hot flashes. Headaches.
Fluctuating hormones are common culprits behind these often distressing symptoms, but what triggers the rise and fall of chemicals like estrogen, progesterone, insulin, cortisol, thyroid and DHEA?
The aging process, of course, as well as environmental chemicals, genetics and lifestyle, all play a role in these hormones and their ability to work in harmony to preserve long term health and vitality.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), once heralded as the answer to menopause symptoms and hormonal imbalances, is no longer viable for many women, due to rising concerns over there side effects and long-term risks.
Instead of replacing stores of diminished hormones, many women are finding relief with natural supplements like Symplex F that work to support optimal functioning of the adrenals, ovaries, pituitary glands and thyroid, all parts of the complex endocrine system that serve as the production factories of these important chemicals.
See Dr. Mike or Dr. Paula to find out if Symplex F might be right for you. Try it this month and save 10%!
Annual food drive coming next month. Stay tuned for details!
Dr. Mike's Blog coming soon to www.frazettachiropractic.com.