Back pain in pregnancy and chiropractic

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During pregnancy your body changes to adapt to your growing baby. These changes happen fast and you can experience pain and discomfort in your pelvic and lower back area.

Hannah’s story

Hannah came to me here at Sundial during her 4th month of pregnancy because she was experiencing pelvic pain for few weeks and the intensity of pain was increasing with time. She was also suffering with pubic pain for the last few days.

She would feel more pain turning in bed, walking and going up or down stairs. Being a nurse Hannah needed to be on her feet most of the day and she desperately needed relief.

After an examination I explained to Hannah that she was experiencing pain because of a sacroiliac dysfunction, a lack of movement in the joint of the pelvis.

These types of pain are very common during pregnancy. In fact 20% of pregnant women suffer with pelvic pain and 50 to 85% with low back pain. This is mainly due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy as your body starts to produce relaxin, the hormone that relaxes your ligaments in order to increase the space for your baby and birth. Also mechanical changes occur as the pregnancy goes along. As your tummy gets bigger the curve of your lower back increases and creates pressure on your back joints and muscles too.

We started working on this sacroiliac dysfunction using very gentle techniques to free up the joints and also working on the ligaments and muscles of the pelvis with gentle pressure. I also gave Hannah stretches and exercises to stabilise her core muscles and pelvis at home.

I saw Hannah regularly throughout her pregnancy in order to maintain the right sort of movement in her pelvis and, fortunately, she didn’t experience pelvic pain anymore!

Preventing low back pain

low back treatment, chiropractor BrightonRecent research shows that low back pain can be prevented with regular chiropractic care. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that early results from their randomised control trial showed significant improvements in the recurrence of back pain. These results, as yet unpublished, were reported at the latest European Chiropractic Union Conference in Cyprus, May 2017.

In the trial, people with recurrent low back pain were divided into two groups. Both groups were treated with an initial course of usual chiropractic care which consisted of spinal manipulation, mobilisation, exercises and advice. One group was then told to come back every few months and the other group was told to come back only if and when the pain recurred.

The group that were told to come back every few months experienced nearly 20 fewer pain days over the year.  On average they had two more treatment visits than the other group.

This result confirms for the first time that regular chiropractic care can have a significant influence on the course of low back pain. People with recurrent episodes of back pain should consider regular preventative check ups to reduce the impact of their back pain.

Here at Sundial we recommend periodic check ups every few months based on your history and the severity of the problem. We monitor progress through regular reassessments and online questionnaires to help us improve our care.

Best holiday luggage to avoid back pain

Going on holiday can be a real pain. Never mind the early start, the airport queues, and flight delays but back pain is common on holiday especially if you take the wrong luggage. With the huge variety of suitcases to choose from, what is the best luggage to protect your back from harm when you are travelling?

The very worst type of luggage for bad backs is the conventional suitcase. It is often heavy, even when empty and is awkward to move around. If you have to carry it any distance it soon puts a huge and uneven strain on your back. Using a trolley can help but what if you don’t have the right coins at the foreign airport or if all the trolleys are in use. Then you are stuck with 20 kilos or more of back bothering menace.

If you do find a trolley and have the right change you still have to lift the case on and off it. Once you have all your luggage on the trolley it can become heavy and awkward to move. Trying to turn a corner means you have to twist from the waist to move the trolley which again strains the back. If your trolley has a dodgy wheel it is even worse!

The best option for holiday luggage is a light wheeled bag with an extendible handle. This will save your back from lots of lifting. You still need to take care getting it on and off baggage carousels and in and out of car boots but it reduces the strain whenever you have to walk anywhere. Unfortunately with luggage you can only have two out of these three options:-

  1. Light
  2. Strong
  3. Cheap

The strongest and lightest luggage will tend to be a bit pricier than more flimsy bags but it will last longer. It is worth visiting a luggage store where they can talk you through the options and you can play about with the different types of bag. Heft it around and make sure the wheels are big enough to ride over rough surfaces otherwise you’ll end up carrying it more than you need to.

Many luggage manufacturers make premium luggage for a cheaper brand so if you know what to look for you can save some cash. For example, Samsonite make luggage for the American Tourister brand as well as Lacoste and Timberland although the last two may not be cheaper. A good local luggage shop in Brighton is Friends for Leather, who have 20% off their Samsonite Cosmolite range at the moment . They are also offering Sundial clients a 10% discount on other Samsonite ranges.

A luggage maker that has won awards and was the first to offer rolling carry-on luggage is Travelpro. It is known for durable, well made luggage. Its Maxlite range stands out  especially the four wheeled spinner type bags. Spinner bags put even less strain on bad backs as they are more easily moved around inside tight spaces like aircraft and in queues. You will probably end up carrying a two wheeled bag more frequently.

Best carry-on luggage for a bad back

With the coming of budget airlines comes carry-on only luggage. Exorbitant fees for putting luggage in the hold of an aircraft means more of us are using on carry-on bag instead. The same rules apply to choosing carry-on luggage – but more so as you will probably end up carrying it around the airport for longer.  Look for roller or spinner cases that most carriers will allow in the cabin, for example Ryan Air allow maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and British Airways a slightly more generous 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

If you are checking bags in then keep your hand luggage as light as you can. You can end up carrying it for a long time and you don’t want to lift a 23kg load above your head into a locker if you back is aching. A good option for a carry-on bag is a rucksack type design. Some even have wheels as well but this adds to the weight. Use both straps to avoid back strain too.

Travel light to avoid back pain

One more obvious bit of advice, of course, is to travel light. There is not much that you cannot get in to a Tesco shopping bag for a one week beach holiday so why weigh your self down.

When packing your case, put it on a bed rather than the floor so you are not bending over repeatedly. It is easy enough to slide it to the floor when full and it is closed without lifting it directly. At your destination either ask someone else to lift it onto the bed or luggage rack or unpack it on the floor. It is best to minimise lifting after a long journey.

Top luggage tips to avoid back pain

  • Use light, wheeled cases
  • Travel light
  • Raise the case up to pack
  • Get help lifting a full case
  • Avoid airport trolleys

If you get back from holiday and you are still getting back pain in spite of following these tips, or you want to get into tip top shape before you go, then feel free to give us a call for a check up to see if our chiropractors can help you.

For more holiday tips to prevent back pain go here

Preventing Back Pain on Holiday and Chiropractor Treatment Abroad

Back pain on holiday is very common. One of the biggest causes is lack of activity and an already stiff spine. Mobilising the spine and a few simple exercises are often enough to prevent back pain from spoiling your holiday.

In daily life we are often fairly active even if we work behind a desk.  Travelling to work as well as getting up and moving around when we are there keeps us mobile. On a summer holiday however we may spend hours lying on a sun bed, sunbathing or reading. Sun beds are notorious for poor support for the back. The odd plop into the pool to cool off does little to help counter this.

At the end of a long and inactive day we tumble into bed where the back can be in for more punishment. Hotel beds are often unsupportive allowing your back to sag. Sometimes the bed is too hard and your back has to adapt to the mattress rather than the other way round. Back pain is the result.

What can you do to prevent back pain on holiday?

Your back is designed for movement and hates being still. First thing in the morning, before it is too hot, go for a half hour walk or swim to wake up your back muscles and mobilise the back joints that have stiffened up over night.

If you spend a lot time on a sun bed then vary your position frequently. Move to other furniture throughout the day so you are not on the sun bed for more than an hour at a time, less if you are getting back pain already. Changing to a chair every now and again can help a lot.

Through the day do these back exercises every couple of hours. The exercises will keep the back joints mobile and muscles supple.

Any other activities are also likely to help. If the resort has any aquarobics, fitness classes, yoga or Pilates then sign up and give it a go, your back will love you. More vigorous exercise like tennis, cycling and water sports can also help.

Hotel beds and back pain

Back pain is often caused by a poor mattress. If the bed is too hard putting a duvet under the bottom sheet can help soften it up a bit. It the mattress sags or is too soft then pulling it off the base and onto the floor may improve matters. If all else fails then complain and ask for different bed.

Treatment for back pain whilst abroad

If these tips are not helping enough then the most accessible help is likely to be a deep massage. Massage is widely available in resorts but it needs to be quite firm rather than gentle and relaxing for the most benefit for back pain.

For more serious back pain you would benefit from seeing a local chiropractor. To check for the nearest qualified chiropractor in Europe go here and for the rest of the world go here. If you have seen us before we can email your notes to the local chiropractor to help you get the best treatment. Here are some tips on choosing a good chiropractor.

Of course if you are on holiday in Brighton and want a local chiropactor, give us a call.

Pre-holiday chiropractic check-ups

If your spine is already a bit stiff before you travel you are much more likely to get pain whilst you are away. We recommend a pre-holiday check-up even if you are currently pain free. A bit of prevention can go a long way in keeping you pain-free.

More

Best holiday luggage for bad backs

10 Top Tips for Preventing Back Pain on Holiday

Preventing Injuries on Holiday

Keep Hydrated to Prevent Joint Pains