Managing orthopedic conditions in pregnant patients leads to challenges that must be carefully considered so that the safety of both the mother and the fetus is maintained. During pregnancy, women experience many changes throughout their body. Women think about how becoming hormonal, gaining weight, and how other parts of our body will change. Shoulder and back pain during pregnancy is a common symptom that women experience. While it may be common for women to experience back pain during pregnancy because of the added weight and stress on the spine and pelvis, it should still be discussed with a healthcare professional.
Low back pain, especially from a bulging disc, is one of the most common symptoms during pregnancy, reported by nearly half of patients. As the uterus expands, the patient’s center of gravity shifts anteriorly, applying increased mechanical stress to the axial skeleton. Increasing lordosis and laxity in the sacroiliac ligaments contribute to the discomfort, especially in the lumbar region.
A bulging disc, also referred to as a herniated, protruding, or ruptured disc, occurs as discs degenerate and weaken, pushing cartilage into the space that contains the spinal cord, causing pain. Women who suffer from a bulging disc and become pregnant may find their lower back pain increases and requires additional treatment.
In other words, since another human being is growing inside, you have to carry around more weight. The weight of your baby can cause injuries, as now your ligaments are not as strong as they once were, and are subject to more of a work load. Changes in body mass and the distribution of weight during pregnancy, as well as alterations in the laxity of connective tissues, water retention, and even the propensity for inflammatory reactions, can all contribute to an increased incidence of back pain.
A bulging disc may be asymptomatic, leaving the sufferer unaware of the condition, while others may experience pain or numbness in the buttock and down the leg. The added weight and spinal stress during pregnancy can worsen a bulging disc and the pain associated with it.
Pregnancy can be painful enough and difficult to move around, so don’t let back pain get the better of you. To learn more about what could be causing your back pain during pregnancy, call Dr. Bill Hefley at (800) 336-2412 to request an appointment, or request one online.