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Back Pain: Symptoms, Cause, Medication, Treatment

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A common problem with many adults is back pain. Many of us experience back pain caused by our daily routines such as when we spend too much time sitting while at work, or when we drive for a long period of time. Lifting heavy furnitures while cleaning up at home, working in the garden, or lifting weights in the gym can also cause back pain. These activities can sometimes put so much pressure and weight on your back causing low back injuries such as muscle strain or spasm, sprain of ligaments, joint problems, or slipped disk. When we have back pain, it affects our daily functions. The feeling of pain can be from slightly tolerable to unbearably painful. Knowing what caused your back pain is something you need to discuss with your doctor.

Slipped Disk or Herniated Disk

When a disk between the bones of the spine swells or bulges and starts pressing on nerves, a slipped disk or herniated disk occurs. This is often caused by twisting while lifting. When you have a slipped disk, you may experience difficulty in doing regular tasks or activities like sitting and bending. When the injury is severe, you will have the tendency to avoid movement due to intense pain. A lot of people don’t realize what caused their slipped disk but it is worthy to know that the injury will not lead to paralysis, and treatment is readily available.

Natural Pain Relief

Treatment options for Herniated disk or Slipped disk can fall into Non-surgical or Surgical methods. Both treatments have risk and benefit factors. It is important that you discuss it with your doctor. However, most back pain can be relieved by a few simple methods that doctors would suggest to try non-surgical means first to reduce irritation of the nerve. Natural pain relief such as enough bed rest, proper posture when sitting, walking, and lying, as well as regular exercise can do the tricks.

When sleeping, the best position is to sleep on your side with your knees bent. A pillow under your head is recommended to support your neck and may use a pillow in between your knees. You can also lie on your back on a firm mattress with pillows under your knees. Or you can lie on the floor with your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair. This takes the pressure and weight off your back. You may only need about two days of this sort of rest for a hurt back. Too much bed rest can cause your muscles to weaken and slows down your recovery. Try to walk around, even when it sometimes hurt, for a few minutes every hour. Such regular movement can help maintain muscle tone but limit activities such as prolonged sitting, lifting, and bending which can aggravate the symptoms.

Proper sitting position can help provide back pain relief. Choose chairs with straight backs or low-back support. See to it that you keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Make adjustments with your seat or use a low stool to prop your feet on. When you turn, move your whole body rather than by just twisting at your waist.

Driving for long hours can strain your back. Try to sit straight by moving the seat forward to keep you from leaning forward when you reach for the controls. It may help to use a small pillow or rolled towel behind your lower back if you must drive or sit for a long time.

People whose work requires them to stand for a long period of time must find a way to rest one foot on a low stool from time to time, and try to switch with the other foot every 5 to 15 minutes. Maintaining a good posture is necessary in order to avoid back pain. Always try to keep your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line with your head up and your stomach pulled in.

To relax painful muscle spasms, try using heating pads for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Likewise, ice packs and massages may also give the same back pain relief benefits.

Pain Medication

Muscle relaxant medications and anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to relieve pain and discomfort until the body heals itself. However, some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen sodium, may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Always consult with your doctor any medication to determine whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks for you.

Surgical Method

When nonsurgical therapy does not ease your discomfort or the pain is getting worse and becoming unbearable, your doctor may recommend surgical procedure as option. There are various surgeries available that range from the minimally invasive methods to a more serious procedure such as spinal fusion. The complexity of the surgery will depend on the severity of your condition.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation program may vary depending on the procedure the patient went through and the doctor’s preference. Exercise regimen may include:

* Exercises to strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles
* Exercises to improve your posture
* Stretches to increase the flexibility of your spine and legs
* Exercises to maintain your cardiovascular conditioning while you recover

Prolonged bed rest is not advised as it can lead to a decrease in your overall physical condition. Get up and move with caution following your doctor’s recommendations regarding specific activities you should participate in.

Indeed, back pain relief and the alleviation of other body aches is not impossible. Various drugs and therapies are now available to people who need to reclaim their health and resume their normal lives — free from pain and discomfort.

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Back Pain On Lower Right Side: Common Causes and Prevention Tips

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Back pain on lower right side is quite a common phenomenon and can be cured in six weeks or less, but only if the exact cause is found and eliminated. Most of the doctors aim to treat the back pain without trying to find out the exact cause of that pain.

In majority of the cases back pain on lower right side is the result of a poor posture, an injury in the back, muscle imbalances, improper lifting or bending or extra body weight. Poor posture is the most common cause of back pain on lower right side. An appropriate posture lends stability and strength to the spine. A large number of people can alleviate their back pain by taking efforts to improve their posture.

An injury can often result in back pain on lower right side. Although we can take steps to avoid any form of injury, it may still happen. Back pain resulting from any kind of injury can generally be rectified or its intensity can be reduced by undertaking proper stretching exercises. It is important that we take proper steps to keep the muscles in our body in a proper balance. An imbalance in our muscles can often lead to back pain on lower right side. Proper exercise is essential to maintain the balance amongst the various muscles in our body.

Improper lifting refers to an incorrect way to lift the things from the floor or anywhere and generally results in back pain on lower right side. It is essential that one follows the correct way to lift things. One should bend from the knees and not from the waist to pick up things from the floor, irrespective of the weight of the thing to be lifted. Back pain on the lower right side can also occur when a person tries to lift excessive weight. Obese people also tend to suffer from back pain. The solution thus lies in shedding the extra weight on your body.

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How to manage your back pain?

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Well now, I’ve done a lot of research on back pain management and I’m as confused as you are. As if it’s not enough that one has to endure back pain, one must also, all the experts agree, manage it. Odd. They never talk about managing toothache.

So, why back pain management? Although it’s never said in so many words, I suspect that back pain is one of those rather nasty disorders that, while not socially unacceptably nasty, doesn’t ever really go away. We’re not talking here about your wife’s pregnancy back pains or back pain caused by a tumour; we’re talking your average Joe’s back pain that just … won’t go away.

The bad news is that this sort of general back pain is usually caused by bad posture and incorrect back health. The good news is that essentially general back pain is a consequence of bad back pain management and can be managed by good back pain management. Make sense?

When back pain treatment doesn’t work, it’s time to start managing the pain. Back pain management, like back pain, varies for different individuals. For some, back pain management means learning to put up with it and maybe taking a pain killer when it becomes really unbearable. But that’s not good back pain management.

Good back pain management starts with changing your lifestyle and your attitude towards your body, particularly your back and spine.

  • Your spine supports you; without it, you’d be a a floppy toy. Your spine is supported by the muscles of your back. When they’re weak and / or inflexible, your spine strains to perform even the most simple movements, including bending and carrying. So, the first step in managing back pain is to develope a gentle exercise program to keep your muscles fit, supple and healthy.
  • There are many types of exercise that are good for your back muscles, including yoga, walking and swimming. Water aerobics, for instance, is fun, inexpensive and recommended by most doctors and experts in the field of back pain management.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating correctly, exercising and substituting cigarettes and punishing exercise routines with homeopathic herbal and vitamin supplements.
  • Learn about good posture, particularly if you have a job that has you always sitting at a desk or if you are on your feet all day. Always bend the knees when bending or lifting; always hollow the back when kneeling; when carrying, distribute weight evenly; when standing for long periods stand with your feet slightly apart; when pushing or pulling try to keep your back straight and take the strain on your arms.

Back pain management should be seen as a long-term investment in good health.

A long soak in a hot tub, the steam delicately scented with the fragrance of oil of lavendar. Candles throw thin shadows on the damp walls. Music plays softly in the background. You’re content, relaxed, following a delicious meal including oysters and just a few wicked drops of champagne. Your partner has promised you a sensuous back massage when you get out of the tub … and then, who knows?

An erotic fantasy? No, just sure-fire back pain relief.

Back pain relief doesn’t have to be only about traction or exercise routines thought out by a particularly sadistic ex-marine (probably on the run) or vile-tasting herbal back pain relief remedies created by Hyde’s evil twin – the chemist from hell.

Back pain relief should be pleasant, relaxing, relieving, simple, enjoyable and effective.

Visualization techniques, massage, hot or cold therapy treatments, good posture training programs, light exercise routines, a sensible diet, yoga for back pain relief, hynotherapy, acupuncture and the purchase of a good bed will all contribute to relieving your back pain.

Unless, of course, your back pain is caused by a seemingly unrelated disease; but most Americans suffer some form of backache at some stage in their life and the reality of back pain is that it is most often caused by poor posture, too little exercise, work-related back strains and stresses, sports injuries or a touch of arthritis.

For these conditions, back pain relief involves a variety of sensible treatments that include stopping smoking, learning new posture habits, taking the dog for a walk every night and pampering your back with regular massage.

I suffer with severe upper back pain, caused by sitting over a typewriter most of the day, even when I’m not working. I relief it by massaging my shoulders when I take a break; I swim every day and then lie on the firm grass and do some gentle yoga; I make a conscious effort to sit with my legs comfortably and firmly on the ground when I’m at my desk; I treat myself to a hot bath once a week that includes an infusion of garden herbs; I take vitamins daily and I make sure I walk around every half hour to relieve muscle tension.

My oldest friend (in both senses of the word) suffers with what she calls her ‘bad knees’. She can hardly climb a flight of stairs. And so she avoids exercise. Fatal mistake. Back pain relief is a matter of practicing good back health; just as you shower or bath every day to keep your skin healthy. Exercise is vital to keep the muscles of your spine supple and strong to enable them to perform their job – keeping you upright.

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Choosing the right back pain exercise

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Back pain exercises are much sought after these days because back pain is a common phenomenon amongst people under the age of 45 and can be rectified effectively only if the true cause behind the pain is identified. Barring a few exceptions, exercises for back pain are effective for all types of back pain, be it the pain in the lower back ore pain in the upper back. Exercises also provide a solution for back pain related to genetically or trauma related deformities and subsequent pain.

Causes of Back Pain

Before we understand about the exercises to relieve back pain, we should have an understanding of human spine and possible causes of back pain. Human body depends on the spinal column for structural stability and mobility. It is the spine which provides us the necessary support to bend, twist or move around. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae which are placed one on another from the skull to the pelvis. The spinal column is tightly wrapped by muscles and ligaments. Now any type of injury in these muscles or ligaments can result in pain. You can rectify or reduce such back pains by carrying out proper back pain exercises.

Exercises- The Safest Cure For Back Pain

Backache usually is a result of the spasm of muscles supporting our spine. This occurs due to improper posture, or sudden movements or jerks or repetitive actions. Diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, viral infection, and bladder or kidney infection, gynecological problems in women, tumors and trauma can also cause back pain. Excess body weight, wearing of improper shoes and carrying heavy weights can also result in back pain. The best remedy for backache occurring from these reasons is back pain exercises. This is mainly because exercises to relieve back pain are safe and free from any possible side effects that is a possibility with other treatments for back pain.

However, back pain exercises may not prove to be effective in cases where the pain is not caused by an improper posture or sudden movements, jerks or is accompanied by bowel or bladder control problems. In such cases, it is advisable that the person suffering from backache consults a physician and gets a proper treatment.

The best way to avoid back ache is to maintain a proper posture and keep your muscles well conditioned by undertaking proper back pain exercises. One should never bend at the waist or stoop to pick up an object. Instead, we should lower our body to the level of the object by bending our knees.

The most common back pain exercise is to stand straight or sit on a comfortable chair that provides adequate support to your back. You should avoid sitting or standing in a single posture for a long time. Even while sleeping, you should be careful as to the type of mattress being used. Slouching or leaning forward should be avoided at all times. Yoga and mediation go a long way in relieving back pain and are very good exercises.

Prevention, it is said is the best cure for back pain. You can avoid backache by undertaking back pain exercises on a regular basis. These exercises strengthen the muscles in the abdomen and the spinal area and ensure that there is adequate support to the spine. Wall slides, leg raises and leg swings are the best exercises and abdominal strengthening exercises prove to be effective in toning up our back muscles.

Read our related articles for Back pain massage, and other back pain exercises to have detailed information about exercises to cure back pain.

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Tips, procedures and strategies on back pain relief

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Low back pain is one of the oldest occupational health problems in history and one of the most common causes of work-related complaints among adults.  Approximately 15 million people visit the doctors each year because of lower back pain.  It is estimated that a total of $25 billion is spent every year to treat this form of body ache.   For this reason, the back pain relief and muscle relaxant industries are growing by leaps and bounds.

Low back pain is a muscular and skeletal ailment that afflicts millions of people around the world.  People with blue-collar jobs or those who are required to do heavy manual work are more prone to lumbar aches.  No wonder, construction workers are often diagnosed with low back pain.  If left untreated, this ailment can result to absenteeism and decreased productivity. Worse, it could even be the cause of more serious health problems.
To determine the severity of low back pain, you may use the following parameters to see how “bad” your back is:

  • Acute Low back pain last less than 6 weeks
  • Sub-Acute Low back pain between 6 and 12 weeks
  • Chronic Low back pain persists for more than 12 weeks

The good news is that there are a variety of treatments for back pain.  One of the easiest ways to ease the aches is to use a muscle relaxant.  Back pain relief is as easy as popping a pill.  However, it is important to get your doctor’s advice since medications for back pain are often doctor-prescribed and cannot be bought over the counter.

These are other helpful tips, procedures and strategies on back pain relief that you may want to consider:

  • Apply a cold pack to the painful area for 5-10 minutes at time
  • Use an heating pad on the painful area if the pain is still there within a few days
  • Protect your back. Avoid sudden turning or bending. Go on with your usual activities and try to avoid bed rest
  • Get expert professional treatments
  • Nonprescription Pain Medications
  • Spinal Manipulation
  • Get a massage
  • Try acupuncture
  • Traction treatments
  • Biofeedback
  • Back Belts and Corsets
  • Injections into the back

Certainly, back pain relief goes beyond office furniture and medication.  The cause of back pain can also be stress at work, family problems, and other distressing situations that may not necessarily due to work or physical exertion.  The build-up of everyday stress can make your muscles tighten up and contribute to the slow but painful tension of the back or lumbar muscles.  Self-hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery are also being promoted as tools or techniques to reduce the discomforts association with lumbar ailments.  Back pain relief options can be expensive, depending on the specific technique prescribed by the therapist.

But surely, regardless of the severity or degree of back pain, it is always best to consult a doctor or healthcare professional.  The back pain may be a symptom of other illnesses or health problems.

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How to minimize the problems caused by back pain?

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Back pain is a common phenomenon in the United States with nearly 80% of the population suffering from it. However, a large portion of them are unaware of the reasons or the causes of this problem. A strain in the muscles is a major cause of the pain the back. Although back related pain may emerge suddenly, it may be caused by a problem which has plagued us for a long time.

Back pain is generally not a serious problem and disappears quickly in most of the cases. However, medical advice is essential in cases where the pain persists for a long time. It is a general notion that bed rest is the best cure for this pain. But evidence has shown that rest does not aid in the recovery of a person suffering from backache. It is much better if one carries on with normal activities while taking some measures for relieving the pain.

It is one of the most common ailments with 8 out of 10 people experiencing it at one or the other point of time in their life. Pain can be acute, recurrent or chronic. Most of the people suffering from back pain fall in the first category wherein the pain vanishes in about six weeks and home remedies prove to be very effective. In the case of the recurrent category, the pain reappears after some time while chronic pain lasts for a longer period of time.

The intensity of back pain varies from person to person. It can vary from a dull ache to a searing pain and its onset may be sudden, without any reason. Severe and recurrent pain should not be ignored and proper medical advice should be sought. People experiencing difficulty in passing urine or having numbness in the back or the genital area, weakness and a shooting pain in the leg or feeling unstable while standing should consult a physician immediately.

Back Pain Remedies

Massage is an effective way of reducing back pain. The incidence or the severity of the pain can be reduced by finding out the exact reason for the pain, eliminating or modifying the factors/situations causing pain and trying to find the best possible remedy. A poor posture or manual activities such as lifting, bending and twisting can result in back related pain.

Early recognition of symptoms, proper treatment and appropriate rehabilitation measures are very important and help in minimizing the problems caused by back pain. A person suffering from back related pain may need to get the following tests done to find out the exact cause: a) blood test b) urine examination c) ultrasonography of abdomen and pelvis d) an X-ray of the lumbar or sacral region e) MRI of the spine f) examination of rectum, prostate, genito urinary organs.

Several over the counter medicines are available for the treatment of various back pains. Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the two commonly recommended drugs that for people suffering from low back pain. In case of acute pain, the doctors may recommend narcotic pain medications or muscle relaxants.

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What causes back pain along with crucial tips on how to avoid it

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Back pain is one thing most likely to elicit a twinge of sympathy from the hardest of hearts. It is estimated that every person in the world will suffer from it in his/her lifetime – mild to serious, chronic or temporary.

You could get an attack at any point along the spine, especially the lower back area which takes on the maximum weight and stress. Most common causes: strain or bruising of muscles; sprain or injury to ligaments; and spasms when the injured muscle knots up as part of the body’s attempt to immobilize it to prevent further injury. Other causes include osteoporosis, arthritis, a slipped disc, or even excessive gas, besides more serious causes like tumors, diabetes or kidney malfunctions that emerge in a doctor’s clinic.

Blame it on your Lifestyle

An important factor and one that is entirely in you hands, is lifestyle. For instance, improper postures while sitting and sleeping, and carelessness during walking, stretching or playing, especially when you are overweight, are few common causes. Grand illusions of being a Hercules incarnate and lifting heavy weights or improperly hefting them around are other frequent errors.

Bad posture is the biggest culprit. Desk jobs mean sitting for hours before computers where we unconsciously slump into odd positions. Or twist our backs frequently while trying to reach for something behind or beside us, or stretch forward too far; too fast. We also unconsciously slip into awkward positions while reading or watching TV sprawled on the bed or sofa.

Sit up

Chairs with gaps at the lower back level are deadly – avoid them. And if you think you are invulnerable because you have that perfectly ‘ergonomically’ designed chair; know this – most people unconsciously lean forward in such a way that their lower back moves away from the chair base and thus remains unsupported.

Get up and Walk around

Sitting anywhere, anyhow, for long periods means that dangerous pressure points develop along the back. The load on you back is the highest when you are sitting, less while standing and least when you are sleeping.

The golden rule is to get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes. When on a long drive, get out of the car, walk around, stretch you limbs after every two hours. While driving, the back of the car seat should not recline beyond 30 degrees and ideally the seat bottom should be tilted up slightly in front.

It’s not a high

Avoid regular use of high heels – they hamper good posture, ruin you body’s alignment and hurt the back, feet and neck. Our feet are designed to bear the entire weight of the body evenly across their surface. However, the feet and legs are placed in and unnatural position when you wear heels. Most of the pressure is transferred to the front of the foot.

Stressed Out

The modern-day stress epidemic is another factor since back pain can be psychosomatic. Stress/emotional problems both cause back pain and aggravate any existing pain. Yoga and meditation sessions are effective in such cases.

Weak stomach muscles heighten back strain and cause you pelvis to twist abnormally. Regular and proper exercise help tremendously since it keeps joints mobile, muscles conditioned and, more importantly, raises your pain threshold.

Don’t over Exercise

Doctors receive many back-pain patients who are victims of improperly-trained gym instructors or half-baked yoga teachers. Suddenly launching into heavy, unaccustomed activity is a sure recipe for disaster.

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Benefits of Back Massage Therapy

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Back pain is a common ailment; however, people may get better within a few weeks through massages. Massage is known to improve blood flow and eases tension, thus providing relaxation to muscles. While gentle massages are pleasurable, it does not necessarily offer relief to sufferers of acute low back pain. Combining massage with other treatments, such as physical therapy and chiropractic, is likely to produce best results. In addition, back massages, in combination with non-medical treatments, back exercises and good diet, ensures gradual pain relief.

Benefits of Back Massage Therapy

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research proves that massage therapy provides many important health benefits, including:

  • Improvement in blood circulation in the body, which aids in the recovery of muscle soreness due to physical activity.
  • Relaxation of muscles for an improved range of motion. Muscle relaxation also helps in the treatment of insomnia.
  • Increased endorphin levels. The increase in endorphin levels is actually one of the greatest benefits of the massage therapy. Endorphins are body chemicals that lend a feel-good feeling, which is very effective in managing chronic pain.

It is important to ensure that precautions are exercised while receiving massage therapy. Your muscle should relax in response to the pressure applied by a massage therapist, in the absence of which, it is possible that muscles are inflamed. In such cases, you should not opt for back massages as a treatment option and consult his/her doctor for the treatment. Most muscle spasms require four massage treatments, usually spread over a six weeks period, to achieve best results. If muscle spasms do not respond to the neuromuscular therapy within two massages, try using another therapy.

If you have severe lower back pain, it is advisable that you undergo thorough medical checkup before commencing the massage therapy.

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Four ideas to follow for a trouble-free pregnancy at work

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Largely because of the huge financial impact of bringing a child into the world, more women are now choosing to work well into the last trimester of their pregnancy. But financial reasons aside, many women place equal importance to their careers as they do their families, believing that they can fulfill the roles of  mother, wife and career woman all at the same time. In fact, some women continue working until they actually deliver their baby. This is a departure from the old practice of women resigning immediately after finding out that she is pregnant, which for many years is believed to be one of the reasons why women should not advance as high as their male counterparts do in the workplace hierarchy.

The truth is, its not impossible for a woman to continue working during pregnancy, as long as she remains healthy during this period. However. this can present some challenges especially since pregnancy has its share of aches and pains. Take morning sickness, for example. Its name may be misleading some women into thinking that it only strikes at a particular time of day, but the feeling of nausea may actually threaten to overwhelm a pregnant woman at any given time of the day especially during the first trimester, but it may continue throughout the pregnancy.

Women are also more easily tired and uncomfortable as their bodies cope with the increasing demands of carrying the baby, and the stress of being pregnant is often aggravated by job stress. Certain work conditions may also aggravate job stress or be dangerous for both mother and unborn child such as frequent shift changes, strenuous physical tasks, hot or cold working environments, long commutes, prolonged standing, repetitive lifting of heavy objects, heavy vibrations such as from large machines and exposure to harmful substances.

Even if the job doesn’t present any obvious threat, there will still be a need to make some changes to a pregnant woman’s working conditions. These changes must be made to ensure the continuing good health of both mother and child. Here are some ideas that the pregnant woman may want to follow for a trouble-free pregnancy at work:

  • Avoid anything that may trigger an attack of nausea, and drink plenty of fluids. Keep a supply of crackers, bottled water, hard candy, lemon drops, ginger ale, ginger tea and other bland foods handy in the office to help ease the nausea in case it attacks.
  • Pregnant women tire easily, with their energy level fluctuating throughout the day. During this time it is extremely important that a woman gets an adequate amount of sleep at night and opportunity to take short, frequent breaks during the day to recharge. This may mean rethinking your work schedule and scaling back on activities both inside and outside the home such as doing chores. It may also help if you have a comfortable chair and enough pillows to support your back, and a place to put your feet up.
  • Exercise does wonders during pregnancy, because it greatly improves your overall health and wellbeing. It boosts mood, enhances the quality of sleep, reduces pregnancy aches and pains, and prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance. This is especially important because during pregnancy and childbirth, a woman’s body is subjected to a great deal of stress. Exercise also makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby’s born, and helps ease constipation, backache, fatigue, varicose veins, circulation problems and other health issues related to pregnancy. The most recommended exercises for pregnant women are walking, swimming, yoga, stretching, and low-impact aerobics. Pelvic exercises called Kegel exercises are also beneficial to the expectant mother, helping to strengthen the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bowel, and bladder; these body parts are put under pressure during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Bending and lifting. Proper form can spare your back, even if you’re lifting something light. Bend at your knees, not your waist. Keep the load close to your body, lifting with your legs — not your back. Avoid twisting your body while lifting. If a load is too heavy to handle easily, ask for help.
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Why pregnant women often end up with hemorrhoids?

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Baby hemorrhoids are a common thing and one of the many uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. These are not hemorrhoids on the baby, but hemorrhoids that the mother to be gets during the 10 months of pregnancy. Even the woman who has never gotten hemorrhoids in the past can experience them during pregnancy, so it’s best to be forewarned.

Why do hemorrhoids occur so frequently in pregnant women? Hemorrhoids are caused by undue pressure on the veins in your rectum and intestines below the level of your uterus. When you are pregnant, the growing baby increases the pressure on those veins and arteries. This can cause hemorrhoids and clotting as well as varicose vein and other pressure related problems.

Constipation is another problem common to pregnancy and also a leading cause of hemorrhoids. Should hemorrhoids be caused by the pressure of the baby in the uterus, then constipation can aggravate the situation, inflaming hemorrhoids and possibly causing them to rupture and bleed. It is the straining during constipation that causes the anal canal to push out hemorrhoids instead of the bowel movement – or both.

Another reason why pregnant women often end up with hemorrhoids is the same reason why they exhibit wild mood swings and nausea – hormones. The increased progesterone during pregnancy causes a breakdown in the protection mechanism in veins that usually slow or stop swelling. The walls relax and there’s nothing to stop the swelling. Progesterone also contributes to constipation, which as shown above, causes hemorrhoids and makes existing hemorrhoids even worse.

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are par for the course. There is no need to call your doctor unless you are bleeding. Do check in before using steroid treatments and over the counter medications. Try a sitz bath instead or a poultice.