Neuromuscular changes during pregnancy leading to lower-back pain
Our Evoker Sydney CBD womens health physios talk to Health times about the Neuromuscular changes during pregnancy and how this can lead to lower-back pain and not an increase in the lumbar curvature according to new research published in PLOS One and The Spinal Journal.
One of the most common complications during pregnancy is lower-back pain, with literature reporting 50 to 80 per cent of women are affected. The incidence of lower-back pain is higher in the third trimester of pregnancy when the most critical biomechanical and morphological changes take place.
In the study, researchers analysed changes to the spine and the muscle groups of the lower back during the last three months of pregnancy and compared these findings with the same group of pregnant women two months after giving birth and with non-pregnant women.
The study challenges the traditional belief that pregnancy leads to an increase in lumbar curvature, instead showing that muscle responses, and not lumbar curvatures, are altered by pregnancy which may be important in the design of new exercise regimens for pregnant women.
The incidence of lower-back pain is higher in the third trimester of pregnancy when the most critical biomechanical and morphological changes take place.
According to Julia Bruce, a physiotherapist at Evoker, this study is one of many that confirms pregnancy involves specific biomechanical changes in women.
The study, conducted on pain-free women in their third trimester of pregnancy, needs further investigation, according to Ms Bruce.
“This (further study) would determine if there is a correlation between specific biomechanical changes and lower-back pain that exists in this population.
“There is also a need for consistency in measuring tools, and larger sample sizes are desired across studies, to satisfactorily conclude whether there are genuine changes in the lumbar curvature, as there are still conflicting results in the research,” said Ms Bruce.
In terms of the implications this research might have on treating pregnant women and in particular, those experiencing lower-back pain, Ms Bruce said it would depend on the client.
“The management of pregnant woman in a physiotherapy capacity is individual, and treatment must be tailored to each woman’s specific needs, and this will continue to be the case.”
There are common conditions and issues faced by women during pregnancy, said Ms Bruce, but there is also a diversity in presentation and symptom manifestation amongst this patient group.
“It is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach to symptom management and exercise prescription,” said Ms Bruce.
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