Back Pain Before and After Pregnancy

Perry M. Perretz, DO

Pregnant women are notorious for suffering back and joint pains. The hormone called relaxin, produced by the body in the late in pregnancy, is partly responsible for those nagging pains, loosening the ligaments of the body in preparation for the stretching of the pelvis during labor and delivery. After the baby is born, the secretion of relaxin decreases, and the integrity of the pelvis is generally restored. There are plenty of women, however, whose pain continues well beyond the baby’s birth. They are generally too busy to pay much attention at first. Then, after months of suffering from back, leg, hip, or pelvic pain without relief, they are generally forced to conclude that this is just something they are going to have to live with. But nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s look at where the pain comes from, and how Prolotherapy can provide the cure.

Pelvic Pain

T.T. is a 34 year-old mom who came to our practice with low back problems ever since the birth of her son, thirteen years ago. “It feels like my tail bone is broken,” she said. “Every time I sit in a soft chair, like the ones at a movie theater, it feels like my butt is going to split in half!”

Tail bone pain, also known as coccygeal pain, is not uncommon after childbirth. As the baby pushes through the birth canal, it can push the tail bone backwards. While it doesn’t “break” the bone, it stretches and strains the ligaments that connect it to the rest of the spine, and that hurts! But after two sets of Prolotherapy injections at those sacro-coccygeal ligaments, T.T. was able to sit as long as she wanted without any pain.

A similar type of injury can occur in the front of the pubic arch, where the two halves of the pelvis meet. When the baby’s head pushes through the pelvis, it can create instability at that joint. This can lead to pain in the back, pelvis, groin, hip, thigh, or knees. It can also lead to urinary dysfunction, cramping, and pain during sex. There is an easy way to tell if there is a problem at the pubis. Lie down on your back, with your feet on the floor, and your knees bent. Get a basketball, or a roll of paper towels, and squeeze it between your thighs. If you hear a “clicking” sound in the pelvis, it’s most likely the two sides of the pelvis popping back into line. Prolotherapy will stabilize the entire pelvis, and eliminate the pain.

Neck and Back Pain

The extra weight of carrying a baby creates new stresses on an already-stressed body. Most new mothers are tight in the back and loose in the front from carrying the baby in the belly during pregnancy. Suddenly, after delivery, the weight of the baby is shifted from the lower belly to the shoulders and arms. This places greater strain on the ligaments of the neck and upper back, leading to headaches, neck and shoulder pain. Mom’s head weighs about as much as a three month-old baby, so every new mom is holding double the weight of the baby on her shoulders (Prolotherapy to the shoulder video) When she leans over a crib to place the baby down for a nap. The load placed on the lower back is remarkably increased by both the weight of the baby and the forward bending while supporting the head. These muscular strains occur frequently in healthy women. If the new mom has had previous neck or back pain, this can, figuratively, be the straw that breaks the mommy’s back! Prolotherapy repairs injured ligaments, and helps mothers to feel more like their old selves.

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