Physiotherapists often come across young women who report back pain that has lingered on since their pregnancy. A second pregnancy can magnify the existing back problem that has not been adequately treated after the first delivery. Low back pain (LBP) and pelvic girdle pain (PGP) are prevalent worldwide among pregnant women. It is estimated that 20-25% of women suffer from PGP during pregnancy and/or through the postpartum period; a seriously high proportion that warrants professional care (Stuge, 2012). While many recover spontaneously soon after childbirth or within 3-4 months thereafter, some women continue to suffer from infrequent PGP over many years.
Low back pain, increased body weight, and sedentary lifestyle prior to conception may increase the risk of pregnancy related LBP and pain persistent during the postpartum period. In a study on 1,158 pregnant Spanish women; leg pain, LBP, and PGP were associated with increased body mass index, decreased number of hours of sleep, depression, anxiety, and advanced stage of pregnancy (Kovacs et al, 20120). Among working women who are pregnant, the pregnancy related predictors of PGP are history of LBP, uncomfortable postures at work, number of hours of rest, and higher birth weight of the fetus (Stomp-van den Berg et al, 2012). Pain provocation tests and pre-pregnancy LBP have been significantly associated with Disability rating index as well as pain intensity at postpartum 12 weeks. (Robinson et al).
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