About This Blog:
- Having a history of poor spinal health or a herniated disc during pregnancy can make this special time particularly painful or worrisome for new and veteran mothers.
- Fortunately, most disc issues do not pose a threat to the health of the baby and they can be mitigated through lifestyle changes or minor procedures.
- In this blog, Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine explains what patients can do to manage their herniated disc pain while pregnant.
Herniated discs are painful. Herniated discs while pregnant can be even more painful. Interestingly enough, this condition can be common in pregnant women due to the expected weight gain and increased pressure on the spine. In some cases, women will not experience symptoms of a herniated disc nor will they know one exists during their pregnancy. On the other hand, a herniated disc may cause severe pain in women who are pregnant that may worsen as the baby develops.
Can Pregnancy Cause a Herniated Disc?
First and foremost, pregnancy is rarely the direct cause of a herniated disc. Unless the patient suffers from a severe case of osteoporosis or has recently sustained a traumatic injury to the lower back, it's unlikely a herniated disc developed from a woman's pregnancy. As we alluded to previously, other mitigating factors may contribute to a herniated disc during pregnancy, such as an underlying condition, pre-existing injury, or recent injury. Nevertheless, it's more common for women to experience general back aches and pains that are stemming from the changes taking place in the body and around the spine.
To put things into perspective, herniated discs are actually most common in males between the ages of 30 and 50. Still, that doesn't mean women are exempt from this condition. Women can develop herniated discs, and they can develop them at a young age too. In fact, 90% of individuals between the ages of 25 and 55 typically develop their herniated disc in the lower lumbar spine. Herniated discs that develop above the L4/5 and L5/S1 level are more common in people over the age of 55.
What Can Be Done For a Herniated Disc During Pregnancy?
For women who are experiencing moderate to severe herniated disc pain during their pregnancy, it’s important to remain positive and have the condition checked out and monitored by a spine specialist, like Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine. Mild to moderate cases of herniated discs are not generally problematic in regards to the health and safety of the woman and her baby. Severe cases, however, may require some type of treatment or intervention.
Patients should also be aware that lower back pain and pelvic pain is common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Maintaining a positive mindset and educating yourself about herniated discs is critical to a having a smooth, issue-free pregnancy. If you’re experiencing pain, talk to your OB/GYN about conservative treatment options (i.e. NSAIDs, bed rest, safe exercises, etc.) to prevent further injury or pain.
He or she may also suggest coordinating care with a spine surgeon like Dr. Mark Giovanini to discuss minimally invasive treatment options or spine surgery after you’ve delivered your baby. For now, these conservative and interventional treatment options may provide some comfort from your herniated disc pain (please consult your physician before trying any of these options):
- Physical therapy with pregnancy-safe exercises and stretches
- Heat and ice therapy
- Prenatal massage
- TENS units
For more information on minimally invasive spine surgery or to make an appointment with Dr. Giovanini, please call (850) 934-7545 or visit http://www.neuromicrospine.com/request-appointment.
We hope to see you soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.