Thursday, June 21, 2018

Watch out your High Heels in Pregnancy

Posted On : August 28,2014

Dr. Satnam Singh Chabbra, Neuro and Spine Surgeon Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi

Looking well groomed and fashionable is desired by most of the young women professionals. High heels are popular fashion trends, prompting women to seek surgeries to fit into the shoes. 

However style statement sometimes may turn sour and your fashion choice may make you a style victim. Teaming your style carelessly makes it too easy for the latest fashion trend to turn troublesome. Even renowned fashion designer Victoria Beckham paid the price of choosing a wrong style at wrong time, when she suffered slip disc during her pregnancy. With every trend comes the health risk. Research suggests that there are medium and long term health effects associated with wearing regular high heels and are very likely to contribute to common musculo-skeleton problems.

It is estimated that nearly 70 per cent of the global population suffers from back pain out of which 25 per cent (approx) such cases are of those individuals (women) who get affected by slipped disc during their pregnancy. There is increased number of cases of back pain, lower back pain, slip disc and sciatica. 
Disease: A human backbone or spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. In between them are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance.

It occurs when the disks that are located throughout the vertebrae become damaged or injured. Gradually they lose their cushioning ability which lead to pain, if back is stressed. The location of the pain depends on which disk is weak. Coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving and bending forward may make the pain worse. The pain gets worse because these movements put more pressure on the nerve.

Symptoms: Due to prolonged use of high heels a woman may experience mildly painful spasms, which can be the first sign of slip disc in early pregnancy. The most common cause of back pain in pregnancy is sacraoilliac joint. Other common symptoms include - back pain, pain radiating down the legs, gradual developing towards neck or lower-back pain, worsening pain while bending over or sitting down, pain associated with activities like coughing or sneezing are the common indication of slipped disc.

When to seek medical advice: Back pain is common but normally not serious. If pain persists in back, upper or lower back or neck then it needs to see doctor immediately. A sudden loss of feeling or weakness in extremities is a clear indication to seek doctor’s advice.

Stage: At the initial stage, it causes difficulty to move around due to severe pain. Here, best advice for slipped disc during pregnancy is bed rest and analgesics. However, when diagnosed (during pregnancy) it is also very important to keep yourself active. The patient should start moving around as soon as she gets relaxed from the pain. This will keep back mobile and speed up the recovery. It is also very important to ensure that any exercise (including walking) the patient is doing is gentle and does not put a strain. Here, swimming is an ideal form of exercise. It helps to strengthen muscles that have become weak.

It uses both large muscle groups -- arms and legs. It provides good cardiovascular benefits and allows expecting women to feel weightless despite the extra pounds added by pregnancy. The patient should avoid lifting and sitting for a prolonged period.

Almost 90 per cent of such cases resole with rest. If the problem continues post-pregnancy, a micro-endoscopic discectomy can be performed. 

Treatment: The pain is a warning signal. This is diagnosed with a physical exam. With treatment, most people recover. The first strategy should be ensuring that patient is getting sufficient rest. Typically, conventional therapy is the first line of treatment to manage the condition. It includes bed rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy (which may include combination of massage, conditioning and exercise programs, weight control, use of a lumbosacral back support) and sometimes surgery. Usually, it takes four to six weeks to recover from a slipped disc but in pregnancy it could take some longer time. Here, it is advised to do some gentle exercises to handle the pain.

Physiotherapy: As part of treatment program, patient may be referred to physiotherapists who use physical methods like massage. This keeps patient active and minimize the pain and also prevent any further damage.

Osteopathy and chiropractic: This process is chosen to try osteopathy or to see a chiropractor.
Medication: A patient may be prescribed a number of different medicines to help ease pain.

Surgery: Surgery is not considered during pregnancy. Only in cases of severe neurological impairment is spinal surgery remotely considered. In other cases, the surgery does not work for everyone and is required in about 1 in 10 cases. The aim of surgery is to cut away the piece of the disc that bulges out.

Acupuncture: It is a kind of traditional treatment or complementary or alternative. A trained acupuncturist puts sterile needles into patient’s skin. Acupuncture improves the flow of energy around the body and encourages the release of natural chemicals that block pain and help patient feel relaxed. 

Tips for easing pain during pregnancy: If back pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination or vaginal bleeding, it would be to consult doctor immediately.

Wear low-healed (but not flat) shoes – avoid lifting heavy objects – avoid too soft bed -don't bend over from the waist – always bend on knees – always keep back straight - use legs to lift - sit in chairs with good back support - use a pillow behind the lower part of back while seating - wear a maternity girdle, Observe the rules of postural hygiene.