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Self-help may relieve back pain during pregnancy

Self-management techniques may ease back pain during and after pregnancy, according to Dutch researchers
Learning a few self-help techniques may ease lower back pain that is common during and after pregnancy, research suggests.

In a study of 126 women who experienced continuing back pain after childbirth, researchers found that those who learned self-management techniques from a physical therapist fared better than those who received standard care.

The findings, published in the online journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, suggest that learning how to deal with back pain in day-to-day life can be more useful to women than traditional medical care, where the therapist "has an expert role and sets the treatment goals", according to lead researcher Dr Caroline H. G. Bastiaenen of Maastricht University.

She told Reuters Health that for women in the self-management group, the therapist acted like a teacher instead, offering each patient advice on their daily activities.

At the three-month mark, women in the self-management group were more likely to have recuperated and returned to work.

There were no major differences between the groups after one year, but this was because most of the women had recovered by that point, Dr Bastiaenen said.

Back pain is very common during pregnancy because hormonal changes lead to softening of the ligaments and tendons, making women more prone to injury and strain.

After childbirth, having young children tends to require bending and carrying, and this also gives rise to pain in the lower back.

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I experienced really bad low back pain during my recent pregnancy until about 32 weeks - when I decided to book myself in for a pregnancy massage. the therapist was fabulous, she did various stretching excercises for my lower back with me leaning over a birthing ball. It worked wonders and completely alleviated my low back pain. Following that I had a few more massages in the last couple of months of my pregnancy when I felt the back ache was developing again, and found that the massage really helped again. It's well worth a try.
by AnnD 7th Oct 2008, 9:34am

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