PregnancyDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
While pregnancy elicits numerous changes in the female body, some of which are welcome and some that are not, perhaps the most common complaint experienced by pregnant women is back pain. Generally, pregnancy back pain occurs at the sacroiliac (SI) joint, joints of the lumbar spine or at a joint between the pubic symphysis, which is part of the pelvic rim. From the fluxing of hormonal levels there may weight gain and emotional stress. There are many factors contribute to pregnancy back pain.
In preparation for birth, the female body produces a hormone during pregnancy that relaxes ligaments and joints in the pelvic region. Appropriately called relaxin, this hormone also causes the ligaments in the lumbar spine to loosen. With less support for these muscles, it’s common for women to experience pain due to instability of the joint. At the same time, muscles in the abdominal core (rectus abdominus muscles), which add support and stability to the back, begin to separate in response to the expansion of the uterus. Without question, this adds to back pain and instability. Even so, weight gain and posture changes also prove to overwhelm back muscles, adding extra weight and pressure on blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and surrounding ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Treatment and Therapy for Pregnancy-Related Pain
With expertise across multiple disciplines and extensive knowledge concerning a wide range of conditions, physiatrists are adept at identifying and managing pregnancy-related pain. Based on specific circumstances and related conditions affecting a woman’s pregnancy, physiatrists often consult a team of medical professionals that guide patients in selective exercises. These exercises reduce pain, improve joint position, balance and control. Specialists may include physical and occupational therapists, clinicians and interventionists.
Under the direction of a physiatrist, the following may be incorporated into treatment and therapy to ease stress on the spine, joints and pelvis that contribute to pregnancy-related pain:
- Joint mobility and stability exercises
- Heat and/or ice therapy
- Education regarding posture and positioning
- Kinesio taping
- Stationary cycling
- Supportive bracing (maternity belt)
- Pregnancy-safe medication
- Biomechanical analysis and training
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their function.
To schedule your appointment, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly today.