How early motherhood back pain affects back strength and function

May 29, 2014 by David Stacey
How early motherhood back pain affects back strength and function

A world-first study by a researcher from The University of Western Australia is calling for volunteers to help unravel why being a mum may cause years of back pain and dysfunction.

Occupational bio-mechanist and PhD student Adele Stewart says early motherhood causes back pain for up to 90 per cent of women, but it's not known if back strength and function are similarly affected.  Her study will be the first to examine this question.

"Pain is a complex and and not always a sign that something is wrong - but the combination of pain and dysfunction often is," Ms Stewart said.

"Pregnant women and new mothers are frequently told 'back pain is part of the journey - accept it', but in reality it could mean an increased risk of injury.

"This research will look at changes in and movement and the influence of hormones over time.  We will pay special attention to serum relaxin - a which causes ligaments and joints to weaken and is produced in high quantities during pregnancy."

Ms Stewart said a weakened lower back increased the risk of injury - a particular issue when it comes to childcare work.

According to international health and safety standards in manual handling, a child is a 'high risk load'.  Despite being one of the most strictly regulated workplaces, commercial childcare has a higher rate of back injury than any other work place.

"Obviously there is something about childcare work in particular that causes back injury; but this could be made exponentially worse for pregnant and new mums caring for young children," Ms Stewart said.  "It's possible that back disorder in early motherhood, being made worse by childcare, is setting women up for years of back problems.

"We can't effectively limit or treat back and disorder in these women, nor create efficient childcare furniture and equipment, until we know more. Simply, no-one has investigated enough to connect the dots."

Explore further: Study aims to ease the burden of lower back pain

Related Stories

Study aims to ease the burden of lower back pain

March 19, 2014
The University of South Australia is set to begin a new study into lower back pain, a condition which affects up to 80 per cent of Australian men and women at some stage in their lifetime.

New links between teen smoking and back pain

May 9, 2014
A study from Curtin University has found a bi-directional relationship between adolescent cigarette use and spinal pain.

Quality of life improves with minimally invasive surgery for low back pain

March 4, 2014
Beaumont research findings published in the February online issue of Spine shows that patients who have a low back surgery called minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, end up better off in many ways than ...

Low back pain causes more global disability than any other condition

March 24, 2014
Low back pain causes more disability around the globe than any other condition, reveals research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Doctors should give greater weight to the effects of low back pain on patients' social lives

March 31, 2014
The way that back pain is assessed and treated needs to change to take into account its impact on the social lives of sufferers, according to a new Arthritis Research UK-funded study.

Catastrophizing can predict low back pain, disability

March 3, 2014
(HealthDay)—For patients treated for low back pain, catastrophizing may predict the degree of pain and disability, according to a review published in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.