Diagnosis

How back pain affects woman

Men and woman are at similar risks of developing pain, but there are a few lifestyle experiences unique to women which can put them at greater risk. 

NZCA Chiropractor Dr Cassandra Fairest says: “Men and women are equally affected by back pain, however a number of studies show that women may be affected differently by changes to the spine and ligaments that comes with pregnancy and the birth process.

“Back pain can range in intensity from a full, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated.” 

The first step in treating your back pain correctly and effectively is to figure out what’s causing the aching, throbbing, or stabbing sensations. Once you have done this you can work on eliminating your back problems.
 
Pregnancy:
Up to 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women complain of back pain. Not only because of the extra weight they are carrying, but also because the body produces hormones that relax the joints and ligaments and aggravate pain. There are a number of things you can do to treat back pain during pregnancy such as using an ice or heat pack, sleeping on your side and using a support pillow under your knees. You can also schedule an appointment with a health professional such as a chiropractor or massage therapist. 

UTI:
Urinary tract infections (UTI) affect millions of women worldwide. The urinary tract is a system consisting of the bladder, urethra tubes and the kidneys. This system creates and transports the urine out of the body but, in some cases, germs get inside the urine causing an infection known as UTI or bladder infection. One of the major symptoms of a UTI is intense back pain on the lower side, particularly on the right side, or in some cases, just below the ribs. If you think you may be suffering from an UTI and your back pain is affecting your day-to-day life, visit a health professional such as a GP or specialist. 

Clothing: 
Your pencil skirt, skinny jeans, sports bra and shapewear could be causing your back pain. 

Kenneth Hansraj, M.D., Chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, says outfits that are too tight, too stiff, or too constricting can limit your range of motion, which causes more stress and strain to fall on your back, neck, and shoulders, increasing your risk of pain and injury. 

Opt for fabrics with a bit of stretch to them and choose a size that’s snug but not skin-tight. You should be able to easily slip a finger under the waistband of jeans and skirts. Compression gear and Spanx shouldn’t feel suffocating. If you need to take them off after eating, you should look at going a size up. 

Sports bras with thin straps or halter-style straps are also damaging to your back as they don’t distribute weight evenly across your shoulders. Instead, pressure is concentrated into one spot, which forces you to slump. 

Heavy Bags:
Carrying around your wallet, laptop, shoes, mobile phone, makeup bag, book/magazine and work files has become the norm, especially for the modern woman who never knows what duties she might be called on to perform in the course of a day. But carrying around a heavy bag or purse can cause an ‘overuse injury’ from the combination of the weight of the bag against muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. Also the compensating shift in posture you make to carry the load can lead to headaches, back pain and body aches.

To avoid this, clean out your bag regularly so you are carrying a lighter load. If you need to lug around heavy items, a backpack is preferable as this will distribute weight evenly on your back instead of over one shoulder. 

For more information or to determine the type of back pain you are experiencing, read about the ‘different types of back pain’ here.

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