I have been pregnant four times although I miscarried twice, so I have two living children. After my second miscarriage, I started having low back pain that has never gone away. Is this a common problem? Why can't I get back to normal?

Multiparity (multiple pregnancies) is a well-known risk factor for the development of low back pain that doesn't necessarily go away when the baby is born. Other risk factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle (i.e., inactivity and no exercise), and a previous history of low back pain are additional risk factors for ongoing, long-term (chronic) low back pain.

Scientists aren't exactly sure why women can't get back to their prepregnancy back health. It's possible (even probable) that the hormone relaxin distributed throughout the woman's body in preparation for delivery has some permanent effects on the musculoskeletal system. Ligaments and muscle-tendon junctions relax in order to allow the bones of the low back, hips, and pelvis to shift, separate, and make a wider passage for the baby.

One of the best solutions to low back pain in this population is physical activity and exercise. Studies show this tool to be the most effective for post-partum (after pregnancy) women of all ages. Check with your doctor to make sure you don't have something nonmechanical causing your back pain (e.g., infection, fracture, tumor).

If there's not a serious underlying medical condition, start to increase your activity level and incorporate some exercise into each day. Even 10 minutes twice a day can make a big difference. Current research data shows that 30 minutes of daily exercise benefits overall health, not just the musculoskeletal system. Take advantage of this free treatment approach and see if it has a positive effect on your back pain.

Mohammad A. Mohseni-Bandpei, PhD, et al. Low Back Pain in 1,100 Iranian Pregnant Women: Prevalence and Risk Factors. In The Spine Journal. October 2009. Vol. 9. No. 10. Pp.795-801.

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