Pregnant celebrities provide a lesson in back pain

Sep 15 2011
Beautiful starlets gracing galas love to wear fashionable high heels. However, pregnancy doesn't seem to make them heed warnings about back pain and degenerative disc disease.

In the wake of New York Fashion Week, the media couldn't help but notice that former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham seems to have ignored medical advice not to wear high heels, which doctors recommended amid rumors she suffered back pain while wearing inappropriate footwear late in pregnancy.

Recently, Filipina actress and model Cheska Garcia-Kramer, who is scheduled to deliver a baby in December, appeared at a pregnancy fair sporting two-and-a-half inch heels. Poor posture from wearing such shoes can lead to back pain and wear out the discs that cushion the vertebrae, and can only compound spinal problems that come from carrying a child.

Pregnancy in and of itself can lead to back pain and sciatica. The weight gained during that period can put extra mechanical demands on the lower back. Physically, the growing womb can put pressure on nerves in the spinal column. Sciatica can also result from muscles in the buttocks compressing nerves in the lumbar and sacral spine. Furthermore, pregnancy will increase levels of the hormone relaxin, which loosens ligaments in the lower back and pelvis and makes it easier for an expectant mother to hurt herself when lifting heavy objects.

There are several ways that pregnant women can help avoid back pain, according to the American Pregnancy Association. They can strengthen their backs with special exercises recommended by a doctor, wear a support belt under the lower abdomen, elevate the feet during rest, visit a chiropractor and, of course, wear proper shoes. During pregnancy, back pain can be soothed with medication, braces, heat or ice. Women can also sleep with pillows between their knees to provide extra support.

When shopping for maternity clothing, it is important for women not to forget their footwear, according to The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. The ideal shoes are neither too high nor completely flat. Instead, an ordinary pair of running shoes made from material that breathes could provide suitable support for the feet, they said.