Exercise best for back pain in pregnancy: expert

Thursday March 16, 2017

At least one in 10 women in Australia experience chronic pain that interferes with their lives, and this can become more intense during pregnancy, according to a visiting US expert.

Pamela Flood, Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center in the US, said that most of this pregnancy pain is due to migraines, although women with back and hip problems can find that their condition worsens. 

Professor Flood will speak on ‘Pain and Analgesia During and After Pregnancy’ at a conference of anaesthetists at the University of Tasmania in Hobart starting tomorrow, Friday March 17, and running to March 19. 

“The good thing about migraine is that it tends to get better during pregnancy, and it’s OK for pregnant women to take triptans, which are the main medications for  migraine,” Professor Flood says. 

While chronic back pain can be helped with paracetamol tablets and some local anaesthetic and cortisone injections, the best treatment is specialised exercise, Professor Flood said.  “The ‘rectus abdominis’ muscles, or ‘abs’ as they are commonly known, are going to stretch, so you compensate with other muscles to keep the spine in line.” She advised women to seek out an exercise specialist experienced in the care of pregnant women.

Other speakers include Professor Steven Shafer, who testified at the criminal manslaughter trial into the death of singer Michael Jackson, and who will give three sessions on New Drugs, New Devices and Cognitive Computing in Anaesthesia; Dr Simon Morphett, with An Update on Paediatric Anaesthesia; and Clinical Associate Professor Marcus Skinner, on The Future for Tasmanian Anaesthesia. 

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) is the professional organisation for about 6400 specialist anaesthetists (Fellows) and 1500 anaesthetists in training (trainees).
One of Australasia's largest specialist medical colleges, ANZCA is responsible for the training, examination and specialist accreditation of anaesthetists and pain medicine specialists and for the standards of clinical practice in Australia and New Zealand. 
Copyright © Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.