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Anyone had crutches in pregnancy with a back problem

(26 Posts)
Blahblahblahyadayadayada Wed 28-Dec-16 01:51:11

Desperate middle of the night post!

I'm 26 weeks pregnant and have been in crutches for 5 weeks. Spent a few days in hospital a month ago, on morphine and tramadol. MRI showed disc bulge and displacement of one of the nerve roots.
Have been having hydrotherapy via hospital physio but they are shut over the holiday period. Signed off work until at least mid January but I don't see me going back (or at least going back to full job). Have seen my chiropractor a few times also, mainly for acupuncture.
Hydrotherapy helped ease symptoms a little but I'm also battling a growing bump which puts more strain on my back.

I'm in pain and struggle to sleep. Can't stand for more than a minute or so. Sitting hurts after a while.

I've been trying to replicate whatever exercises I can from hydrotherapy at my swimming pool during the holidays.

Not sure what to expect. I'm not expecting a miraculous recovery after the baby arrives but hoping to hear some stories of how it got much better and how other people recovered and ditched the crutches?

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Wed 28-Dec-16 16:18:37

Hopeful bump.

MavisTheTwinklyToreador Wed 28-Dec-16 16:33:38

I had spd with my second and I was on crutches and minding a 1 year old. Freaking nightmare.

Your situation sounds much worse. Only time will recover the disc bulge and as baby gets bigger there's probably going to be more strain on it.

Have you seen occupational therapy and physio? There may be some aids you can borrow to make life easier. Also physio can give you a pelvic girdle thing that might or might not help.

Sorry I can't be more use, what a horrible situation to be in!

hanban89 Wed 28-Dec-16 22:07:36

Hi, sorry to hear your having a miserable time. I was on crutches from 30 weeks and it's not easy. I was lucky that my mums best friend is a woman's health physio therapist and she seen me straight away. The crutches are a pain as you don't have any free hands but it helped the pain significantly.
My advice would be to get a nice backpack that you like wearing instead of a handbag! And also ask to be seen by women's physio.

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Wed 28-Dec-16 23:30:55

Thank you.

The hospital physio is a women's health physio. Unfortunately due to the pregnancy there is limited treatment available and also increasing pressure on my back.

It's quite depressing and as it not spd/PGP then I don't think I can expect it to reasonably resolve post partum. Which depresses me further as I'll have a baby for whom to care!

I could ask the physiotherapist about occupational health though I would imagine that means grab rails?

Thanks for the responses.

whathaveiforgottentoday Wed 28-Dec-16 23:55:13

I spent the whole of my 2nd pregnancy with a herniated disc. Couldn't stand for more than a few minutes, could only manage about 100 metres walking. Pain eased when lying down completely flat so sounds similar to your problem.
They didn't scan me as said there was no point as they wouldn't intervene anyway during the pregnancy and they like to leave it a few months after the birth to see if it goes back on its on. I ended up having MRI about 6 months after dd2 was born and had discetomy about a year later after several goes at steroid injections etc.
To be honest, it was hell the entire way through the pregnancy and I hope I never feel pain like it again. It was less painful once I'd given birth but I was in less pain in labour than I had been for about 6 months prior.
Sorry to be negative but found the NHS were absolutely useless and eventually saw a consultant privately who at least talked me through the possible consequences and eventual treatments. I was in there sobbing for about an hour as he was the first person medically to actually listen, even though ultimately there is fuck all you can do when pregnant unless its affecting your bowels or waterworks.

the good news is that there is no reason why it shouldn't get better on its own or after surgery and its probably not doing any more damage, at least thats what the consultant said (I am almost completely better with about 10% residual pain) but you may just have to deal with it through pregnancy.

NHS physio I saw was beyond useless (seen many good physios since so think she was just crap). She was totally unsympathetic and gave me a girdle belt thing which did nothing at all, infact, it made it more painful and crutches did nothing so all in all I just managed and spent a long time lying flat. I think the worst part was that they just thought I was a silly pregnant lady complaining about a bit of back ache.

Happy to answer any questions you have as did vast amounts of research (whilst laid flat on my back!) or alternatively, just to commiserate with you.

Have they let you take any medication stronger than paracetomol?

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Thu 29-Dec-16 09:13:12

Thank you for your response and I'm very sorry to hear of your ordeal.

I have tramadol although for the marginal pain relief the side effects are worse. Some days are better than others.

I appreciate the frustration at being pregnant with this issue. I ended up being admitted after I went to the GP in tears saying I can't just have paracetamol and a belt from physio! I was in for 4 days and they admitted me because my symptoms didn't match PGPand an astute registrar spotted that. They arranged an MRI and while I was in hospital they had me on oramorph (!) and tramadol. One consultant was a bit rude and probably didn't realise why I was even in but at least the MRI gave some answers. Physio then reviews me and arranged hydrotherapy which is very helpful. I see a chiropractor regularly anyway and she uses acupuncture as well.

I did have an orthopaedic review in hospital but they couldn't do anything as the injections they use are under x Ray guidance.

I don't use the belt daily as I worry about my muscles getting lazy but I would save myself a bit of pain and stiffness if I just used it and if I took the paracetamol regularly. You just feel guilty taking medicines in pregnancy.

I just feel like instead of being able to resolve this issue, by the time I can have some proper treatments it will have become a chronic problem. However I am fortunate it is bulging rather than herniated and the inflammation will eventually subside. I'm convinced that things move around and that's why some days are better than others. Plus who knows what positions the baby is getting into. I half wonder if my last labour is how I did my back in with all that pushing!

I hope you're on the mend whathaveidorgottentoday. It's reassuring being able to talk to someone about the problem.

whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 29-Dec-16 16:02:28

bless you. I've pretty much mended as dd is 7 now and i have a little residual pain which is nothing really and I assume I will always have it.

I remember taking co-codomal at one stage of the pregnancy but not after 30 weeks as it affects their lungs developing. At least after the birth you can take anti inflammatories which help enormously ( i took these while breastfeeding).
My lovely consultant gave the advice to just look after yourself and deal with the fitness issue afterwards. He also said despite the pain, it shouldn't make it worse long term, although by the time they operated on me it has calcified so it was never going to get better on its on. You may be luckier and he did say they never really know how bad it is (even with an MRI) until they open you up, so you may be lucky and once you've given birth, it may just sort itself out especially as you say the pain isn't constant.

One thing to consider is whether you can have an epidural or not. Because I hadn't been scanned they didn't know where the herniation was exactly and wouldn't give me an epidural and as I needed a caesearean in the end I have to be given a general anaesthetic. As you've been scanned, they should be able to make a more informed decision for you.
I couldn't get into labour (got to 3 cm before they decided I needed a CS as DD2 was in distress) and and it didn't help that I couldn't stand or walk around but my first DD was slow too so I may be that i would have always needed a CS? I met with the aneathestist when i was about 37 weeks to discuss options and he was great and very sympathetic.

I guess the previous labour could have had an effect but it could just be one of the things. I've always had niggling back problems. I'm happy to chat anytime but sorry I couldn't have more positive news for you, but hope the pain gets better soon.

SheepyFun Thu 29-Dec-16 16:14:59

I had significant upper back pain during pregnancy, so not obviously pgp etc. However it did get much better once I'd given birth. I remember realising how bad it had been when I was in less pain after a c-section (I was never in labour, so can't compare that) than I'd been in for much of pregnancy. Just to say there is hope that not being pregnant may help!

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Thu 29-Dec-16 16:19:14

Thanks and glad to hear you're doing better sheepy and whathaveiforgottentoday.

I am actually having a planned c section with this baby. I will mention this to the anaesthetist although I believe for a spinal anaesthetic they give it a bit higher (more like L4)? I am actually looking forward to some proper pain relief even if I won't be able to move my legs!

whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 29-Dec-16 19:49:16

Ha ha, yes, pain relief during labour is brilliant for back pain. I loved the gas and air.

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Fri 30-Dec-16 11:52:45

I've put my back out in the past but this was when I wasn't pregnant so it got better with physio, muscle relaxants and pain relief. Maybe this was waiting to happen.

I'm not looking forward to crutches plus a newborn! Plus not being able to get out of bed quickly post c section, with back pain so I can feed a potentially screaming hungry baby. Breastfeeding will be a whole other challenge, no doubt!

tissuesosoft Fri 30-Dec-16 11:58:07

Hi OP! Feel your pain, I've had spinal fusion surgery. And a pregnancy this year that ramped up my already present SJD- I had a c section with spinal, I was numb from the chest down due to how high the anaesthetist had to go. I would advise avoiding the chiropractor- they aren't medically trained, can't fix issues like disc bulges or nerves, they can in fact make it much worse. Hydrotherapy is amazing, swimming, moving when you can (I know it's hard!) and of course resting will all help. Have you got a pregnancy belt?

MavisTheTwinklyToreador Fri 30-Dec-16 12:10:40

tissuesosoft how were you after spinal fusion surgery? It's in the pipeline for me and I'm tempted to turn it down. Has it helped?

tissuesosoft Fri 30-Dec-16 12:24:43

Hi Mavis, it has helped me immensely- I still need 'work' doing to my Sacrioliac joints and the level above my fusion but it changed my life. I was 25 (3 years ago) and went into the surgery with a walking stick, told I would be paralysed within a year (had already lost most use of my left leg and foot) to coming out with just crutches. Long long recovery but to me it was worth it. No longer use crutches, still have some back pain and permanent nerve damage to my left foot but carried my DD to 39 weeks etc. Feel free to pm me!

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Fri 30-Dec-16 12:53:05

Thanks tiasuesoaoft. I should say my chiropractor is registered and qualified. In fact, she was the one who suspected I had a disc bulge at L5 S1 before I was admitted and had an MRI which confirmed it. The acupuncture she provided helps with pain relief.

In fact, The hospital physio and consultant thought I had sacroilitis and neither were helpful Pre admission apart from giving me a belt and the crutches. It wasn't until after I was discharged that they initiated hydrotherapy. I use he belt though try. It to depend on it too much as I don't want to make the muscles lazy.

It's a frustrating time and made more so because I know what a hard time I had after my first baby (not back problems though).

MavisTheTwinklyToreador Fri 30-Dec-16 13:14:49

tissuesosoft thanks👍

Blahblahblahyadayadayada how are you managing looking after yourself? If you find you can't manage once baby's here you can get some short term help from your local council's reenactment team (home helps). Occupational therapy do more than hand rails, an assessment might be useful. I think your gp refers you.

How's the pain at the moment?

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Fri 30-Dec-16 18:00:19

What does home helps entail? My husband simply refuses to get a cleaner! Although he does vacuum and mop now that I can't. It's just not as frequent as I'd like!

The pain is nowhere near as bad now. I use paracetamol but I also have pain in my groin now and I can't turn over in bed easily. The belt helps and I use the crutches. I'm not as able as I was e.g. In terms of doing yoga and generally. I don't like depending on the belt but if it helps then so be it. I'll have to work on my muscles later.

Work wise I'll probably go back to reduced duties.

I'm really dreading what it's going to be like after the c section but that was the case even before these back issues!

whathaveiforgottentoday Fri 30-Dec-16 18:13:12

Your husband seriously needs to rethink the cleaner issue. I had someone to do my ironing and a cleaner which made a massive difference. My friend who has severe SPD had home help come round to help her (her husband was in the forces and away on tour at the time).
Are you still at work?

tissuesosoft Fri 30-Dec-16 18:25:33

With getting out of bed, do you use the log roll technique? This will help and with after the c section as well.

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Fri 30-Dec-16 21:24:21

Tissuesoft- can you explain how the log roll technique works?

I've been signed off work until mid January and will see the GP to discuss going back on reduced duties. I'll still need occupational health to assess me and also have an ergonomics person assess me as well since reduced duties will involve computer based work essentially (I work as a clinician in an NHS trust ). So nothing I do at work is actually good for my back. Hence I'll be doing paperwork probably!

Whathaviforgotten this is a longstanding dispute between DH and me; he does the ironing too when it piles up smile.

tissuesosoft Fri 30-Dec-16 23:13:23

It's a great way of getting out of bed without pulling on your back or your stomach after a c section. You may already to do it without realising, but I really recommend taking some time to get into the habit of using it. Been doing it a few years now and it doesn't aggravate my back in the morning and was a god send after the c section! Have attached a pic for you, you can do it with or without the pillow. If you sleep with a pillow between your legs (also a great way to help your back when you sleep) it'll be easier to remove once you've done the log roll.

tissuesosoft Fri 30-Dec-16 23:16:49

Another couple of thoughts- a memory foam coccyx cushion can help with sitting in the car, desk chair or sofa as it alleviates some pressure off the base of your spine- I still use mine. In the car- if you are finding it hard to swivel round to get out (especially after a c section) a bin bag on the seat helps too.

Blahblahblahyadayadayada Sat 31-Dec-16 18:11:05

Thanks so much for these tips. I have bought some cushions to help with my posture although I'll need to order a narrower one for the car. I've also got a lumbar support cushion for using at home with the wedge. I've got pillows for bed and it looks like I'm doing some sort of rolling to get otnof bed but I'll try doing it with something between my knees- I remember not being able to get out of bed even with rolling when I had acutely hurt my back. Pain I never want to feel again!

KatEmThe Mon 02-Jan-17 20:55:24

Hi OP.

Haven't read through all the comments (sorry).

I was 30 weeks pregnant this time last year when I did my back, bulging disks and muscular issues. I was on crutches from around 32 weeks. I feel your pain. I couldn't do anything for myself, I had to be cared for from my partner and my mum, couldn't even go to the toilet myself. My baby was born in March, normal delivery, couldn't move off the bed had to stay there throughout labour because I couldn't move. Didn't get any better when she was here. Again couldn't look after myself and I couldn't look after her, so I had to live at my mums for a good month before I could eventually pick her up. Even when I came home I still couldn't properly do it but was so determined I would just go through the pain. 10 months down the line. Yes it's better than it was but I'm still on tramadol and still deal with the pain every day.

I hope it gets better for you, I really do, there's nothing worse than constant pain X

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