Right Arm Pain During Pregnancy
You may be experiencing some unusual symptoms that could indicate shoulder pain during pregnancy — especially if you’ve never had this problem before. However, most of the time, it’s nothing more than normal; it happens due to changes to your muscles and joints. The main cause is often lifting heavy objects or simply putting strain on certain areas of your body.
It’s important to keep an eye out for shoulder pain because it could signal problems with your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes related to high levels of sugar in your blood). Left untreated, these issues can lead to complications like preeclampsia or eclampsia, which are serious medical conditions. You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain, swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, stiffness, numbness, tingling, burning, constipation, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, headaches, depression, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing, or loss of appetite.
To prevent shoulder pain from developing into something bigger, make sure you have a proper exercise regimen, eat well, get plenty of rest, take breaks when necessary, use pillows, and avoid slouching. If you’re pregnant, you need to pay special attention to your lower back, hips and shoulders. Here are some other things to know about right arm pain during pregnancy.
What causes shoulder pain?
The most common reason for shoulder pain during pregnancy is overuse, but there are also several less common ones, including trauma, infection, rheumatic fever, osteoarthritis, gout, cancer, stroke, thyroid disease, kidney disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, Sjögrens syndrome, septic arthritis, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, pneumonia, asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis, lung infections, tuberculosis, breast-feeding, and so forth.
How do I treat it?
If left untreated, shoulder pain can develop into something worse. To prevent this from happening, you need to consult your health care provider immediately. He or she will determine whether it’s best to wait until after delivery or to seek treatment now.
Treatment options vary based on severity and location of the pain. Some treatments include ice packs, heat pads, massage therapy, medication injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, ultrasound therapy, acupressure techniques, herbal remedies, stretching exercises, and surgery. Your physician or nurse practitioner might recommend a combination of different therapies depending on how severe your condition is.
Most doctors agree that it’s better to wait until after delivery to receive an injection, unless it’s absolutely required. This is because it takes up to two weeks for the medicine to start working. Injections can only help temporarily and won’t provide lasting relief. They can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex 1 and 2, and syphilis.
Should I worry about radiation exposure?
No matter what kind of treatment plan you choose, you shouldn’t worry about radiation exposure. X-rays and scans don’t contain enough radiation to harm you. Although they expose you to small amounts of radiation, the amount isn’t harmful. In fact, it’s completely safe. But you’ll want to wear a pair of protective gloves while taking pictures. Also, always ask your doctor questions, such as how often he plans to give you x-rays and scans.
What else can I expect?
During pregnancy, you may find that you have limited mobility, muscle weakness, increased weight gain, flatulence, bloating, indigestion, constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and leg edema. These side effects usually occur when you stand for long periods, sit down frequently, and lift heavy objects.
For the majority of women, however, these symptoms improve throughout the duration of their pregnancies. But if your symptoms persist even after delivery, see your healthcare provider. There’s an 80 percent chance that you’ll be given a diagnosis of puerperal disorder. Puerperal disorders affect one in every three new mothers. While rare, it may include postpartum psychosis, puerperal epilepsy, premenstrual tension, stress incontinence, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, adhesions, abnormal bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, uterine rupture, urinary tract infection, and placental abruption.
Keep reading for tips on preventing and treating shoulder pain during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who smoke carry a higher risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Not only does smoking dehydrate you, it impairs oxygen flow to the baby and makes the placenta grow faster. Smoking can also raise the risks of premature birth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, and sudden respiratory distress. If you already know that you’d rather not become a mother, consider talking to your obstetrician about ways to quit smoking.
Tips for Preventing Shoulder Pain During Pregnancy
Take frequent rests – Staying healthy during pregnancy requires eating properly and resting properly. Try to sleep eight hours each night and take short breaks between tasks. Don’t sit or lie down for long stretches of time without getting up to stretch and walk around. Take regular breaks during work and leisure activities. Go ahead and schedule “down times” for yourself.
Get moving – Exercising is very strenuous on your body, so try to take light walks or go shopping instead. When you’re sitting, be sure to rotate arms and legs regularly.
Use pillows – For those extra comfy naps, place pillows under your head and stomach. Use them to support your neck, back and abdomen. Make sure you stay comfortable by using a pillow big enough for your shoulders and chest.
Avoid heavy lifting – Avoid carrying large objects or loading/unloading heavy furniture. Lift lighter items with both hands.
Wear supportive shoes – Wearing shoes that fit properly helps protect your feet, ankles, calves, knees, hips, and spine. Women should look for shoes made specifically for pregnant women. Wear closed-toed shoes whenever possible. Shoes should be wide enough to allow room for toes and heels to expand. Be careful when wearing high heels.
Stay hydrated – Drink lots of water. Dehydration can trigger headaches, irritability, hunger, thirst, nausea, and constipation.
Follow your healthcare provider’s advice – If you suffer from a medical condition, such as gestational diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or hyperthyroidism, your doctor will prescribe medications to control your condition. Ask your doctor about all the medicines you take. Many drugs interact badly with each other or prescription drugs.
Watch out for food allergies – Food allergies can cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating, constipation, flatulence, hives, rash, wheezing, and eczema. If you suspect a food allergy, talk to your healthcare provider. A food intolerance doesn’t require immediate action. Instead, try avoiding foods containing the problematic ingredient. Or, if you must eat the item again, limit the quantity consumed.
Don’t drink alcohol – Alcohol consumption has been linked to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and birth defects. If you drink alcohol, reduce the amount to no more than once per week.
Dietary supplements aren’t recommended – Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. This means they could contain ingredients that aren’t listed on their labels. As well, dietary supplements are not tested for safety or effectiveness. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take any supplements.
Exercise caution with hot tubs – Hot tub baths are relaxing and enjoyable. However, soaking in warm water raises your internal temperature. This can be dangerous for your unborn child. Soaking in hot tubs can also damage cuticles. Always soak slowly and thoroughly.
How Should I Treat Myself Once Pregnancy Is Over?
After giving birth, you’ll probably experience soreness, tightness, and discoloration for about six weeks. Afterward, your skin may feel dry and cracked. Fortunately, you can alleviate these conditions through moisturizing creams and lotions. Look for products that contain petroleum, glycerin, aloe vera, vitamin E, chamomile, honey, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and lavender oils. Creams that contain zinc, vitamin K, copper sulfate, green tea extract, and ginger root are also beneficial. Moisturizers will soften your skin and relieve itchiness. Lotions will hydrate your skin and reduce inflammation.
As far as your hair goes, you’ll probably notice its thinning and dullness as soon as you begin shedding your pregnancy hormones. After four months, you’ll likely return to your usual hairstyle. Just remember to apply shampoo and conditioner daily, and use gentle brushing and styling techniques.
Once you reach menopause, you’ll still have to continue taking estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) to maintain hormone balance and bone density. Menopausal women should consult with their physicians