Local 4 Defender Karen Drew overcomes painful obstacle to walk again during pregnancy

Karen developed very severe pain during pregnancy; used physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, anti-inflammatory diet and supplements to help recover

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor

How did I end up like this?

In a walker at 28 weeks pregnant that is NOT how I imagined my pregnancy, but it was my reality. After simply getting up from a chair and feeling a sharp pain in my lower back, I would later be transported to the hospital in an ambulance unable to move my right leg, unable to stand, unable to walk. What was going on!?! I'm normally very healthy. I mean, I was in an exercise boot camp the first three months of my pregnancy, how could I not move now?

It took doctors a while to figure out exactly what was going on as I could not go through certain tests or take certain medications because of my pregnancy. After 12 days in hospital, I was released with a diagnosis of an inflamed sacroilliac joint as well as having the muscles in my pelvis inflamed, thus not allowing me to walk. I was sent home in a walker and basically told because of the pregnancy hormones in my body there was little I could do, pain would likely get worse and I would have to rely on pain killers to get through my pregnancy.

At that point, I knew I had to make some decisions. There had to be things I could do to stop the pain and start healing. I didn't want to have a baby born addicted to painkillers. That's when I turned to acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, as well as an anti-inflammation diet, and anti-inflammation supplements and herbs. I can't put into words what a difference all this made!!

Let's start with massage. I relied on Revolve Massage out of Southfield. Carrie came to my house two to three times a week just to help me regain mobility. At first it was slow, but at least there was progress! I was amazed how much massage brought me pain relief and the ability to move my leg, bend at my waist and eventually walk.

My research also told me to try acupuncture and I'm so glad I did. I had never ever tried but so glad I did! I felt relief the very first time I tried it. I also tried electro-acupuncture, which made a difference as well to relieve pain and open up the channels for me to walk again. Julie at Acupuncture Healthcare Associates in West Bloomfield had prenatal experience and knew exactly how to help me.

Now onto my diet. Again all of this information I gathered was from online research. I'm not saying it's the cure all for all of you fighting inflammation, but it sure made a difference for me. First, I avoided potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, wheat, and sugars as much as possible as they can make inflammation worse. I added pineapple, blueberries, a tart cherry extract to my water twice a day, as well as a lot of chicken and veggies as those were supposed to fight inflammation.

I also started taking hemp oil, cayenne pills, fish oil, turmeric, vitamin C along with my prenatal pills to naturally fight the inflammation I was dealing with.

All I can say is, I kicked the painkillers after 12 days at home. It was tough in the beginning, don't get me wrong. At times I cried because the pain was so terrible. But thanks to the combination of my therapies and diet, as well as some journaling and positive mind set books, I started to recover.

My doctor was amazed I was off the painkillers! And on my last doctor's appointment, I walked in without my walker! Yes I was slow and had a limp, but I did it!

The lesson I learned - you have to be your own advocate in your health, and don't dismiss the homeopathic solutions, the power of foods and supplements, and alternative therapies like acupuncture.

This whole experience has been a learning experience. I have never been in such a position to need so much help. My family and friends helped me with everything from getting me in and out of bed, bathing, making my meals, to helping me take care of my two year old daughter. It was then I realized I need to be a better helper and servant to others. Too many times I think it's easy to write a check for a donation instead of put the time and effort to physically help someone. From this experience I am going to make a change and do more for others.

What I dealt with, I'm told, is a very common problem, I just had it to a very serious degree. Fortunately, I can see the finish line. My baby is due in just a couple days!! And hopefully once all the pregnancy hormones get out of my body I'll be back to normal! I feel very very lucky!!

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