Chiropractic during Your Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a real pain in the back!
Pregnancy should be one of life’s greatest experiences but unfortunately the increased spinal stress that occurs as the baby grows sometimes means that this time can be dominated by lower back pain.
The average weight gain during pregnancy is between 8 and 20 kg which can often lead to severe discomfort. The extra stress placed on the body can affect the lower back as well as the middle back and neck.
Recent studies have indicated that over 70% of expectant mums will experience lower back pain especially during the later stages of the pregnancy.
How does your Posture Change During Pregnancy?
As the pregnancy progresses there is an increase in the curve of the lower back, this puts pressure on the pelvic (sacroiliac) joints and lower back which can cause back pain, muscle fatigue or sciatica.
Sometimes there can also be an increase in the thoracic curve that can cause difficulty in breathing and poor digestion, as well as rib and middle back pain. Headaches, neck stiffness and arm pain can also occur from these changes.
What types of Back Pain occur during Pregnancy?
There are two common types of back pain which pregnant women may experience:
Lower back pain: This can be extremely problematic for pregnant women and simple tasks can become very stressful. The pain typically intensifies with activities such as long periods of sitting or standing. Any lifting or bending should be avoided if it intensifies your back or neck pain.
Posterior pelvic pain: This type of pelvic pain is four times more prevalent than lumbar pain during pregnancy. It is a deep pain, felt below and to the side of the waistline and across the tailbone. It can occur on one or both sides and can often be associated with pubic pain.
Both types of pain are aggravated by twisting, standing up, sitting down, lifting or bending forward. Other aggravating factors are work stresses such as sitting at a computer or leaning forward for extended periods, weight gain, loss of normal spinal movement and muscular balance.
How Can you Reduce Low Back Pain During Your Pregnancy?
One important way to reduce pregnancy related symptoms in your spine is to maintain good spinal function before and during your pregnancy. This can be done with specific spinal techniques, such as chiropractic care, when necessary, to help maintain movement. A chiropractor will first perform a thorough examination to find out if chiropractic care would be helpful for you.
Exercise is also an important part of the process and should be added to your schedule at least three times a week. It is important to strengthen core muscles and your pelvic floor to stabilise your pelvis and low back.
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees will take the pressure off your lower back and is extremely helpful and full-length body pillows are also recommended to ease backache.
If you have to sit at a computer for long hours make sure that your workstation is ergonomically sound to maximise comfort and support.
How Can Chiropractic Help Back Pain during Pregnancy?
Chiropractic treatment may be helpful throughout your pregnancy by providing relief from musculo-skeletal problems associated with your pregnancy. These problems can cause symptoms such as low back and neck pain.
Chiropractic care can be a part of your health care plan that aims to maintain a healthier and happier pregnancy by helping to improve pelvic balance, and flexibility. This in turn can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy.
What Else Can Chiropractors Do to Help You?
Our chiropractors can also offer nutrition, ergonomic and exercise advice to expecting mums during every stage of their pregnancy.
In the past there has been some limited scientific evidence which has indicated that Chiropractic care can help women during their pregnancy. One study by Dr Joan Fallon claimed to show that regular chiropractic care during pregnancy helps maintain uterine ligament flexibility and pelvic balance and may significantly reduced labour time. This study also compared mothers who received chiropractic care with those who didn’t found that first-time mothers averaged 24% shorter labour times when having chiropractic care (1).
It is important to note that these studies were not conclusive in their assessment of actual effects of chiropractic care during pregnancy and further high standard research is needed to prove conclusively if chiropractic can help with issues such as labour time.
Once your baby is born chiropractic care can be part of your health care plan that aims to help your body to be as strong and as flexible as possible into the future. For more information contact us now.
(1) Fallon J DC. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31
Do you suffer from low back or neck pain during pregnancy?
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