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Pregnancy, Back Pain and Chiropractic

 

pregnancy boxed28th February, 2012

Almost half of all pregnant women experience back pain and approximately 20% of pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain. Previous falls or accidents as well as a sedentary job or lifestyle can lead to weakening of the muscles in the pelvis and poor posture.

There is no single cause of back pain during pregnancy; however, postural and hormonal changes do contribute to the problem. The most common postural changes are due to the bulk of the growing baby, the enlarging breasts and secondary weight gain. Hormones released during pregnancy, which cause softening and relaxation of the ligaments and joints, make more room for the baby but also make the pelvic joints and muscles more prone to injury and pain. There are many other difficulties that you may experience during pregnancy, such as sore legs, headaches, sciatica, shortness of breath, dizziness, morning sickness, fatigue and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction that can be attributable to the health of your spine. As Chiropractors are trained to recognise mechanical dysfunction of the spine, along with the muscles and joints, Chiropractic can be a great source of relief during the 9 months of pregnancy (and beyond).

Signs and symptoms of pelvic pain disorder (symphysis pubis dysfunction) include:

  • Pain in the front and/or the back of the pelvis, sometimes in the groin, legs   or back.
  • Difficulty walking and doing normal activities
  • Pain on turning over in bed
  • Rib pain
  • Pain, stiffness, swelling or "clicking" in the hip.

A range of Chiropractic techniques are suitable for treating musculoskeletal problems in the pregnant woman and can be used to provide comfort and pain relief. These techniques, along with sleeping advice, exercise and postural advice, provide pain relief whilst coping with the changes the body undergoes during pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment provides a safe, gentle, drug free alternative for the relief of discomfort during pregnancy and can play an important role in ensuring that your body and spine are functioning normally.This can result in less pain for the mother to be and more room for the developing baby so that both mother and baby experience less physical and emotional stress.

Also, by reducing the stresses and strains on the joints and muscles, normal daily activities can be continued throughout the 9 months and many women find that labour is shorter and less painful.

The European Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic girdle pain (2011) recommend an individualised treatment program, focusing on stability exercises and physical therapy in order to reduce symptoms of pelvic girdle pain and improve function.

Don't miss next week's blog... Self Help Advice For Low Back Pain.

Contributing Author:
Shelley Doole DC MChiro 

References

Andry Vleeming Æ, Hanne B. Albert Æ, Hans Christian O¨ stgaard Æ, Bengt Sturesson Æ, Britt Stuge. European guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic girdle pain, Eur Spine J (2007).

Cara L. Borggren, Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2007, Pages 70-74