Are you suffering back pain during pregnancy?
Whether this is lower back pain, mid back pain or pain down in your pelvis, pain during pregnancy is a very
common occurrence, but not a normal problem. Unsurprisingly the female body is designed for pregnancy, labour and birth and chiropractic during pregnancy can be a very effective and safe form of care for you that requires no drugs or intervention. Many ladies often find that their chiropractor can also improve their quality of sleep if they have been suffering from back ache.
During a normal pregnancy the hormone Relaxin, softens the ligaments around the joints of the pelvis. This is an absolutely normal process which happens in order to prepare the woman’s pelvis for giving birth. In most ladies this causes no problems at all, however, for some the pelvic joints seem to become particularly lax and the pelvis becomes unstable and painful.
The change in posture, weight and centre of gravity during pregnancy can also put strain on the muscles of the low back, abdomen, pelvic floor and hips. These changes may also affect the joints of the pelvis themselves, particularly the very important Sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis and the Symphysis Pubis at the front of the pelvis. It is possible that problems with the pelvis, leading to pain during pregnancy, may also be attributed to a previous fall, injury or prior chronic back weakness. Many of these changes are most severely felt in the final trimester as baby begins to get much larger and Mum’s centre of gravity quickly shifts forward as “bump” gets bigger. This causes the lumbar spine to curve more tightly and increase pressure on the small joints in the base of the spine.
Common symptoms associated with instability in the pelvic joints or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) may come on at any point during pregnancy and can include
- Pain during pregnancy in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttocks, thighs, hips or lower back
- Waddling or difficulty walking
- Pain when twisting, turning or bending both during the day and at night when turning in bed
- Hearing or feeling clicking in or around the pelvis
- Sometimes opening the legs apart will cause considerable pain in the front of the pelvis or groin
- Sexual intercourse may be painful
- Urinary incontinence and or bowel problems
- Pain and difficulty when squatting
If you are experiencing pain during pregnancy, or any of the above symptoms, it may be helpful to discuss these with a chiropractor who will be able to carefully examine you and determine the precise location of the dysfunction of your pelvis. Many chiropractors in practice see that women who have chiropractic care during and after their pregnancy report a significant improvement in their symptoms and mobility which enables them to get on with every day activities without the need for aids and support belts.
Occasionally it may be necessary to use a support belt towards the end of pregnancy if the instability is severe and persistent. If you have already given birth and you experienced the symptoms of instability during your pregnancy, or if you are still experiencing these problems, a chiropractor will be able to help you regain normal function of your spine and pelvis so that your body can get back to functioning at its best.
During the early months following childbirth it is important to be kind to yourself. Don’t put pressure on yourself with regards getting back to your usual activities such as work and exercise. Take it steadily and gently and head the advice of your chiropractor who will be able to guide you towards strengthening your pelvis, spine and core.