It is quite common for pregnant women to experience back pain with many suffering from severe discomfort that impacts their day to day lives and activities. Musculoskeletal issues that can arise during pregnancy include lower back pain, pelvic pain and pressure, sciatica or nerve pain in the legs, neck pain, upper back pain, aching and cramping legs, carpal tunnel syndrome and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
The average healthy weight gain during pregnancy varies between 11kg and 16kg and the majority of this weight is around the abdomen. This added weight changes the centre of gravity and shifts the posture forward putting significant stress on the back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Body mechanics is also altered as a pregnant woman naturally changes the way she sleeps, stands and moves. As the baby grows the uterus expands and the abdominal muscles stretch and lose some of their ability to provide support placing additional pressure on the spine.
During the third trimester levels of the hormone relaxin increase and contribute to loosening of the joints in order to accommodate for the enlarging uterus, growing baby and later for birth. This loosening of the joints whilst completely normal and healthy during pregnancy can also decrease the stability of the joints and further change posture. As a result, certain muscles tighten in compensation and this can be another source of discomfort.
The chiropractors at Southern Region Chiropractic Mittagong and Goulburn have additional training in the treatment of the musculoskeletal conditions that affect the spine during pregnancy. Manual therapy such as chiropractic can help decrease pain during both pregnancy and labour and may assist in allowing the baby to be in the best position for birth. Treatment may include mobilisation, manipulation, soft tissue release, dry needling, ergonomic and activity modification advice, and the prescription of home exercises to reduce pain, improve function and help prepare a woman’s body for the delivery of her baby. The use of these techniques varies depending on the patient’s gestation, health and their personal preference’s.