Pregnancy is a risk factor for back pain – but what can a chiropractor do to help?
We know that up to 72% of pregnant women suffer from back pain and some issues may not resolve satisfactorily. A recent study looked at the correlation between pregnancy, childbirth and functionally-limiting back pain. It found that 85% of women with back pain had a history of this condition during pregnancy and after giving birth. In 28% of cases the back pain did not resolve. The study concluded that pregnancy and childbirth were significant contributing factors to back pain even decades later.
How can you reduce the risk of developing back pain in pregnancy?
The body changes dramatically during pregnancy. Your back and joints respond to the release of a hormone called Relaxin. This enables the joints to relax to accommodate growth of the baby and ease labour. Sometimes the ligaments become too relaxed as a result and this structural instability makes walking, standing and moving generally painful. The abdominal muscles weaken as well, while the curve in the lower back becomes accentuated. All of this contributes to the likelihood of developing back pain. So what can you do?
Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy leads to better back pain outcomes after childbirth. It can help with:
- Pain – by adjusting the spine, muscles, joints and ligaments, chiropractic treatment relieves joints and creates better functioning and stability of the pelvic region.
- Positioning of baby – the chiropractor doesn’t turn the baby, of course, but ensures that the patient’s spine and pelvis are gently adjusted to provide the optimal environment for the growing foetus.
- Labour – getting the right chiropractic care during pregnancy can reduce the length of labour by up to 24%.
- Nausea – spinal adjustments improve the overall functioning of the nervous system and this may help with nausea in pregnancy.
Lastly, watch your weight – but don’t go on a diet! Weight gain is part of a healthy pregnancy. You’re likely to gain up to 16 kg. But you can avoid the obvious pitfalls of junk food, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks etc. Choose fresh fruit and vegetables for your snacks, stick to wholegrains in bread or crackers and prioritise good quality protein. And go easy on the empty carbs like pasta.
If you’re worried about back pain during pregnancy, book in for a check up with us (and you might like to know we have female as well as male practitioners in our clinics).