Back pain during pregnancy

Features / 5 July, 2017 / Joanna Lowry-Corry

Do Chiropractic Techniques Help Back Pain During and After Pregnancy?

Back pain during and after pregnancy is a huge issue for many mothers;  the articles we’ve published on the subject over the years continue to achieve a steady flow of traffic, leading us to conclude that it’s a problematic topic that’s not going away any time soon. We asked The London Wellness Centre to talk to us about Chiropractic, and just how effective it can be by way of treating the pain and discomfort experienced during and after pregnancy. 

Pregnancy is a natural and beautiful process but for many, it can be a difficult period both emotionally and physically.

Throughout pregnancy your body evolves and can lead to discomfort and pain.  If you already have any underlying dysfunctional compensation patterns these can become more apparent as your baby grows, often resulting in sciatica, pelvic girdle pain, headaches, and mechanical lower back or neck pain.

The key to relieving a large majority of these is to try and maintain a strong, neutral posture throughout pregnancy. Due to the natural ligament laxity that occurs (caused by the hormone Relaxin) to make room for your baby this can be hard and specific strengthening exercises will become especially important. Hormones and postural changes are the main catalysts to highlighting these dormant painful dysfunctions and one of the ways these can be alleviated, monitored and corrected is through regular Chiropractic treatments before, during and after pregnancy.

Chiropractors are neuro-musculoskeletal experts, who provide targeted adjustments to the joints of your spine and extremities of your body to ensure that they are all moving and sending optimal messages to your central nervous system. Chiropractic is drug free and completely suitable for the whole family, especially during our developmental years.

With an increased interest in natural birthing over the last few years, a growing number of women have incorporated chiropractic into their prenatal care as a way to ensure their bodies are working at their optimal throughout their pregnancy and beyond.

What can Chiropractic help with?

Getting assessed and checked by a Chiropractor will enable you to discover your specific dysfunctional motor patterns and understand how these are impacting on you and your baby. A chiropractor will help you to correct these by adjusting what is necessary and giving you specific strengthening exercises through the use of a combination of functional muscle testing and motion palpation to assess you. Treatment is natural and pain free.

Chiropractic and low back and neck pain

One of the most common postural issues that crops up in pregnancy is what is referred to as the ‘duck’ posture.

Along with the baby growing, there is an expectation that you have to make room for the baby somehow. A common mistake is to thrust the hips forward and bring the upper back backwards, with toes and feet positioned outwards and neck brought forward to compensate for the gravitational forces. Walking in this position causes uncommonly high stress to the lower lumbar facet and Sacroiliac joints of your spine which will respond by becoming tighter and immobile, hence causing pain and discomfort.

The outward rotation of toes and feet will make your hips work unnecessarily hard which can result in groin pain. Additionally, the forward thrust neck makes the many, but small muscles of your neck, work incredibly hard against gravity at holding up and moving your head and can lead to neck stiffness, soreness, and headaches.

For those experiencing an unusually large tummy and baby you may have trouble getting around this adaption however, most women can retain a neutral posture throughout pregnancy, though this may require some additional help in the form of strengthening exercises that especially target the low back and pelvis. A fun and easy approach to this might be joining a pregnancy Pilates class as well as seeing your Chiropractor.

Chiropractic and Sciatica

Sciatica is the generic term used to describe pain that starts in you back and radiates down the back of your leg sometimes all the way to your foot. Leg pain can actually be due to a number of things: a lumbar disc pressing on one of the branches of the sciatic nerve; a dysfunctional muscle in your bum compressing the sciatic nerve; or an overly rotated hip joint that impinges the sciatic nerve as it passes by. It is a lot more common during pregnancy because there is more joint/ligament/muscle stress and less stability. Chiropractors can determine which structures are causing your leg pain and help to correct these and give you suitable exercises that will allow you to manage your symptoms whilst your baby gets bigger!

Chiropractic and Pelvic Girdle Pain

This is a very common symptom during pregnancy. Pain radiates across your low back and seems to wrap around your hips towards your pubic symphysis. It makes walking very uncomfortable and you will notice soreness and pressure bearing down on your pubic bone. When very bad it can prevent you from walking at all which makes pregnancy a bit of a nightmare. Great relief can be got from seeing your Chiropractor once you have already developed these symptoms, however the best course of action is to actually prevent this occurring in the first place. That is why it is so important to get assessed by a movement specialist and not just guess at the generic exercises that can be done.

Here are some basic and easy exercises for you to try:

  • Gluteal bridges: Lie on your back, push buttocks together as if to squeeze a coin, while contracting the buttock muscles push your legs and trunk off the ground but keep arms and shoulders down. Hold position for 3-5 sec, lower down slow and controlled. Repeat procedure 3 times with 10-15 reps.
  • Sit on a fitness ball: Regular use of this alternative “chair” will aid your core and pelvic floor to become strong and optimal. It also allows a greater movement to your spine preventing it to become stiff and stressed like a normal chair would do.

The London Wellness Centre is Canary Wharf’s biggest and busiest chiropractic clinic .The centre focuses on prevention over cure and is fast becoming the go to place for those who suffer from back and neck pain particularly in the business districts of London. This information was provided by one of their Chiropractors Ingvild Næstvold BSc MSc Doctor of Chiropractic. For more information please visit The London Wellness Centre.

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