Back Pain During Pregnancy
A woman's body goes through a swift and dramatic transformation when she becomes pregnant. In order to be totally nurturing, her body sacrifices or changes many of its normal activities in order to best serve the baby. That may mean creating four extra pounds of blood supply, storing up to ten extra pounds of fat in preparation for breastfeeding, and in general carrying an average of thirty extra pounds of weight.
These sudden changes are in the baby's best interest. We all agree that is what matters most.
But these changes can cause health issues and pain for the mother. Studies show that half of all pregnant women develop low back pain during their pregnancies. Why?
The growing baby alters a woman's normal center of gravity, placing extra stress on the spine. Normal spinal curvatures and joints are also significantly altered by a special pregnancy hormone called relaxin, causing altered biomechanics and added stress on muscles and nerves. The baby's development can also cause pressure on many low back nerves, causing low back, buttock, and leg pain. Additional causes for pain during pregancy are sleeping on her back, not remaining active enough, and previous episodes of low back pain.
Many women opt to use over-the-counter medications to help manage their pain during pregnancy. But there is significant risk associated with these drugs. What to do?
There is good news for pregnant women who suffer pain! Chiropractic is non-invasive, drug-free, safe, and will not harm your baby. In fact, in many cases chiropractic care has even made it possible for a baby who is in breech presentation to turn by relieving tension on important ligaments.
How We Can Help Your Back Pain During Pregnancy
Chiropractic has been shown to be safe and effective in reducing low back pain during pregnancy. One collaborative chiropractic and medical survey revealed that 75% of pregnant women found relief through chiropractic, even though the baby was still causing pressure on their spines and nerves. The Mayo Clinic encourages pregnant women to consider chiropractic.
Dr. Johnson specializes in the gentle Activator Methods technique of chiropractic adjusting. This instrument-assisted technique does not require the pregnant woman to contort her body or assume uncomfortable positions. The instrument does all the work, ensuring the comfort of the mother and the safety of the baby.
Some women ask, "Do I have to lay face down on the table? Is that all right for the baby?" The Activator Methods analysis is most accurate when the patient lies face down, so that is our preference. Dr. Johnson uses a special pillow to maximize the mother's comfort and relieve any pressure from her belly. This analysis and technique are safe for the baby.
Dr. Johnson is also trained and certified in the Webster technique, a specific analysis of the lower back which often helps pregnant women and their babies by properly aligning the pelvis in preparation for birth.
After pregnancy, a woman's body goes through even more dramatic changes, as it rapidly learns how to function without the baby inside. There is a loss of relaxin, and joints may be tender and painful. Many women consider gentle chiropractic adjustments to be essential as their body adapts to life after pregnancy.
Many women wonder whether they should continue an exercise regimen while pregnant, or if they ought to begin a exercise program.
The answer to both questions is "YES!" Exercise, especially during the second half of the pregnancy, has been shown to significantly reduce the intensity of back pain. Also, women who do not regularly exercise are less likely to have a normal vaginal delivery.
Women who already have an established exercise regimen, in most cases, should continue the same regimen. Pay close attention to warning signs such as dizziness, balance issues, shortness of breath, etc. Do not increase the intensity of the exercise regimen.
Women who have not previously had an exercise regimen are encouraged to perform mild to moderate exercise sessions, three or more times per week.
Contact sports, scuba diving, high-altitude activities, and intense workout sessions are not recommended.