Pregnancy is an exciting time full of countless body changes. All of the hormonal fluctuation, weight increase, and posture changes can really take a toll on an expectant mother’s body. Many women experience nausea early in the pregnancy. However, as time passes, complaints such as low back pain and other body discomfort begin to dominate the daily problems. It is estimated that 50% of women experience low back pain during pregnancy. The reasons for low back pain during pregnancy might seem obvious, but there are actually very specific reasons pregnancy causes low back pain.
As a pregnancy progresses, there are some striking posture changes and weight changes that take place. The protruding abdomen causes the normal curve in the low back to increase in size. A small “dip” in the low back is normal. Often during pregnancy, the weight of the large abdomen will pull the spine forward and cause the curve in the lower back to increase. This places a lot of stress on the joints of the lower back, which can lead to low back pain. Another change that takes place during pregnancy is the hips expand laterally to help stabilize and support the additional weight in the abdomen. As the hips and pelvis open up to make room for the baby, additional stress is placed into two joints in the back of the pelvis called the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are where the pelvis connects to the spine, and they are located between the low back and the buttocks. Too much pressure in the sacroiliac joints can cause one-sided low back pain, pain with walking, and pain when transitioning from standing to sitting.
Any of these posture changes alone is enough to cause low back pain, but the hormone changes during pregnancy complicate the problem even more. During pregnancy, hormones that relax and soften ligaments are produced. The softening of the ligaments is important to make space for the baby during birth. However, the softening of the ligaments can also cause joints to become too mobile. This can cause a bone to slip and become fixated in an improper and painful position. This is most common with the pelvic bones, and can lead to low back pain, pain with prolonged sitting, and even pain down the back of the leg.
What can you do to minimize back pain during pregnancy? Staying active is important to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. While there are certain conditions that prevent physical activity during pregnancy, the majority of expectant mothers can continue light physical activity, such as walking or swimming, until close to delivery. There are also some easy at home stretches you can perform to keep your low back and hips mobile during pregnancy. Stand up with your feet hip width apart and your hands on your hips. From this position you can perform gentle side bending, rotate your hips in small circles, slowly lean forward and back to stretch the spine, or rotate your waist and upper body in small circles. These stretches will help you maintain mobility in your low back and pelvis during the pregnancy.
If you continue to experience back pain during pregnancy, chiropractic care is a drugless and safe way to help you relieve your back pain. Studies have shown up to 84% of women report relief of their back pain during pregnancy following chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments help restore normal alignment and motion to joints that have become misaligned or fixated. Gentle stretching can also be used to relieve the muscle tension that often builds up in the muscles of the low back. Another benefit of chiropractic care during pregnancy is a decrease in labor time. One study has shown women receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy have a 25% reduction in labor time compared to average labor times. Special adjusting procedures are used during pregnancy. These adjustments are safe for both the mother and the baby, and can clearly lead to some tremendous benefits.
To determine if chiropractic care could help you eliminate your pregnancy back pain, or to speak with a chiropractor in the Edwardsville, IL area, call Dr. Emily Brueggeman at 618-692-0000 . Ask for a free Invitation to Health that includes a consultation and screening to determine if yours is a chiropractic case.