Are you or a loved one pregnant? Are you experiencing back pain and other discomforts due to your pregnancy? If so, you're not alone. According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, no less than 75% of pregnant women suffer from back pain and many other severe discomforts that impact their daily activities.
Pregnancy-induced back pain can have more than one cause. Wrist pain, back pain, and leg cramps are some of the most common complaints during pregnancy
But, there is hope.
Chiropractic care can be an effective therapy for reducing and managing the discomforts of pregnancy.
Why are There Discomforts During Pregnancy?
The average healthy weight gain during pregnancy is approximately 30 lbs. The bulk of this is found around the abdomen which adds a significant frontal load. This added weight puts stress on the:
The additional weight gain during pregnancy can bring about altered posture and biomechanics, changing how we stand, sleep, and move during pregnancy. As the uterus expands and your baby grows, the abdomen muscles stretch and lose their ability to provide adequate support. The change in posture and the shifting forward may bring pain and discomfort in the lower back.
In the third trimester, the levels of the relaxin hormone increases, bringing about a loosening of joints so the pelvis can accommodate the enlarged uterus, your baby, and later birth. The loosening of joints, however, can decrease joint stability and alter your posture. Other musculature may also be stressed, triggering pain and injury.
12 Discomforts Often Experienced During Pregnancy
Here is a list of twelve discomforts that women often report as discomfort during pregnancy:
Aching legs and buttocks
Pelvic pain and pressure
Low back pain
De Quervain tenosynovitis
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Night-time muscle spasms
Fatigue and low energy
How Can Chiropractic Help You?
Your spine is comprised of 24 independent vertebrae that allow the body to bend, twist, and move. They also serve as protection for the delicate central nervous system which controls the cells, tissues, and organs of the body.
Joint dysfunction, also called subluxations of the spine, occurs when there is a restriction in two or more vertebrae. This inhibits the body's ability to communicate with itself. As mentioned earlier, joint loosening during pregnancy can bring about dysfunctions as a result of changes going on in the body. This adjustment provides support for you and your bundle of joy.
Body changes, such as weight gain in the abdomen, rotation of the pelvis, and poor posture, can force the body to adapt to the stress placed on the spine. These changes will negatively impact joint functions and obstruct communication flow throughout the body.
Chiropractors locate and correct joint dysfunctions through the use of a gentle, targeted movement on the body's spinal column and extremities.
The correction brings about improved joint function and nerve communication throughout the body. This non-invasive procedure is referred to as a chiropractic adjustment.
The following three conditions can be treated with chiropractic care during pregnancy:
1. Back Pain
Your protruding belly is a symbol of joy. It shows your cutie is growing well. However, your big belly may cause back pain because of pregnancy waddle. This is the most common reason for back pain.
As you lean backward, you splay your hips out more and bend your knees less. When this happens, your center of gravity changes. This means your body no longer has a healthy posture which brings about severe back strain.
The following are other reasons why you may experience back pain during pregnancy:
2. Pelvic pain
The pelvis is the large bone structure of your hips found at the bottom of the spine. It supports your trunk and connects to your legs. It also provides support for many internal organs.
It is usual for pressure to be exerted on the pelvic region during pregnancy, but some women experience symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD); a condition also known as pelvic girdle pain
You may experience SPD when the hormones in charge of preparing your body for delivery function sub-optimally. This makes the two bones of the symphysis pubis to become relaxed. The pelvis is held in place by these muscles. If they become too stretchy, your pelvis will become misaligned, causing severe pelvic pain.
The sciatic nerve is formed by the lower spinal nerves that run from your lower back and through your hip and buttocks. When there is a compression of these nerves during pregnancy, which can be as a result of prolonged sitting or postural misalignment, you may experience numbness, inflammation, and pain.
3 Other Conditions Chiropractic Care Can Help with During Pregnancy
Here is a list of three other conditions that can be treated, including:
Pubic Symphysis Pain
Round Ligament Pain
8 Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
There are eight main benefits of going to a chiropractor when you are pregnant:
1. Pain Relief
Chiropractic care is a natural way to relieve joint, neck, back, and lumbopelvic pain. This is achieved through spinal manipulation and adjustment.
Chiropractors have the skill and expertise to adjust almost every joint in the body.
Spinal manipulation involves the application of controlled force to a joint in your spine that may have become immobile due to tissue injury.
An immobile joint is inflamed and painful. Spinal manipulation is used to restore mobility, allowing the joint to heal.
Chiropractic care uses many manipulation techniques to focus on the region of your body that is hurting.
2. Improved Balance
Your pregnancy may affect your posture, hence, affecting your center of gravity. Chiropractic care will help realign your spine for healthy posture while making you more balanced on your feet.
Chiropractic care will also benefit your nervous system which plays a vital role in transmitting information from your ears and eyes to the brain. If your nervous system is negatively impacted due to tissue damage or stress in your spine, these signals can become distorted causing muscle pain, headaches, tingling, numbness, back pain, and imbalance.
Spinal manipulation will get the messages flowing unimpeded. Falls can have severe consequences for "mama's to be", so it is essential to be balanced on your feet.
3. Nausea Relief
Pregnant women often have morning sickness which brings feelings of incapacitation for long periods. Studied have not identified the exact causes of nausea and morning sickness. But, it is believed that hormonal changes may play a role in bringing bring about changes to the nervous system.
Studies have shown chiropractic care can lessen the severity and duration of morning sickness. Morning sickness often occurs in the first trimester. So, once you find out that you are pregnant, it is a good idea to set up an appointment with a chiropractor.
4. Improved Immune System
Hormonal changes during pregnancy may weaken the immune system, leading to susceptibility to diseases and illness. Illness is not only uncomfortable during pregnancy; it may be dangerous for your baby's development and safety.
Chiropractic care will bring your lymphatic system, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system into harmony. With these components operating in tandem, you will drastically reduce your risk of illness and give your immune system a boost.
5. Bowel Irregularity
If you find yourself frequently running to the bathroom as your uterus presses against your bladder, or your hormonal changes leave you constipated all the time, it's time to come in for chiropractic care.
Studies have shown more than 50% of women experience some form of bowel irregularity during their pregnancy. Chiropractic care affects the muscles and joints surrounding your internal organs. This will balance the regularity of your bowels.
6. Mental Clarity and Health
If the hormonal changes in your body are affecting your emotional and mental health, chiropractic care is the right solution.
You will enjoy an immediate improvement in your body condition after being readjusted. A study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research found that 76 percent of participants experienced an improvement in emotional health, mental health, and their overall stress levels after regular chiropractic care.
7. Reduction in the Risk of C-Sections
A caesarian session is a surgical procedure removing the baby from the womb. While some women prefer giving birth through c-section, it is mostly carried out during high risk or emergency situations.
A regular visit to a chiropractor will help reduce the risk of needing a c-section. A study found a positive correlation between chiropractic care during pregnancy in reducing the occurrence of c-sections and necessitating the use of forceps during delivery.
More studies need to be carried out, but the evidence to date substantiates that chiropractic care will strengthen your body for labor and improve your wellbeing.
8. Better Body Positioning
In the last trimester, your body will go through more changes as it prepares to give birth. The relaxin hormone will relax and stretch the pelvic muscles. Your belly will drop as your baby moves along the birth canal.
One critical factor of the third trimester is your baby's position in the womb. If your baby is positioned incorrectly, labor will be difficult and dangerous. By correctly aligning your pelvis through exercises, stretches, and spinal manipulation, your baby will move into the correct position for birth with the head positioned towards the birth canal.
Is Chiropractic Safe During Pregnancy?
Chiropractic care is the maintenance of the spinal column and the expert adjustment of misaligned joints. It is a gentle procedure that does not require surgery or drugs. This therapy reduces spinal nerve stress and promotes wellbeing.
There are very few cases of complications. Chiropractic care is believed to be safe during pregnancy. But, under the circumstances listed below, chiropractic care may not be a good idea, if you experience:
Moderate to severe toxemia
Placenta previa or placental abruption
All licensed chiropractors are trained for pregnancy, but some specialize in prenatal care. Ask if your specialist majors in this area. If not, get a referral.
How Many Sessions are Required?
If you have back pain, the level and severity will determine the number of chiropractic sessions required.
The first few sessions will be to stabilize you. This may be 6-12 treatments in a 3-6-week period. After that, you will be weaned off the sessions and placed on a monthly maintenance care program for the entire duration of the pregnancy.
Do not wait till you start experiencing back pains once you are pregnant. It is best to set up maintenance sessions to help you during your pregnancy before you suffer any discomfort.
What will it Cost?
The average price per session in the country is $35-$250. During pregnancy, you will want to communicate with a chiropractor to find out if they have prenatal experience or training. This factor may make their rate slightly higher than the average in your particular city. It is also important to note that some practitioners may offer discounts or packages for prenatal care treatments. For more information, read: How Much Does Chiropractic Therapy Cost?
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