Not only is chiropractic and acupuncture safe during pregnancy, but it’s highly recommended. Yup, short blog post today…. Huh? You were expecting more? Well alright! Strap in, because we’ve got a lot to cover!
Did you know?
45-76% of pregnant women will experience low back pain at some stage of their pregnancy
Low back pain typically starts between months 5-7 during pregnancy
85-90% of recurrence rate for pregnancy related low back pain
1 in 5 women report that back pain during their first pregnancy creates fear for future pregnancies
What exactly is causing my back pain?
Functional stressors like weight gain, gait changes and postural strains in combination with hormone-induced ligamentous laxity create the unfortunate fusion of progressively increasing load with diminishing stability. Predominantly frontal weight gain advances the center of gravity, forcing an anterior pelvic tilt and arched low back which places excessive stress on the ligaments, discs, lumbar facet joints and sacroiliac joints. In addition, the abdominal muscles (integral in low back stabilization) are stretched with the expanding uterus which compromises posture and support.
Chiropractic is more than just the adjustment. Along with spinal manipulation, a chiropractor provides soon to be moms with pregnancy specific exercises, stretches, myofascial release and patient education.
How can chiropractic adjustments help?
Almost 75% of women undergoing chiropractic manipulation report significant pain reduction and clinically significant improvements in disability. Incidentally, postpartum low back pain also responds to spinal manipulation - approximately 10 times greater than watchful waiting.
How can therapeutic exercise help?
Specific exercises including pelvic tilts, knee to chest stretches, sciatic nerve floss, hamstring stretches, and Kegel exercises can significantly reduce pregnancy-related low back pain. Targeting larger muscle groups for strengthening (like the gluteus maximus/medius, quadratus lumborum, and intrinsic spine muscles) will provide postural stability.
The US Department of Health and Human Services exercise guidelines suggest that healthy women may begin or continue moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Intensity can be measured using the Talk Test: Exercise should not be too intense that you can not comfortably hold a conversation.
How can myofascial release help?
Muscle tightness may be treated with stretching and myofascial release. A “waddling” pregnancy posture includes prolonged hip external rotation, which stresses the piriformis muscle. Gentle myofascial release and stretching exercises may be appropriate for tight iliopsoas and piriformis muscles.
With a limited limited number of pain medications can take during pregnancy, back pain may be seen as “part of the process.” However, the next nine months doesn’t have to be spent in pain thanks to chiropractic care. Consult your OBGYN or make an appointment with your chiropractor to see if chiropractic can help you today.