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How Chiropractic Can Help With Low Back And Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy


Pregnancy is incredible. The changes which occur to the body to allow for the growth of new life is nothing short of miraculous. These changes, however, do place women at an increased likelihood of developing low back and pelvic girdle pains. Perhaps unsurprisingly, over 30% of women will experience low back pain for the first time during pregnancy, and almost all (90%) of pregnant women will suffer from low back and or pelvic girdle pain. Unfortunately many women will not seek any form of treatment, leaving them at a higher risk of developing chronic pain continuing after birth. This article will cover the mechanics behind low back pain and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and how a chiropractor can help.

What causes low back pain and pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy?

As with all forms of pain, there are many possible causes and contributors which may arise from different systems. Today we are going to talk about the physical factors, these are the changes that affect structures such as the joints, muscles and ligaments, and are commonly the reason pregnant women will choose to see a chiropractor for low back pain and pelvic pain through their pregnancy.

Many of the changes that occur to the muscles, ligaments and joints within the body during pregnancy are due to an increase in the hormone relaxin. This hormone increases elasticity (loosens) the ligaments around the pelvis, and is responsible for the expansion of the pelvis in preparation for childbirth. The effects of relaxin also span to other ligaments around the body, which can lead to increased mobility and risk of injury due to a decrease in stability.

A growing baby means a growing belly. The expansion leads to a forward shift in the centre of gravity, increasing the pressure on the low back. Postural compensatory changes may occur to balance this shift i.e holding the head and trunk back over the pelvis, which can lead to an increase in the natural curve of the lower back (lordotic curve). This increase, known as hyperlordosis, can negatively influence how your muscles interact with one another, leading to muscular dysfunctions and placing more strain on your joints, discs and ligaments, potentially creating inflammation and pain.

The pelvis is also commonly affected as a result of the expanding belly. Pelvic asymmetry - meaning a difference in the movement and function of the left and the right side of the pelvis - changes how the body moves and functions. Since one of the main functions of the pelvis is to provide stability and transfer weight to the lower limbs, women who suffer from pelvic asymmetry during pregnancy will find walking (among other things) difficult. Pelvic girdle pains may show up in the lower portion of your back, down into the glutes , or even at the front into the groin and pubic symphysis.

Can I see a chiropractor while I am pregnant?

Absolutely! Our fantastic Gisborne chiropractors are extensively trained in how the body moves and functions and more importantly, how this is impacted during pregnancy. While there is nothing anyone can do about that growing belly and the physiological changes that are occurring, a chiropractor may be able to assist by addressing compensatory movement and tension patterns perpetuating the pain. By addressing these problems, we can minimise unnecessary pressure and loading of structures that are already doing the most. There are modified techniques our chiropractors use to safely and gently address any tension patterns and minimise pain levels. We work with you through your pregnancy, catering for your needs and preferences. Some of the treatment options may include adjusting (low force or manual) , soft tissue release and self management strategies including exercises.

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