The truth is most women experience back pain during pregnancy as their body undergoes the major changes necessary to bring a child to term. In fact back pain is reported by 50-70% of pregnant women 1,2 and rates are higher for those with a prior history of back pain.
A growing tummy produces an average weight gain of 12 kgs, distributed primarily in the abdominal region. By the second trimester the uterus is no longer contained within the pelvis, but shifts forward, stretching and weakening the abdominal muscles. This diminished core strength allows postural changes including a forward shift in mum-to-be's centre of gravity and the result can be muscle fatigue, muscle spasm and pain.
Simultaneously, the production of a hormone called Relaxin increases ten fold as the pregnancy progresses. This hormone is designed to allow ligaments to soften and stretch in preparation for labour, but in the meantime may cause relative instability of joints in the lower back and pelvis - providing an opportunity for Joint Dysfunction that may cause pelvic pain especially from the sacroiliac joints or pubis.1
The good news is Chiropractic care has a solid track record of helping mums-to-be with favourable outcomes. A study by Skaggs et al2 showed a fast decrease in pain using a questionnaire scale from 45 to 34 by the second visit. Another study3 found ALL BUT 10% reporting improvement under chiropractic with 50% feeling very well and 25% with complete remission. And results published by Fallon5,6 reported all women in their study enjoyed more than 50% improvement in their back pain.
In our office, chiropractic care of the pregnant patient is highly tailored. Adjustments are carried out gently and with the extra care required. We also are proficient in the Webster technique4. As chiropractors employing a holistic approach we cover nutritional aspects, the appropriate supplementation and physical exercises to support you through this very special time.
When necessary we also offer acupuncture which traditionally has been thought to offer a range of pregnancy and birth related benefits.
In short, chiropractic care in our office is gentle and may be beneficial through the various stages of pregnancy. This is one of our special interest areas and we are constantly taking care of many mums-to-be and their newborns.
1. Berg G, Hammar M, Moller-Nielsen J, Linden U, Thorblad J. Low back pain during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 1988;71:71-5
2. Skaggs CD, Prather H, Gross G et al. Back and pelvic pain in an undeserving United States pregnant population: a preliminary descriptive study. JMPT 2007;30(2) 130
3. Mazzarelli J. Static Alterations of the Pelvic, Sacral and Lumbar Area due to Pregnancy. Chiropractic treatment in: ed. Chirop Interprofessional Research Torino: Edizioni Minerva Medica 1982:59-68
4. Pistolese RA. The Webster technique. A Chiropractic Technique with Obstetric implications. JMPT 2002;25(6):e1-e9.
5. Fallon J.M. Textbook on Chiropractic and Pregnancy. Arlington, VA. International Chiropractic Association; 1994: 52,109
6. Fallon J.M. Chiropractic and Pregnancy: A partnership for the future. ICA Int Rev: Chiropr. 1990;46:(6):39-42