The joy of preparing for a new baby is diminished for many women by persistent back pain during pregnancy, causing stress and frustration due to the lack of effective treatment available. For this reason, it is important to know as much as possible about why you may be experiencing back pain as well as effective alternatives to taking pain-reducing drugs.
How common is back pain during pregnancy?
During pregnancy a woman’s body changes dramatically. Pregnancy is a time of constant change in preparation for the new and growing baby. Postural changes, increased weight gain and the ligaments becoming more stretched are a normal progression of pregnancy and can often be the cause of pain and discomfort in expectant mothers. Almost half of all pregnant women experience back pain during pregnancy.
What causes back pain?
There is no single cause to explain back pain during pregnancy, however postural and hormonal changes do contribute to the problem.
The most common postural changes are due to the bulk of the growing baby, the enlarging breasts and secondary weight gain.
Hormones released during pregnancy, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, cause softening and relaxation of the ligaments and joints making them more prone to injury and pain.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms can include low back pain, pelvic and pubic joint pain, leg and hip pain and pain in the ribcage, shoulder
girdle, and neck. Headache and migraine, heartburn and numbness in the arms and legs are also common symptoms.
Can it be treated?
A range of techniques suitable for the pregnant woman are used to provide comfort and pain relief. This, along with muscle relaxation techniques, education about the best positions to adopt to support your back, muscle strengthening exercises, sleeping advice and the use of a pelvic support belt if needed, provide excellent support to help you accommodate the changes your body is undergoing.
How can I prevent lower back and pelvic pain?
Posturally, it is vital to keep upright and straight. As there is added weight on the body, tasks like gardening, vacuuming and lifting need to be done gently and with caution. Making a few simple everyday changes can help to keep this back pain to a minimum.
It is a common misconception that Chiropractors only treat back and neck conditions. Here are some conditions that Chiropractors encounter every day:
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to fracture, due to a loss of calcium and other mineral components. This condition is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss may occur without symptoms.
Headaches and Migraines
In the UK, headaches are one of the most frequent reasons people seek medical advice. There are over 20 different types of headache, but the most commonly treated are migraine, tension, and cluster.
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis is a term most people recognise but different mechanisms cause the painful and disabling joint pain. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and often the result of “wear and tear”. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the body attacks its own tissues – in this case the lining of the joints. In spite of these differences, both conditions may benefit from chiropractic care.
By enabling the joints to move as freely as possible and relaxing the surrounding muscles, the result of treatment is often much less disability and pain.
TMJ syndrome comprises problems with the temporomandibular joint, located between the lower jaw and skull and is characterised by pain and stiffness. The condition is common with nine out of ten people having at least one sign or symptom.