We have all heard that pregnancy is meant to be a beautiful time of luscious hair, glowing skin while effortlessly growing a whole person. However, it isn’t not always sunshine and rainbows, at some point many women will experience back pain during pregnancy. For some it may be minimal and fleeting, but for others it can be unrelenting and debilitating. Conditions that are commonly experienced in pregnancy include sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and pubic symphysis dysfunction.
When being pregnant becomes a pain in the back
The cause of pregnancy related lower back pain is multifaceted, these are some of the most common causes:
- Posture changes- as your belly grows it causes changes in your posture as the body’s centre of gravity shifts forward.
- Hormonal changes- the hormones that allow the pelvis to open up for the birth process can also cause instability in the spine and pelvis
- Weight fluctuations- commonly women will gain between 10-15 kg in pregnancy, this again will have an effect on posture and centre of gravity
- Core muscle changes- the core muscles and pelvic floor are what stabilise the pelvis and lumbar spine. They both go through massive changes when you are pregnant and this can lead to spinal and pelvic instability.
- Exacerbation of an old injury- as all of the above happen throughout a pregnancy, it can lead to an exacerbation of an old or underlying injury.
Managing back pain during pregnancy
So what can you do to manage your lower back pain in pregnancy?
- Chiropractic– gentle and low force chiropractic adjustments can help reduce musculoskeletal dysfunction, and reduce pain and stiffness. Dr Jolene Cooney (Chiropractor) and Dr Bronwyn Miller (Chiropractor) have combined 15 years of experience treating pregnant patients. A recent study has also shown that chiropractic adjustments while pregnant can help to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles and make them more functional. (1)
- Massage- massage techniques and positions are easily adapted to be appropriate during pregnancy.
- Yoga and core muscle rehabilitation- by stretching and working to ensure the core muscles are working as best they can, pain can be eased.
- It is always advised to consult with your medical professional if you are experiencing severe pain, neuropathic pain or numbness.
- Pelvic floor functional changes with spinal manipulation in pregnant and non-pregnant women: A pilot study. JMPT 2016.