29 Sep 2018
CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR BACK PAIN IN PREGNANCY
29 Sep 2018
There is no doubt that with pregnancy comes a lot of extra stress and strain on the body. Low back pain in pregnancy is one of the major causes of pain and discomfort during this time. Research has shown there is a relationship between back pain in pregnancy and a longer labour and delivery process.
As the baby grows and the uterus enlarges it causes the pelvis to tilt anteriorly and increases flexion of the hips. Subsequently, this change increases the curvature of the lumbar spine (the lordosis) and causes increased stress on the hip flexors creating tightness. Due to this change the piriformis muscle in the gluteal region has to remain in a contracted state in order to keep the hips in a position of external rotation. External rotation must be maintained to compensate for the new center of gravity as it changes as the pregnancy progresses. The dispersed weight gain also increases stress on the sacro-iliac (pelvis) joints. As the baby begins to develop even further and the center of gravity moves forward there is increased pressure on the intervertebral discs and facet joints in the spine. The increased pressure on the discs and joints is often the generating factor of back pain.
Studies have demonstrated that 75% of pregnant patients have found relief from their back pain following chiropractic treatment. Women having their first pregnancy who received chiropractic care on average have a 25% shorter labour time and women having their second or third pregnancy experienced on average a 31% shorter labour time when treated by a chiropractor during their pregnancy.
There is a specific chiropractic technique called the Webster Technique that corrects the musculoskeletal imbalances caused by pregnancy and works on the pelvis, hip flexors and piriformis muscles specifically. Chiropractic treatment using the Webster technique can help balance the pelvis and corresponding muscles and ligaments to remove any uterine constraint and therefore allow the baby to be in the optimal position for delivery.
Chiropractic is very safe for pregnant women and a typical chiropractic treatment includes soft tissue work as well as mobilization or manipulation. Due to the increased ligament laxity brought on by pregnancy, chiropractic manipulation is very effective using just gentle movements. A chiropractor will also know what positions are best for the woman and baby at different stages during the pregnancy.
Chiropractors who specialize in treating pregnant women and children near you can be found on the following website: http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/
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Wang S., DeZinno P., Fermo L. et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for low-back pain in pregnancy: a cross-sectional survey. J Altern Complement Med. 2005. 11(3): 459-464.
J.M. Fallon. Textbook on chiropractic & pregnancy. Arlington, VA: International Chiropractic Association; 1994. 52:109.
Shaw G. When to adjust: chiropractic and pregnancy. J Am Chiropr Assoc. 2003.40(11): 8–16.
Pistolese R.A. The Webster Technique: a chiropractic technique with obstetric implications. J Manip Physiol Ther. 2002. 25(6): 1–9.
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