There are so many great, exciting things about being pregnant. Back pain is not one of them. Growing a new family member inside your body is an amazing process. As you know, your body changes dramatically during your baby’s forty week residency in your belly. Some of those changes can cause your back to hurt, and a pregnancy chiropractor can help figure out the cause and come up with a solution.
What causes back pain during pregnancy?
Your body’s changes are necessary for the baby to grow and prepare to enter into the world, but they can cause problems for Mom. Prenatal Chiropractic is a great place to start when back pain hits, as we can often fix the pain without drugs or surgery.
- Lumbar back pain during pregnancy is the most common place to develop discomfort. The lumbar spine is the lower part of your back above your pelvis. As baby grows, the weight in the front of your body causes your lumbar spine to curve more than usual. That curving stresses the muscles and ligaments that surround the spine. That can cause misalignments in the spine that need to be corrected for you to feel better.
- Sacroiliac pain is another common pregnancy pain issue. The sacroiliac joints are below the lumbar spine in your pelvis. Your body is making joint-relaxing hormones that target the SI joints to prepare for birth. That is good for baby’s exit, but not so good for Mom’s back. As those joints relax they can be more prone to becoming painful or inflamed. Sacroiliac pain can sometimes travel to your hips or groin area.
- Post-Pregnancy back pain – Just like the SI joints need to loosen up prior to birth, they need to go back to normal after baby is born. If they get stuck or misaligned while they are supposed to be returning to normal, they can cause pain in the months after birth. See my article on pain in new parents for more information on what to expect after the baby comes.
- Sciatica during pregnancy – Sciatica, or pain shooting down a leg, is common during the prenatal period. The altered movement that your spine is facing can cause spasm or misalignments that squeeze on the nerves in the legs. This results in a burning pain, or numbness and tingling in the legs or feet.
- The altered posture in your lower back can also make changes up the spinal column. Upper back pain and neck pain can result, especially if you had that before pregnancy.
Can a pregnancy Chiropractor help?
Chiropractic care is a great option for pregnant women. It is safe for you and your baby, since it doesn't use drugs or invasive procedures. Adjustments target the root cause of the pain. Specifically, the misalignments in some of the back joints that need to move to accommodate the body's changes. And because chiropractic doesn't use pain medications, which are often not recommended, many obstetricians and midwives refer their patients to a pregnancy chiropractor for back pain.
Dr French has years of experience in Norwalk, CT treating pregnancy related back pain. Some of his patients have credited chiropractic during pregnancy with helping them have an easier delivery. Talk to your doctor or midwife to see if chiropractic might be helpful for you, and you can always contact us for more information or schedule an appointment to see if we can help.
There are also some things you can try on your own.
- Massage – Recruit your partner or a friend to rub sore muscles. Have them press moderately hard to your tolerance, and take their time to let you relax. Or schedule a prenatal massage at our office, and let the professionals take care of you!
- Ice – Ice is the best natural anti-inflammatory. Put a cold pack right on the painful spot for no more than 20 minutes. It will reduce inflammation in injured areas, making you feel better.
- Stretching – While your belly can inhibit you from doing most normal low back stretches, sitting with your heels together to stretch the adductors or lying on your back to cross one leg over the other target some of the muscles commonly tight during pregnancy- the adductors and the lumbar paraspinals.
- Swimming – Aquatic exercise or just relaxing in a pool can take some of the weight off your spine, and the pressure of the water is relaxing.
- Prenatal yoga – Exercise is a very good idea, especially starting early in pregnancy. Many local yoga studios offer prenatal classes, just be sure to let the teacher know you are pregnant.
Dr French is a member of the American Pregnancy Association: