The female body undergoes a long list of changes throughout pregnancy. Though some changes are noticeable (weight gain and expanding belly), others are only noticeable to the mother herself. One symptom that the majority of pregnant women will experience is back pain. This back pain can be intermittent or extend throughout the entire pregnancy. Every body is different so each experience differs. Due to the constant changes occurring, there are two main causes of this back pain: hormones and postural distortion.
Hormones play a huge part in the changes occurring in the body. One such hormone is called Relaxin and is responsible for increasing elasticity of every ligament in the body. Relaxin reaches its peak in the first trimester, and in some cases can cause the back and hips to relax too much. This causes frequent aches and pains. Between the frequent aches and a shift in the woman’s center of gravity, the mother will need someone to teach her how to move correctly and keep her bones aligned through regular treatments.
A particularly important part of a pregnancy exam at Strack Chiropractic Wellness Center is to make sure that patients are moving well. With my experience in biomechanics, I can help coach pregnant women on best practices for standing, sitting, and general movement. During the exam, I watch the patient complete a functional movement squat and some lunges to locate any deficits in her movements that could potentially lead to future pain. I specifically look for improper movements in the spine, hips, knees, and feet. I also educate women on how to properly pick objects up without causing strain to the back. When you’re faced with a multitude of changes, you want to make sure you don’t add any extra injury-related stress to your body.
I adjusted and monitored my wife while she was pregnant with both of our children. Drew didn’t have a history of low back pain before either pregnancy. During the treatments, I would work on opening up her hips and stretching her adductors and hip flexors. When delivering naturally in a hospital, the legs are up in stirrups, so it’s important for the hips to be flexible. To get that range of motion, Drew needed to have great hip mobility. Throughout her pregnancy, I would check and work on every muscle that connects the pelvis to the upper leg, as shown in the picture to the right.
Drew experienced minimal low back pain and breezed through her pregnancy due to her increased mobility and treatments. She was an emergency room nurse at the time and was on her feet for 12 hours per shift, but she was still vigilant about doing all of her exercises and stretches. Drew delivered both of our beautiful sons naturally and did not push more than 30 minutes for them.
During postpartum recovery, it’s quite common for women to have back pain due to the rapid loss of weight. To monitor spine alignment and minimize pain, I recommend that new mothers come to Strack Chiropractic Wellness Center two to four weeks postpartum to check for optimal healing. During these treatments, I use low force techniques and avoid strain on the nervous system.
Pregnancy looks different for everyone, but one thing stays the same: a huge part of caring for your unborn child is caring for yourself. Invest in taking care of your body so you can work towards a smoother pregnancy and birthing experience.