Pregnancy – Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy is considered a safe and effective means of treating common musculoskeletal symptoms that many pregnant patients encounter. Musculoskeletal changes occur during pregnancy due to the weight gain and hormonal changes which occur in the body. These changes commonly lead to problems such as low back and neck pain.
Chiropractors have a number of safe and gentle techniques which they can utilise with pregnant patients and alongside treatment we can offer advice on posture, exercise and diet. We can provide postural advice specific to your stage in pregnancy and exercises and stretches which you can perform at home.
Goals of chiropractic care during pregnancy:
- To minimise muscle and joint aches and pains
- Address nerve pain during pregnancy
- Restore biomechanical function and reduce physical stress
- Lessen the back pain of pregnancy
- Reduce some of the discomfort of labour / delivery
- Collaborate with health care teams
Conditions commonly experienced during pregnancy include:
Low back pain: This is the most common condition of pregnancy and often begins at about week 12 and can continue up to 6 months post partum (birth). The cause of the low back pain is in part due to weight gain but often begins before significant weight gain in the first trimester and the incidence does not parallel the weight gain during the pregnancy.
A large influence on low back pain is hormonal causes. The pain can stem from the lumbar facet joints, the sacroiliac joints (Posterior Pelvis Pain), the paraspinal muscles and supporting ligaments or vertebral discs. The patient may experience some radiation of pain into the thighs and groin. Chiropractors can employ many different joint and soft tissue techniques to address these symptoms.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD): Can occur from the 1st trimester and the pain is often described as disabling. The pubic symphysis is a joint which together with the sacroiliac joints forms the pelvic ring. This joint often becomes unstable and misaligned during pregnancy and can be treated by a chiropractor to manage the symptoms experienced.
Round Ligament Pain: The round ligament can cause sharp pain into the abdomen and/or the groin. It is released with gentle pressure by the chiropractor.
Pelvic instability: Instability affecting the pelvic sacroiliac joints can allow the pelvis to twist which will affect the soft tissues of the pelvis. This can be treated using soft padded wedge shaped blocks to remove the torsion in the pelvis. This is a very low force technique which the chiropractor will use if necessary. Strengthening and muscle activation techniques are very important for this.
Piriformis Syndrome: This muscle attaches to the sacrum and can create stress on the pelvis if it becomes tense. Patients often experience pain and discomfort at the level of the sacrum and buttocks and this syndrome is the most common cause of sciatica in pregnancy.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome: This occurs in 50-60% of pregnant women and causes symptoms into the hands. It is caused by compression on the median nerve as the nerves travel through the wrists into the hands. It is treated with nerve gliding techniques and soft tissue techniques.