Being pregnant is a unique and powerful life experience where the body undergoes immense physical, hormonal and emotional changes. Throughout pregnancy, the extensive physiological and structural changes that occur within the maternal body can disrupt normal bodily structure and function. (1)
It has been estimated that about 50% of pregnant women will suffer from some kind of low back pain during the pregnancy or in their postpartum period. (2) Pregnancy related back pain could be a result of mechanical, hormonal or other factors.
Pelvic girdle pain and lumbar pain are two forms of low back pain during pregnancy. Pelvic girdle pain is four times more prevalent during pregnancy and postpartum as compared to lumbar pain.(2) The site of pain is commonly found at the gluteal area, occasionally radiating to the back of the thigh or the calf.
The nature of the pain is often described as:
- Unilateral or bilateral pain
- Recurrent or continuous pain.
Other conditions that are commonly seen in pregnancy include:
- Symphysis pubis pain
- Upper back and neck strain
- Rib pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
The body is constantly changing during pregnancy. Relaxin, the hormone released during pregnancy, prepares the body for birth by softening the ligaments. This, coupled with the postural changes from weight gain and changes in position of the baby, can put additional pressure on joints and muscles of the spine or pelvis.
How can we help?
Osteopathic treatments can alleviate the pain and reduce the stress by ensuring that movement of the pelvic girdle is balanced. Pelvic imbalance or underlying restrictions in the body can be addressed pre-conception. This could help the body to cope with the changes of pregnancy and help it to adapt as smoothly as possible.(3)
During your visit, the osteopath would assess how your body is functioning. Any past medical history, occupation, exercise regime, or other factors that may affect the overall well-being are taken into consideration.
Osteopathic treatments are safe, gentle and effective using hands-on techniques such as stretching and massage of soft tissues, and mobilization and manipulation of joints. The aim is to relieve pain, discomfort and immobility and to help the body to cope with the stresses of pregnancy.
- “Pregnancy Pains – American Pregnancy Association”. American Pregnancy Association. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
- P Katonis, K Alpantaki. “Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain”. PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
- Chila AG. Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine. 3rd Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2011.