Ouch – pregnancy pain can be the worst sometimes! Especially in your back, where the extra (healthy) weight around your abdomen increases your frontal load, discomfort can add yet another thing to worry about during pregnancy. Half of all women experience some form of back pain during pregnancy, and while the reason can differ greatly, the feeling is undeniable. Therefore, a lot of women, as part of their prenatal care, opt to see a chiropractor; other women, meanwhile, are unsure whether the practice is too invasive. So, who’s correct?
Well, this article is going to come out and say it right at the beginning: far from being too invasive, chiropractic care is immensely beneficial during pregnancy, both as a means of reducing back and pelvis discomfort, as well as a way to learn exercises that can prepare you for giving birth. This article will walk you through the reasons for your back discomfort during pregnancy, as well as what to expect when you see a chiropractor.
Let’s talk first about the reason for the pain. As your child grows and you gain weight in your abdomen, your upper back attempts to compensate for the forward shift in center of gravity by moving back, and in turn your neck tends to shift forward. These new postural movements put stress on your upper back, neck and shoulders. Meanwhile, as if that wasn’t enough, your lower back is experiencing the tension of shifting forward.
Not only that, but in your third trimester, your body starts to see an increase of the hormone Relaxin (which is exactly how it sounds!). According to this scientific study, “Relaxin increases tenfold during pregnancy causing ligamentous laxity and discomfort, not only in the sacro-iliac joint, but also generalized discomfort, pain of the entire back, instability of the pelvis and misalignment of the spine.” That’s a lot of medical jargon right there, but in essence what it is saying is that the hormone loosens your joints, which in turn can cause painful posture alterations.
So, you’re experiencing discomfort for one, or all, of these reasons, and that has led you to look into what a chiropractor can do about it. For starters, a good chiropractor will offer spinal adjustments, using techniques and equipment specially designed for pregnant women. This is what you normally think of when you imagine a chiropractor: giving gentle spinal adjustments, to help alleviate pain and pressure in the problem areas. It feels great!
What a great chiropractor will do first, however, is sit down with you and develop a plan. They will offer stretches and exercises that you can do to help mitigate discomfort and prepare for childbirth. They’ll listen to your needs, your particular pains and aches, and create a tailored plan to get you back to a state of comfort. The ultimate goal here is making you comfortable and pain-free – something any pregnant woman can get behind.
In short, you should understand two things: one, that it’s totally normal to experience back pain during pregnancy, for a number of reasons; and two, that a chiropractor is ultimately there to help you feel as good as possible during this time. You shouldn’t have to expect pain when you’re expecting!