Can chiropractic help you with back pain during pregnancy?

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Here at Dixon Health we’ve got a lovely warm fuzzy feeling… we have had so many expecting mums coming through the clinic in the last few months, there must be something in the water! Sadly, what should be the most exciting times in a woman’s life can be hampered by nagging, and often severe back pain. Many people don’t realise that chiropractic can help with back pain during pregnancy, and unfortunately some people don’t even know if it is safe to see a chiropractor when pregnant. The first thing i have to say is that categorically YES it is safe and very beneficial to see a chiropractor when you are pregnant!


pregnant-31154_640So why do so many women suffer when they are pregnant? Well the first answer to that question is probably the most obvious… you are carrying an increasing amount of weight, which you cant exactly just put down! As the size of your bump increases, your posture starts to change as well. The pelvis gradually tilts forwards, causing an increased inward curve of the lower back (called a lumbar lordosis). This increases the strain or amount of weight which the discs and other joints in the lower back take. This causes pain and muscle fatigue.

As well as carrying more weight in your tummy, you will also be carrying more weight in your breasts. This means that your upper back is carrying more strain, which this often focusses to the area around the bra-strap as this is where the weight is generally carried.

The final reason women often suffer pain is a little more complicated. As your body readies itself for child birth, the primary objective is to get that baby out of your belly, and the route it takes is through the pelvis. To prepare for this, your body releases a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin works on your ligaments to effectively slacken them off. This means that when the time comes, your pelvis can open right up to increase the size of the opening in the pelvis, allowing safe passage of your baby into the outside world. Unfortunately this loosening of the ligaments in the pelvis can also make you more susceptible to instability and pelvic misalignment.

Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to help. Firstly it is important to keep as active as possible… within reason! Walking is a great way of keeping the pelvis moving, and by using the muscles surrounding the pelvis, you can help to improve the stability of the pelvis itself. Chiropractic adjustments help to correct any misalignments within the pelvis, as well as reducing stiffness and tight muscles in the mid-back, reducing pain and making exercise easier.

Part of your treatment with a chiropractor will often include prescribed exercises to complement the treatment given. Whilst it is always better to have exercises specific to your condition, here is a little tester you can try to help build up strength in your gluteal muscles (ie the muscles in your buttock). You should seek professional advice before starting any exercise programme. If you are suffering an acute episode of pain do not perform these exercises without first seeking professional advice. For a free consultation, or to arrange a no obligation chat with one of our chiropractors, please call the clinic on 01225 862140.

Clams exercise:

Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent, then lift your top knee up, keeping your feet together (so your knees are like a clam shell opening and closing), and lower it back down. Do this ten times, then turn over and repeat on the other side. Three sets on each side, performed daily, will improve strength in the pelvis, and help prevent pain in the lower back and hips. The main pitfalls to look out for when doing this exercise are to avoid any twisting through the lower back as you raise the leg- it is key to isolate the movement to the hip joint to avoid straining the lower back. An easy way to progress the exercise is to wrap a resistance band around the legs to increase the effort required to perform the exercise.

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