Caring for your spine and pelvis during pregnancy

30 June 2016

pregnant women enjoying nature

Pregnancy should be an amazing time for both mum and dad. Sometimes however, as a result of changes that occur, women experience pelvic and spinal pain in pregnancy. This is more likely to occur if there has been a history of dysfunction or pain in a previous pregnancy. 

The cause

Musculo skeletal disorders can be related to changes that occur during pregnancy as the mothers center of gravity changes and the body realigns itself to accommodate the growing baby. These changes can cause additional stress on skeletal bones and joints, in particular an overload on the lumbar spine and pelvic girdle.

Moreover during pregnancy, increased levels of relaxin, a polypeptide hormone produced by the corpus luteum and decidua, lead to greater ligamentous laxity particularly in the joints of the pelvis, resulting in widening of the symphysis pubis and sacroiliac joints as well as increased motion of the pelvic joints, inflammation, and reduced stability of the pelvis*. Increasing your core strength is an important factor in helping avoid these problems. 

How chiropractic can help 

A pregnant 35-year-old woman experienced insidious moderate to severe pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain and leg pain at 32 weeks’ gestation. Pain limited her endurance capacity for walking and sitting. Clinical testing revealed a left sacroiliac joint functional disturbance and myofascial trigger points reproducing back and leg pain. A diagnosis of pregnancy-related low back pain and pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain was made.

The patient was treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapy, exercises, and ergonomic advice in 13 visits over 6 weeks. She consulted her obstetrician for her weekly obstetric visits. At the end of treatment, her low back pain reduced from 7 to 2 on a 0-10 numeric pain scale rating. Functional activities reported such as walking, sitting, and traveling comfortably in a car had improved**.

This patient with pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain improved in pain and function after chiropractic treatment and usual obstetric management. Further proof that, with the right care and support everyone should be able to enjoy their pregnancy as much as possible without having to suffer low back pain. 

*Masselli (2016) Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pregnancy.
**Case study -Beranrd (2016) Chiropractic Management of Pregnancy-Related Lumbopelvic Pain: A Case Study

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