You Are Not Alone With Your Back Pain
More than 50% of pregnant women experience back aches during their pregnancy. Some women have back pain early on while for others it appears in the later months. For many it worsens over time and persists post-partum. So, what’s really going on?
As the uterus expands, it stretches out and weakens the abdominal muscles and your center of gravity shifts. This shift in gravity changes your posture and puts extra stress on your back. The extra weight you are carrying means that your muscles are working harder and putting increased stress on your joints too.
Hormone changes during pregnancy loosen the joints and ligaments that attach the pelvic bones to the spine. This creates a feeling of instability and can cause pain from doing simple activities.
Hormone changes and a shift in your center of gravity can cause back pain.
Types of Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
There are two common patterns in lower back pain during pregnancy. Lumbar pain comes from the lumbar region of the spine (also known as the low back). This pattern shows up at the level of the waist over the spine, and may travel down your legs and feet. Lumbar pain tends to worsen at the end of the day, when lifting items or when sitting or standing for long periods of time.
The more common pattern is posterior pelvic pain which is felt lower on your body than lumbar pain. It is usually a deep pain in the buttocks, the back of the thighs or over the pubic bone. Posterior pelvic pain can intensify with walking, getting up from a chair, rolling over in bed, lifting, twisting or climbing stairs. Having a prior history of low back pain and doing strenuous physical work makes you more susceptible to posterior pelvic pain. Avoid doing work or activities that require you to lean forward when sitting if you experience this type of pain.
Is It Sciatica?
Possibly. True sciatica symptoms travel below the knee into the legs, feet and toes. A small percentage of pregnant women due experience sciatica. Patients with sciatica have leg pain and a sensation of pins and needles and tingling or numbness into the legs. In severe cases, pain in the genital area may also occur. Make sure you seek immediate help if you have muscle weakness in one or both legs or if you have decreased control of your bladder and bowels.
Chiropractic care is gentle, natural and effective during pregnancy.
There Is Hope
Although many pregnant women experience low back pain, only about a third mention it to their doctor and only about 25% of providers recommend treatment. Chiropractic care is gentle, natural and effective in managing low back pain in pregnant women. Research studies show that chiropractic care is effective for reducing pain intensity and that clinical improvement is possible.
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