After such a long harsh Canadian winter, signs of spring are finally all around us – green peeking through the grass, buds on the trees, and happy glowing pregnant moms to be! As a Webster trained chiropractor, I work with many pregnant women and often get asked questions about how to reduce the risk of back pain during pregnancy. Remaining active and healthy during and after pregnancy is one key way to keep your back aligned, and fortunately with High Park so close by, there are a number of community led groups who meet and exercise in the park.
The last trimester of pregnancy can be a very exciting and anxious time, and is unfortunately also when low back pain is most likely to make an appearance. It has been estimated that 50% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy, however only 21% seek consultations with their physician or chiropractor (1). Back pain during pregnancy arises from mechanical, hormonal, and circulatory changes in the body. As your body works to adjust to the changes in your mechanics and a shift in your centre of gravity, your muscles and ligaments can work overtime to keep everything moving in proper alignment.
With the hormone Relaxin increasing in the body, ligaments and joints have greater laxity, and as a result can become much more sensitive to strain and dysfunction. The most common region to feel pain is in the sacroiliac joint area of the pelvis, which can lead to low back pain, hip, buttock, and sciatic nerve pain. Misalignment of the joints of the pelvis can result in tighter surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles, and can also restrict your baby’s living quarters. There are things that you can do to manage your low back pain, for a more comfortable pregnancy, and gentle exercise is an important piece of the puzzle.
Chiropractors, particularly those of us who are trained in Webster Technique, can work alongside you to help you move with ease through all stages of pregnancy and post-partum. The Webster Technique, is a specific biomechanical analysis and chiropractic treatment protocol, which aims to assess the areas of dysfunction in your pelvis, with the goal of improving function, decreasing pain, and creating a more aligned and comfortable environment for the baby.
Chiropractic is safe and effective throughout pregnancy, and can bring some great relief from pain and discomfort. As health and wellness professionals, chiropractors can also recommend customized and safe exercises and help you return to normal biomechanics during and after pregnancy. Keeping your core strong will help support your spine at any stage in life, but most importantly during pregnancy. Your glute muscles also are important in keeping your pelvis stabilized and moving well. There are great benefits to participating in gentle exercise such as swimming, yoga, and other low-impact exercise. If you prefer the group atmosphere, consider one of the many awesome local groups out there, such as those on Meet-up! It’s important of course to discuss which options might work best for you with a healthcare provider.
Further reading: 1.Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007;6(2):70-74.