From Bedford Magazine Article:
By Doctor Mark G. Bodnar B.Sc., D.C.
It is estimated as many as 80% of women experience lower back pain during pregnancy. This causes a considerable problem. Due to risks to the unborn fetus, pregnant women do not have the option of using many medications that may help alleviate the pain. All too often the expectant mothers assume they have to endure the pain, restricting their activity level or resting in bed for extended periods.
This is unsuitable for a few reasons:
1. There is no need to "live with it" if the problem has a simple and safe solution.
2. Staying in bed has been proven to be counterproductive to resolving back pain. Bed rest results in decreased muscle strength that may lead in an increase in future episodes of back pain. Also, recovering from the birth process is easier when you are in better physical shape, therefore you should be active and exercising during pregnancy, not lying in bed.
Pain arises during pregnancy from different areas of your back. Altered posture due to increased weight and a forward shift of your center of gravity puts more stress on your lower back and increases the likelihood of low back pain. Often due to weight gain, pain or other factors pregnant woman cannot get as much exercise or activity as they should, further aggravating lower back pain.
Another factor is the hormone Relaxin that is produced during pregnancy. The purpose of relaxin is to help relax the pelvic ligaments and ease the passage of the baby through the birth canal. Unfortunately, this relaxation of the ligaments can actually aggravate back problems throughout pregnancy by making joints too mobile and increasing the risk of injury.
Combined, the additional weight, stress and the changes your body is experiencing with pregnancy can cause injury to different structures within your back and pelvis. Pain can originate from muscles, joints, supporting ligaments and nerves throughout the lower back and pelvis. Injuries to each one of these areas will give distinct pain patterns and require a specific treatment to resolve the causative factors.
You can take certain steps to minimize the risk of lower back pain during pregnancy or to help ease an existing lower back pain. Keep your whole body limber and active by maintaining a regular exercise program, this may include swimming, water aerobics, low impact aerobics or walking. Research has shown that it is not only safe to continue exercising throughout pregnancy, but that exercise is actually beneficial, increasing birth weights and accelerating post-partum recovery.
Ask your Chiropractor or medical doctor about exercises specific to your condition, as there may be specific exercises to help resolve your individual problems. You may even consider buying a home exercise video specifically designed for pregnancy. If you are currently suffering from lower back pain related to pregnancy or you want to prevent such a problem before it starts, you should consult your local Chiropractor. Treatment is directed at maintaining normal joint mobility in the pelvis and the lower back (plus any other affected areas) through gentle adjustments.
Bedford Chiropractic, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia, offers full-service consultations, diagnosis and treatment plans for a variety of workplace, repetitive and other injuries. We treat pain to the head, neck, jaw, arm, shoulders, upper body, chest, lower back, legs and feet. Contact us todayat 902 835-6865. We serve patients in the Halifax Regional Municipality, including Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville and surrounding areas.