Pregnant women can safely receive chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractic treatments can promote a healthy, stress-free pregnancy by alleviating joint pain, muscle aches and nausea.
Chiropractors are trained to accommodate the special needs of pregnant women. Treatments are modified so that no pressure is applied to the abdomen. Some chiropractors receive specialized training to address specific conditions that can arise during pregnancy. Such a practitioner will have a special table that adjusts to accommodate the belly at all stages of pregnancy.
Misaligned joints may be caused by the massive changes that occur during a pregnancy. Weight gain, changes to the alignment of the pelvis, changes to posture, and increased curvature of the back all contribute to pain and discomfort. Chiropractic treatments can be especially effective in reducing the effects of these physical stresses on the body.
Chiropractic treatment can provide relief for other symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea and morning sickness. Stress to the uterus and its supporting ligaments may be reduced by means of a specialized technique in establishing balance in the pelvis.
Maintaining a healthy spinal alignment will assist the body in functioning more effectively during this significant time of change.
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Check out these articles on pregnancy and chiropractic for even more information!
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy but that doesn’t mean women should be forced to endure severe or even moderate musculoskeletal pain that’s negatively affecting their quality of life. As many as 48-71% of women experience persistent pelvic pain during and after pregnancy, also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). A new case study suggests that chiropractic can safely relieve pregnancy-related pelvic pain.
The study included case reports of two women, aged 35 and 32 years old, who began suffering from constant pelvic pain in their 30th week of pregnancy. One patient experienced back and pelvic pain that was so severe it was hard to walk, climb stairs, sit, get in and out of her car, or roll over in bed at night. The other women found it difficult to get dressed, turn, and stand on one leg.
Both patients received a multimodal chiropractic treatment that included soft tissue trigger point therapy, side-lying mobilizations of the sacroiliac joint, and instrument-assisted chiropractic adjustments. Patients were advised to practice home care that included wearing a supportive pelvic belt, staying active, ice, and performing targeted therapeutic exercises. The treatment significantly reduced pelvic pain for both women. One patient’s pelvic pain dissipated after delivery but the other patient began experiencing additional post-delivery pelvic pain. Her obstetrician attributed the increased pain to the use of forceps during the difficult delivery. The woman began receiving additional postpartum chiropractic treatment and performing new rehabilitative exercises. Within three visits to the chiropractor, the patient’s pain subsided and had not returned at the 2 month follow-up visit.
The authors concluded that for these two cases, “reassurance, symptomatic care of the related structures and advice for self-care improved both patients’ symptoms and their quality of life.” They wrote, “Pregnant patients require a gentle, drug-free alternative for treating their discomfort and chiropractic care offers a safe and effective treatment option.” Other studies have shown that chiropractic can also alleviate back and sacroiliac joint pain related to pregnancy.
Howell ER. Pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction management and postpartum rehabilitation:two case reports. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012; 56 (2):102-111.
Pregnant women who exercise are less likely to suffer from back pain compared to those who don’t, according to new research. A study Norway found that pregnant women who engaged in physical activity at least three times a week were less likely to report pelvic girdle pain, lower back pain, and depression. These results could indicate an association between exercising while pregnant and lower prevalence of these common health problems in pregnancy.
Exercise therapy is often recommended as a treatment option for pelvic pain, back pain, and other aches associated with pregnancy. However, little is known about how likely pregnant women are to follow the exercise therapy routine recommended by their doctor.
To understand the influence of exercise habits on pregnant women, researchers conducted a study on the exercise routines of 3482 pregnant participants. Data were collected by a questionnaire in pregnancy weeks 17-21, during week 32, and through an electronic journal kept after the birth.
Just 14.5% of respondents said that they followed the recommended exercise level (at least 3 times per week, exercising for 20 minutes at moderate intensity). A third of the participants reported exercising less than once a week mid-pregnancy. The authors concluded that few Norwegian women follow exercise guidelines in mid-pregnancy.
Women may be more motivated to stay active if they knew the benefits of physical activity for preventing muscoskeletal disorders in pregnancy. Previous studies have shown both exercise and chiropractic care to be effective natural approaches to pelvic and low-back pain during pregnancy. Many chiropractors provide their pregnant patients with exercise recommendations, utilizing both natural therapies to receive maximum benefit.
Gjestland K, Bø K, Mari Owe K, and Eberhard-Gran M.Do pregnant women follow exercise guidelines? Prevalence data among 3482 women, and prediction of low-back pain, pelvic girdle pain and depression. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2012; doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091344.
Many women experience lower back pain while pregnant. In fact, studies show that more than half of pregnant women report back pain at some point during their pregnancy.
A recent study found that for many women, pregnancy is the first time they have experienced back pain. The authors state,
“The incidence of low back pain with an onset during pregnancy has been reported to be 61%. It has been shown that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 75% reported no low back pain before pregnancy. In a study of women with chronic low back pain, up to 28% stated that their first episode of back pain occurred during a pregnancy.”
Chiropractic treatments may be beneficial for women who experience back pain during pregnancy. Researchers recently studied 17 pregnant women with lower back pain. The pain lasted an average of 21.7 days, and was rated an average of 5.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The pain began an average of 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy. Each participant underwent chiropractic treatments individualized to their reported symptoms. The authors found that:
- About half of the women referred themselves for treatment, while the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
- It took an average of 4.5 days for the women to achieve clinically significant pain relief. The range was 0 to 13 days following the first treatment session.
- An average of 1.8 treatments were needed to reach clinically significant pain relief.
- Average pain levels decreased from 5.9 to 1.5 at the conclusion of the study.
- Patients received 3 to 15 treatments, with an average of 5.6.
- One participant of the 17 women involved did not experience clinically significant pain reduction during the study.
- No patients reported adverse reactions.
Lower back pain during pregnancy can detrimentally impact women’s overall health. The study authors explain,
“In most instances, the average pain level is moderate, but severe pain has been reported in 15% of cases. Pain intensity often increases with duration and can result in significant disability. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 49% to 58% of women and impaired daily living by 57% in women with low back pain of pregnancy.”
However, many women do not report their back pain to their doctor, and it goes untreated. A previous study found that “just 32% of women reported their low back pain of pregnancy to their prenatal providers, and just 25% of these providers recommended a treatment.” Other research has found that “among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain.”
If you’re experiencing back pain as a pregnant woman, it’s important to know you don’t have to suffer through the pain. This research demonstrates that chiropractic care is an effective, safe way to reduce low-back pain during pregnancy.
Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2006;51:e7-e10.
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