Things seem to go in waves and that is especially true for the questions we get asked here in the office. The popular question recently is, “do you treat (a lot of) pregnant women?” The answer to that question is a resounding yes! On top of the numerous pregnant mothers we have helped here, I regularly treated my own wife and her sisters when they were pregnant and experiencing back pain.
A startling 80% of women have back pain as a result of being pregnant. Pregnancy is also the highest predictor of future back pain, with 68% having pain sometime after giving birth. To add insult to injury, back pain has historically been considered “just a part of pregnancy” and largely ignored; telling expecting mothers that they will “just have to deal with it.”
The good news is it doesn’t have to be accepted that a mother will have to endure back pain during pregnancy. A lot can be done to prevent and fix pregnancy-associated pains. And, as an added benefit, chiropractic care is incredibly safe for both mama and baby.
For newly pregnant mothers, it’s good to come in for a preventative appointment. There are predictable changes that happen to the body and some key exercises can help the body handle the changes. The more time dedicated to the maintenance exercises in the beginning the better off the rest of the pregnancy.
Once a mother is in pain, she’s the same as any other injured patient we treat. We adapt all exercises to each individual’s needs and being pregnant is no different. We’ve had old men that couldn’t lay on their stomachs’ because it hurt too much and we have 38-week pregnant mothers that can’t lay on their stomachs either. This is one of the fun parts of the job. Figuring out how to help a patient that can’t do certain things or get into certain positions. Luckily, there’s always an answer to get the exercise we need to help each patient.
In our assessment of a patient, we are always looking for imbalances in the body. Pregnancy is the poster child of imbalance. The hip flexors shorten and the glutes lengthen. The mid-back rounds and stiffens. The mid-neck excessively extends while the lower neck moves too little. Overly tight muscles/joints cause other areas to move too much. Areas not properly stabilized cause other areas to stiffen in response.
Through the exam, we try to figure out which is driving what and attack the root cause with future changes in mind. We will find an exercise or two that helps with the pain and will bolster against future posture changes.
There is enough going on during and after pregnancy. Pain is something that can easily be remedied. Don’t let that be something you are dealing with. Get on our schedule and let us help you get back to enjoying your (future) family!