Back pain during pregnancy is a very common occurrence and occurs in about 50-80% of all pregnant woman. Studies show that lower back pain in pregnancy usually occurs between the fifth and seventh month of being pregnant. However in some cases can occur as early as 8-12 weeks. Women who also experienced back pain before being pregnant are at higher risk of developing back pain during pregnancy.

There are two types of common back pain experienced during pregnancy, these include; Lumbar or lower back pain (causing sciatica) and Posterior pelvic pain

Lumber pain (Sciatica): Lumbar pain during pregnancy is generally located at and above the waist in the centre of the back. This lower back pain may or may not be concurrent with pain that radiates down the leg or foot. Sciatica in most cases is a sharp, shooting pain that starts in the back or buttocks and radiates down the back of the legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body and starts in the lower back and branches down the back of the legs, ankle and foot, hence the experience of pain in those areas is if the nerve is compressed by bulging disks, arthritis or narrowing of spinal cord.

Causes of sciatica during pregnancy:

  • Weight gain and increased fluid retention can put pressure on the sciatic nerve where it passes through the pelvis (causing compression).
  • Expanding of the uterus might also press down on the sciatic nerve at the lower area of the spine.
  • Growing belly and breasts shift the centre of gravity forward and stretch the lordotic curve. This can cause muscle in the glutes and pelvis area to tighten and compress the nerve.
  • During the final trimester, the baby can shift into proper birthing position, causing the head to directly rest on the nerve causing a major pain in the buttocks.

Treatments of sciatica:

Chiropractic care during pregnancy may have potential benefits such as relieving back, neck or joint pain.

In particular, many women find relieve from chiropractic treatments for their sciatica during pregnancy. Chiropractors specialise in treating nerve pain by providing motion to the affected joints, thus alleviating pressure on the nerve. This is done through adjustment and manual manipulation in an aim to better align the spinal column, which help address the underlying conditions which cause sciatic pain. The chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic are also trained in the use of dry needles which can be effective in relieving sciatic pain.

Other Advice to help back pain during pregnancy include;

  • A heat/ cold back can be pressed against the lower back to relieve pain
  • Rest and avoid heavy lifting
  • Lie on the unaffected side to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve 
  • Avoid sitting for long periods
  • Maintain an exercise programme , such pregnancy Pilates
  • Stretches
  • A pregnancy back brace or sacroiliac belt can help stabilise the back

Posterior pelvic pain: During pregnancy, many chiropractors have reported women are four times more likely to experience pain in the posterior pelvic region. It is pain felt near the sacroiliac joints of your pelvis (the two dimples of the lower back) as a result of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The pain often feels deep within your lower back and can occur on one or both sides of the back. In some cases the pain can radiate down the back on the legs. Pain may begin at any time during pregnancy but on average occurs around the 18th week and can become more intense as pregnancy progresses.

Cause during pregnancy:

  • Hormones released during pregnancy relax the ligaments of the body to allow pelvis to enlarge, in prep for childbirth.
  • As the female’s uterus grows during pregnancy, the core muscles around the pelvic get stretched and often weakened. 

Symptoms of posterior pelvic pain:

  • Deep pain in the back on the pelvis (Sacroiliac joints).
  • Pain may occasionally radiate to the groin and thighs.
  • Pain is typically worse when standing, walking, climbing stairs, weight bearing on one legs, getting in and out of a low chair, rolling over and twisting in bed.
  • If there is arthritis in the SI joints, stiffness and a burning sensation in the pelvis may be experienced. 

Treatments of PPP:

  • Specific exercises- prescribed by the chiropractor
  • Gentle mobilisation of hip, back or pelvis may be used to correct any underlying movement dysfunction.
  • Lying down- avoid lying on your back, preferable lie on your left side with a pillow between your knees and another under your belly.
  • Turning on the side- to turn to the right while lying on your back, arch the lower back, tighten pelvic floor muscles and lower abdominal muscles and bend both knees one by one. Turn head to the right and take left are over to the right side of the body (using edge of bed to assist if neede3d). 
  • Getting out of bed- knees bent up, move feet over edge of bed and push up with arms.
  • Standing up- shuffle to front of chair and lean forward slightly and push up with both arms. 

Dr Linda Schiller and  associates here at Lakeside Chiropractic in Joondalup offer a large variety of treatment options to assist you . Some of the methods employed include: Soft tissue therapy, dry needling, trigger point therapy, interferential, ultrasound, bracing, strapping, specific adjustments , advice on activities and appropriate movement, exercises to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and pelvic floor.  
Lakeside Chiropractic in Joondalup is located central to the northern suburbs of Perth, such as Kinross, Clarkson, Currambine, Connolly, Ocean Reef, Edgewater, Woodvale, and Whitfords, Mullaloo, Padbury, Wangara, Yanchep. There is easy accessible public transport with bus and train station just walking distance, and ample parking with easy access.

To book an appointment contact the clinic on 9300 0095, or book online at www.lakesidechiro.com.au

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