Pregnancy causes rapid changes in the expectant mother’s body over a short period of time. Women can experience discomfort during pregnancy due to muscular, ligamentous, and biomechanical changes. Chiropractic treatment can provide tremendous relief during pregnancy as well as after birth.
Types of Discomfort Experienced During Pregnancy
An expectant mother can experience many types of discomfort during pregnancy. Common types of discomfort include lower back pain, sciatica, misaligned joints, increased weight gain, and a change in weight distribution.
Causes of Pregnancy Discomforts
As the mother progresses through pregnancy, her center of gravity will shift to the front of her pelvis. This shift can result in added stress and discomfort in the low back and various pelvic joints. Towards the end of pregnancy, the curve in the low back (lordotic curve) can increase to the point of causing serious impact on the vertebral joints, the sacrum and the hip joints.
As the center of gravity shifts, the spine can become compressed resulting in the nerves becoming irritated and causing pain radiating to other parts of the body. Sciatica is the pain radiating from the lower back all the way down the legs and is a common occurrence during pregnancy.
In addition to low back pain, the expectant mother’s body releases the hormone relaxin throughout pregnancy, which causes muscle and ligament relaxation. With increased relaxin, joints are more easily able to become misaligned.
There are many reasons for increased weight gain and changes in weight distribution during pregnancy, some related to the growth of the child. Some causes of weight gain can be, however, treated with chiropractic care. These include: increased demand and fatigue on spinal and pelvic muscles, increased stress on spinal and pelvic ligaments, and increase in lumbar and thoracic spinal curves.
Treatment of Pregnancy Discomforts
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is a gentle and effective way to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts. It is an integral part of prenatal and postpartum care and can help a mother feel good as she copes with a changing body.
Prenatal chiropractic care can include gentle spinal adjustive procedures specifically designed for pregnant women. These spinal adjustments can assist with maintaining a spine free from vertebral misalignments and fixations.
Therapeutic exercises and stretches can keep the spinal musculature strong. These exercises can enable the spinal muscles to maintain the spine and body in a neutral, correct posture.
Soft tissue work in the form of massage, trigger point work, and soft tissue mobilization can keep the muscles relaxed and flexible and reduce muscle aches and pains.
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