8 Reasons to Use a Chiropractor for Pregnancy Back Pain
I am the proud father of 4 beautiful children. This means that as a husband I survived 4 pregnancies. I know, that’s nothing compared to what you mothers have been through! Fortunately, my wife had good pregnancies with no major complications. However, even a “good” pregnancy comes with plenty of discomfort and sometimes even pregnancy back pain. A question I get a lot is, “Can I use a chiropractor for pregnancy back pain?” Ladies, heave a huge sigh of relief because the answer isn’t just “YES!” it is “you probably should!”. I have compiled a list of 8 reasons pregnant women should use a chiropractor for pregnancy back pain.
1. Pregnancy Back Pain Is Very Common
It’s estimated that 50-80% of women will experience pregnancy back pain. In fact, the problem is so common that this condition even has its own diagnosis code in the International Classification of Disease database. A good number of women will continue to have back pain after pregnancy as well. It’s a mistake to assume that your pregnancy back pain will simply disappear without a trace once your baby is delivered. Chiropractic adjustments are one of the best researched interventions for low back pain of any kind. In my own experience, it can often provide instant relief to many cases of pregnancy back pain.
2. Pregnancy Back Pain Cannot Be Easily Treated With Medications
Before you became pregnant you may have been using drugs like ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil, etc. to control pain symptoms. When you are experiencing pregnancy back pain you can’t use these drugs because of the risk to your baby. So, if your pain can’t be treated with drugs, then what are you expected to do when this problem will eventually settle in? Chiropractic adjustments and pregnancy massage can offer quick relief without risking your health or the health of your baby. Some of you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought that acetaminophen (Tylenol) was safe while I’m pregnant. Why wouldn’t I just take that for pregnancy back pain?”. While acetaminophen for pregnancy pain is less risky than ibuprofen or other drugs recent studies suggest that this may lead behavior disorders like ADHD and Hyper-Kinetic Disorder (HKD). Who wants to risk that when there are safe alternatives like chiropractic and pregnancy massage?
3. Pregnancy Back Pain Is Usually Related to Joints and Muscles
While there are many causes for back pain, pregnancy back pain usually originates from joints and muscles. This fact is a big relief to some expectant mothers. When you are pregnant, especially for the first time, every symptoms can be nerve racking. Does that sharp pain mean that something is wrong with the baby? Is that aching normal? The good news is that most pregnancy back pain is not that complicated. Often, it’s because of dysfunction of the spinal joints and the muscles that control posture.
4. Pregnant Women Naturally Have Loose Ligaments
During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin (no… I didn’t make that name up) is produced to loosen up the ligaments of the pelvis. This causes the pelvis to spread and widen. It should be obvious why this is a good thing. You’ve got to get that baby out somehow and a spreading pelvis is helpful. Unfortunately, relaxin is not very specific. It will cause looseness in all joints in the body. Loose ligaments lead to loose joints. Ligaments are supposed to limit the movement of joints and stabilize them. When they aren’t doing the job because they have been loosened by relaxin then the muscles that surround the joints become tight and spasm. Tense muscles can produce pregnancy back pain when their blood flow is constricted. The ligament looseness also makes sprains and dysfunction of joints more likely, leading to even more pregnancy back pain.
5. Pregnancy Back Pain Affects Your Baby
Pain is experienced in the nervous system. Mother and baby don’t share nervous systems and so you might think that back pain would not also affect the baby. This is true in the sense that the baby isn’t feeling pain but it does feel the effects of the stress that Mother’s pain is causing.
The placenta is a specialized organ that grows in the uterus with the baby. It acts as the liver, kidneys, and lungs of the fetus filtering nutrients and substances from the mothers blood to deliver to the baby. Some substances will cross the placenta while others won’t. Cortisol is the major hormone of stress and it is more abundant when a mother is under the stress of pain. This hormone can cross the placenta in some circumstances and have an effect on the developing baby. This may result in an underweight or premature baby or a child with some behavior problems.
This is why fixing pregnancy back pain is so critical. Using a chiropractor for pregnancy back pain is a safe, effective way to avoid discomfort and harm to your baby.
6. Chiropractic is a Proven Treatment for Pregnancy Back Pain
I already mentioned how well the effects of chiropractic adjustments have been documented in scientific literature. What does this literature say about using a chiropractor for pregnancy back pain? As you might guess from the heading on this section the results are good. Literature reviews have found chiropractic care delivered to pregnant women results in a high level of patient satisfaction. This means that if you have pregnancy back pain you don’t have to suffer while you are trying to walk, sleep or sit.
7. Chiropractic Adjustments Can Be Used Throughout Pregnancy
In most cases chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for pregnancy back pain from week 1 all the way through week 40 (and beyond if you’re overdue!). A good chiropractor will consult with your obstetrician to help manage your discomfort during pregnancy. In my experience most OB doctors are happy to have their patients work with a chiropractor because it gives the patient relief in situations where options are otherwise limited.
Unfortunately, there is no chiropractic adjustment that induces labor. Trust me, if there were I would be too busy adjusting women who are desperate to get that baby out to write an article like this. However, it’s still a great way to resolve pregnancy back pain up until the day of delivery.
8. Chiropractic Can Be Beneficial For More Than Just Pregnancy Back Pain
Many of the women I have treated for pregnancy back pain have continued to receive adjustments even after the pain is gone. Pregnancy brings many postural challenges as so much of the weight distribution is shifted to the front of the body. As the breasts and belly get larger and the abdominal muscles get stretched the muscles and structures on the back of body become more stressed. Chiropractic adjustments and pregnancy massage can do more than relieve pregnancy back pain; it can help you function your very best. I have some mothers who are even confident that chiropractic care helped their delivery go more smoothly.
In conclusion, if you are pregnant and having back pain the good news is that you don’t have to suffer any more. Chiropractic adjustments and treatments like pregnancy massage can offer you safe, comfortable and effective solutions. If you are in the Corvallis area I would love to help you have a fantastic pregnancy. You can visit the Body of Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center main page for more information about our clinic in Corvallis or just call 541-753-1287 for more information.