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My wife had moderate to severe low back pain and sciatica (pain down the leg) during the pregnancy of our first child.  I treated her throughout her pregnancy and my wife says that she doesn't know what she would have done without chiropractic care.  She had a relatively smooth pregnancy otherwise.  I used a variety of technique s, but mainly for mobilization, increasing range of motion, and pain relief.  I've treated many pregnant women during their pregnancies before and since then successfully for pain during pregnancy.  Massage therapy is also very helpful.  A body pillow was also helpful to position herself and minimize uncomfortable positions. 

Pre-Natal Chiropractic

During Pregnancy, the average woman gains about 25 to 30 lbs. or more.  The added weight and rapid physical changes put stress on the body causing some discomfort.  It has been reported that 50% of moms-to-be-will experience lower back pain during pregnancy.  Due to the growing size of the baby, a woman's center of gravity shifts forward to the front of the pelvis.  To balance out this change, the curvature of the lower back is increased.  This places more stress on the joints and discs in the lower back area.  To help with these drastic changes, the female body produces extra hormones to loosen the ligaments around the pelvis, allowing for growth and more room.  However, all of these changes can cause unwanted permanent changes on one's posture, and can cause long term discomfort.  Chiropractic care allows your body to deal with and adapt to the changes better. 

Many women have found comfort and feel relief from chiropractic adjustments during their pregnancies.  Studies have shown that spinal adjustments pose no risk to mother or baby during this time, and serve as a natural substitute for over-the-counter painkillers and prescription drugs.  Chiropractic care can also be very beneficial AFTER childbirth.  Joint problems, muscle tension, and discomfort should be addressed within the first eight weeks after birth, as the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy will tighten back up again as the hormones change and stabilize again. 

Also the the American Pregnancy Association for information. 

During Pregnancy, Don't Forget Chiropractic

From www.ToYourHealth.com

The physiological and anatomical changes associated with pregnancy can contribute to any number of complications. Although most of these problems are mild, some carry significant health risk for the mother, child or both. Classic examples of potentially severe complications include high blood pressure, diabetes and anemia.

Musculoskeletal injuries may be another complication to consider, according to a study that analyzed the effect of gait alterations (basically, changes to walking patterns) during pregnancy. During the second half of their final trimester and again one year after birth, 15 women repeatedly walked 12 yards with reflective markers attached to their pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Video cameras were used as part of a motion analysis system to gather data.

Overall, gait was remarkably unchanged, although significant increases in hip and ankles parameters were observed. The authors speculate that during pregnancy, there may be an increased demand placed on hip and ankle muscles when walking, potentially increasing the risk for any number of musculoskeletal overuse injuries.

These findings emphasize the value of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries and ease the pain of injuries if and when they do occur.

Reference:

Foti T, Davids JR, Bagley A. A biomechanical analysis of gait during pregnancy. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, May 2000: Vol. 82, pp625-32.

Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy

from www.ToYourHealth.com

Ah, the indescribable joys of pregnancy. The anticipation of new life, the intimate, developing bond between mother and child ... and the back pain. More than 50% of women experience back pain during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, and frequently the pain can be excruciating and debilitating.

A Swedish study involving 258 pregnant women investigated whether water gymnastics could reduce the intensity of back pain and the number of days taken for sick leave. Women were divided equally into two groups: an exercise group that participated in water gymnastics (one hour of relaxation exercises, performed in a swimming pool and accompanied by music) during the second half of their pregnancy; and a control group that did not participate in water gymnastics.

Although back pain intensity increased during the course of pregnancy for both groups, the exercise group reported less pain compared with the control group. The total number of reported days on sick leave was also lower in the exercise group (982 days taken) compared with controls (1,484 days taken).

Many of the joys and frustrations of parenthood will last much longer than nine months, so prepare yourself. But back pain is one frustration that doesn't have to last. If youčre expecting a child and are experiencing back pain, talk to your doctor of chiropractic about making your pregnancy as pain-free as possible.

Reference:

Kihlstrand M, Stenman B, Nilsson S, et al. Water gymnastics reduced the intensity of back/low back pain in pregnant women. Acta Obstetrics Et Gynecologica Scandinavia, March 1999: Vol. 78, No. 3, pp180-85.

Massage to the Rescue

From www.ToYourHealth.com

By Elaine Stillerman, LMT

Oh, how exciting! You're pregnant!

But along with the eager anticipation that comes with waiting (for nearly 40 weeks) to meet your little bundle of joy, expectant mothers endure the common aches and pains associated with your growing baby and changing body.

One of the most pleasant and effective ways to reduce these minor discomforts is to get a professional prenatal massage from a certified prenatal massage practitioner. Prenatal massage has many benefits for you and your baby. First of all, massage reduces stress levels. Since very few women go through this major transition without some degree of stress and anxiety, a supportive massage is just what is needed to override the harmful effects of stress. Studies indicate your attitudes and stress levels have a direct consequence on your growing baby. When you are uptight, nervous and anxious, so is your baby. The opposite also is true: When you feel good, relaxed and confident about your pregnancy, your baby is happiest. These benefits continue even after your baby is born.

Pregnant Lady One of the most common complaints during pregnancy is backache. As your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity shifts forward and the muscles of your lower back compress. Your abdominal muscles weaken, stretch and separate in order to make room for the baby, but this also adds to your lower back discomfort. A professional massage practitioner knows exactly how to release those tight back muscles and advise you how to strengthen your abdominal muscles for increased lumbar support. (Hint: Crunches are the worst exercise you can do during your pregnancy and early postpartum recovery. Abdominal exercises that recruit your transverse abdominis - the deepest of the abdominal muscles - will stabilize your lower back and pelvis and will minimize the abdominal separation [diastasis recti] affecting nearly 90 percent of pregnant women.) Sciatic pain also can be relieved easily with appropriate massage and specific postural stretches.

You also might notice how achy, sore and swollen your legs and feet become, especially during your third trimester or in warm weather. Some of you might have difficulty fitting into your shoes. There is a specific massage technique called manual lymphatic drainage that eases the congestion in your legs and safely protects against dislodging any blood clots your body might produce. (As a protective mechanism during pregnancy and up to 10 weeks postpartum, your body produces more blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging during labor and early recovery. Most of these clots are found in the deeper vessels of your legs and calves. Therefore, deep strokes to your legs are not appropriate during this sensitive time.) A trained professional will understand this and use the light touch of manual lymphatic drainage to make your legs feel wonderful.

Baby While there are no statutes requiring additional education, it is strongly advised that you seek the help of someone who is trained and understands your dynamic anatomy and physiology, along with massage and bodywork techniques most appropriate for you during each trimester. To find a qualified practitioner, get a recommendation from your midwife, obstetrician or a friend of a professional who is certified in prenatal massage from an approved program. You also can go to the MotherMassage national registry for a practitioner near you.

Make sure the practitioner takes a complete medical history before the first massage and employs the essential pretreatment evaluations (for blood clots and pitting edema - a possible sign of pre-eclampsia) prior to each session. You want someone who understands the importance of using manual lymphatic drainage on your legs and can massage you in a variety of comfortable positions on the treatment table, or sitting if necessary.

Most of all, you want to find someone with whom you feel comfortable. It is an honor and a privilege to massage pregnant women and new mothers, and you want to share this journey to parenthood with the right partner.

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