Chiropractic adjustments & pregnancy: why it can be beneficial
During pregnancy there are changes in posture due to her growing belly where the abdominal muscles are stretched. This places a lot of stress into the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. The average amount of weight gain during pregnancy is approximately thirty pounds. Usually as the pregnancy goes on, there is a pregnancy “penguin-like” waddle.
Physical changes are obviously visible but there are the hormonal changes which occur that you cannot see. There are hormones which increase at the end of the pregnancy which loosen up the joints in the pelvis which accommodate the uterus. The back and pelvic muscles have to work really hard to keep the spine upright and balanced.
Back pain can significantly be reduced by manual therapies including chiropractic care. The vertebrae(bones of the spine) encase the spinal cord and the proper movement of these bones can aid in the proper functioning of the nervous system. This is especially important during pregnancy as it can decrease pressure on the joints, muscles and nerves of the spine. It can help with posture and labour.
Chiropractic treatment can involve spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy and exercise to say the least. There are various ways to adjust the spine guarantee that a pregnant patient is comfortable and safe. Using pregnancy pillows for her growing belly and tables which have a pelvic piece which drop down are helpful. There are different techniques which the chiropractor can use to adjust the spine beyond the traditional manual type of adjusting; the Activator(the main technique I use with pregnant patients usually), Sacro Occipital Technique, and Webster to name a few.
Spinal areas that I will find that are commonly restricted during pregnancy are in the upper thoracic spine from the chest increasing in size, lower thoracic spine and lumbar spine due to the expanding abdomen, the sacrum, sacroiliac joints, and pubic bones which encase the uterus. Soft tissue trigger points are commonly found in the gluteus, piriformis, thoracic and lumbar paraspinals, rhomboids and upper trapezius muscles.
Chiropractic alongside other conservative treatments can aid in alleviating some of the pressures built up in the body during the process. It can work optimally with other types of treatment including physiotherapy and massage as well. Something to consider as pregnancy pre and post bring about a lot of changes to the body and should be addressed accordingly.
By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese (B.Sc., D.C.) Chiropractor
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