Women go through a 40-week process that challenges their body’s morphology. A pregnant woman will have a significant increase in hormones during the three trimesters that cause a predictable change in biomechanics. New health conditions amongst pregnant women that elicit pain, can occur due to the weight gain associated with bearing a child. The fantastic news is that because the change is predictable, we can treat accordingly in order to relieve symptoms and help make the delivery process easier.
In this small article, I will go through the major changes that happen to the spine and pelvis as well as what techniques help to relieve those symptoms.
Pregnant women gain the most weight around their “belly”, this is usually when things begin to change. The centre of gravity begins to shift forward to the front of their body. This means that in order to find balance the mother’s pelvis needs to shift forward and the lumbar spine (low back) curve begins to increase.
When reviewing the above diagram, you can see when you compare C and E pictures the woman at the later stage of pregnancy has an increase in her lumbar spine and a forward shift in her pelvis.
With this change, there is an associated muscle imbalance. This imbalance is the following:
Tight/Short: Lumbar Erectors and Hip Flexors.
Lengthened/Inhibited: Abdominals and Glutes.
This mechanical change puts an excessive load on her facet joints. These joints are small and guide the movement of the spine. With an excessive load on a consistent basis, the joints will begin to get irritated and cause pain.
This change in women is predictable by nature, which allows chiropractors to diagnose and treat successfully. Chiropractic can help relieve the symptoms of this biomechanical change with the following possible techniques:
Chiropractic Adjustments: The use of joint manipulation helps correct the pelvic joints change in position. There won’t be a complete shift back to neutral, but it will create movement and flush out any inflammation from the consistent joint irritation.
Soft Tissue Release: This technique will target the tight muscles that usually develop multiple trigger points in the muscle belly. These trigger points when pressed on will create pain/tenderness and will quickly subside once removed.
Corrective Exercises: Exercises will incorporate a combination of stretches and strengthening exercises to help reduce the intensity of the muscular imbalance and relieve the pressure on the joints.
This mechanical way of treating is one of the few successful conservative routes to take when treating pregnant women. It is important to note that nutrition is another important aspect of pregnancy that needs to be addressed and monitored throughout the forty weeks. Pregnancy is a wonderful process that women experience in order to bear their own children. It’s something that is a blessing to have but can come with associated discomfort. Why force yourself to take the pain when there is a step by step process to help relieve the symptoms?