When a woman’s body is nurturing the development of a new person, it understandably goes through a number of structural and chemical changes. Just about every part of the body may be affected—from the hair on the top of your head to the swelling in your ankles! The spine is no exception. As a pregnancy progresses, the extra weight that a woman carries in her belly can put stress on the vertebrae and lead to muscular and nervous system dysfunction, all of which may come with painful symptoms. Understanding what’s happening in the body can help you stay comfortable and find ways to relieve pain during your pregnancy.
To learn more about the effects of pregnancy on the spine and your musculoskeletal functioning, contact Keller TX chiropractor Dr. Cody Doyle. Call us at 817-767-5430 to make an appointment.
Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy
Most women gain about 20 pounds or more when pregnant, and most of it is concentrated in the belly. This increases lumbar lordosis (the arch of the lower back), which strains the vertebrae. This can cause constant lower back pain and muscle soreness. Another factor is the fact that pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments and joints to prepare the pelvis for delivery. This happens most significantly in the third trimester and can worsen any lower back pain a woman may be feeling.
If the pregnancy is not her first, an expectant mother might also be looking after an infant or toddler at the same time. This can mean carrying a child in her arms for several hours a day, bending over to pick up the child constantly, and all the other related activities that come with small children (e.g., picking up toys). These factors make back pain a real challenge for many expectant mothers.
Sciatica is another common back problem during pregnancy, though it may be felt primarily in the buttocks. This condition can feel like a shooting pain in the lowest part of the spine (tailbone), that radiates down one or both legs. Sciatica is an example of pain resulting from a compressed nerve, as the sciatic nerve is located in the lower back. It may become compressed by weight gain, stress on the lower back from your shifting center of gravity, or even the position of the baby in the womb. Luckily this type of nerve pain usually goes away after delivery and recovery, but that doesn’t make it any easier to endure.
Keeping Your Spine Happy in the Third Trimester
There are several ways that expectant mothers can try to prevent these painful symptoms.
- Go swimming when possible. The lower gravity environment in the water can take the pressure of your lower back and give your spine and ligaments a break. There’s no need to make it an intense lap-swimming workout; just walk around or let yourself float, and you’ll be doing your back a favor.
- Make sure you sleep in a position that supports proper spinal alignment. Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on the left side, but it’s perfectly fine to sleep on the right if you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain on the left.
- Use a body pillow or pregnancy pillow to support your back when sleeping.
- Avoid sciatic pain when sitting by using a special pillow that keeps weight of the tailbone.
- Avoid carrying heavy loads or bending over to pick things up in the third trimester.
How a Keller TX Chiropractor Can Help
Many women are unaware that chiropractic care is not only possible during pregnancy, but can be incredibly helpful at relieving pain. All chiropractors are trained in caring for expectant mothers, and adjustments may even help you achieve an easier birth through proper pelvic alignment. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Cody Doyle may recommend a combination of chiropractic, acupuncture, and or myofascial release therapy.
If you need a Keller TX chiropractor to help you cope with pregnancy-related back pain, contact our office to make an appointment. We are located on Byron Nelson Boulevard, directly across the street from Hawaiian Falls Water Park. Call us at 817-767-5430 to make an appointment.