Most pregnant women generally agree on one point — that back pain is definitely a health concern at some point during their pregnancy.
In fact, it is estimated that 50 to 80 percent of all pregnant women experience anything from mild to acute pain that interferes with normal daily living. It usually begins around the 5th to 7th month of pregnancy, but may begin earlier, particularly if a woman was prone to back pain before she became pregnant.
Back pain may cause a pregnant woman to experience lost or interrupted sleep, significant time off from work, an inability to engage in normal activities or even confinement to complete bed rest.
Many times, traditional health care providers counter back pain complaints with the comment — "Well that certainly is normal" — offering few solutions and very little compassion.
What can you do to alleviate back pain during pregnancy?
- Watch your weight gain — 25-35 pounds (10-15 kg) is considered fairly normal for a normal pregnancy.
- Exercise to strengthen the muscles in your neck, back and abdomen. Try yoga or Pilates.
- Rest as often as possible; use a body pregnancy pillow to help with additional support.
- If you sit at a desk job, practice good posture and use a footstool.
- Most importantly, get adjusted regularly!
Many women, particularly those who suffer from sciatica, find they receive the greatest relief from regular chiropractic adjustments. A Swedish study found that spinal adjustments, particularly of the sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine, offered significant long-term pain relief in 70 percent of those studied and short-term relief (several days) in the other 30 percent.
Chiropractic adjustments are a safe addition to regular pre-natal care and many chiropractors have special tables to accommodate the needs of their pregnant patients.
Dr. Steven L. Levy is a chiropractor in Woodbury.