It is a familiar sight to see a pregnant woman here at Oahu Spine & Rehab.
We all know that low back pain is common during pregnancy, but do you know why? Or do you know what to do if the aches of pregnancy start to affect you?
The bad news is that low back pain occurs in almost 60% of pregnancies. The great news is that you don’t have to just suck it up and deal with it for 9+ months. We will review some of the common causes of low back pain and then show you how Oahu Spine & Rehab can get you back on your feet.
Main Causes of Low Back Pain during Pregnancy
Changes in your structure and balance:
As you (and your baby) grow, the weight of the uterus causes the pelvis to rotate and spill forward. This small change causes huge effects on the curve of the lumbar spine and also stretches out the abdominal muscles to the point of separation. To make up for the change in lumbar curve the upper body will lean backwards and the head and neck will shoot forward. All of these changes create a bigger strain on the muscles of the back causing fatigue, tension, and trigger points.
While pregnant, your balance begins to shift and many women broaden their stance and begin the famous “pregnancy waddle”. This body position takes the knee and foot out of alignment with the hip and puts more strain on the piriformis. Myofascial trigger points may develop to create referral symptoms in the buttocks, low back, and down the leg.
Recommended weight gain of 25-35 pounds
- Added stress to all weight-bearing joints and associated musculature and ligaments
- Ligaments of the pelvis become compressed, strained, hypermobile or hypomobile, and very painful often referring pain to the lumbar, buttocks, and down the leg.
- Severe compression of the lumbosacral joint can lead to impingement of the nerve root causing a constant, one-sided pain worsened with movement.
- The hormone relaxin
It allows the pelvis to open up during delivery, but has some unappealing side effects before then. It loosens the ligaments and fascia in all joint structures and creates strain and instability. This can be felt especially in the lumbar and pelvic areas.
- Evaluation with the medical team to get a better idea of what is causing the pain and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
- Chiropractic adjustments to help maintain spinal alignment and take any pressure off compressed nerves.
- Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen muscles of the abdominal, lumbar, and hip regions to help alleviate strain on the fatigued muscles and joints.
- Therapeutic modalities to alleviate pain, increase circulation, and strengthen ligaments.
- Manual therapy to decrease tension and fatigue in strained muscles. Also used to release Myofascial trigger points that may be referring pain to the lumbar area.
There are a lot of changes happening in the body of a pregnant woman, but we don’t have to just stand by and let the pain take over. At Oahu Spine and Rehab we believe taking an integrated approach will help alleviate low back pain during pregnancy and aide in recovery postpartum.
Osborne, C. (2011). Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Prenatal, Labor, and Postpartum Practice (2nd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.