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Back Pain in Pregnancy - treat with Spinal Touch
Comfort and relief from hip, pelvis and back pain when pregnantSpinal Touch is the perfect, reliable, safe treatment, for back pain, at any time during your pregnancy
What causes back pain in pregnancy?
The simple answer is distortion of your skeleton due to imbalances caused by shifting weight patterns. As you get bigger, the imbalance and distortion increase causing ligaments, muscles, discs and joint strain. Eventually, this hurts!
I've been a Spinal Touch practitioner for many years. The treatment is normally performed with the patient face down (prone) on a couch. Of course, this is impossible when you are pregnant and so I have created a new form of Spinal Touch, which can be performed with you lying on your side. This treatment is equally as effective as normal Spinal Touch, and has the added benefit that it is comfortable for the patient and the baby. The number of pregnant patients coming to The Haven Healing Centre for treatment is increasing all the time, mainly, I think, because of the mums talking in the communal areas of our local maternity hospital. But I guess that's a great place to get a referral right?
Back pain is common in pregnancy. So common, that around 75% of pregnant women will suffer with back pain during their pregnancy. Whether this is directly due to the state of pregnancy, no-one seems to want to commit themselves to say. And of course, it is true, that many of these women would have back pain whether they were pregnant or not. But I have a theory.........
Back pain in pregnancy seems to be primarily located in the lumbar area, or the middle thoracic area, for most ladies. When your pelvis is in its normal position, without the stress and strain of your growing bump, the pelvis creates a platform for the intestines, organs and stomach, and this means any strain impacting on your lumbar spine and muscles is comparitively small. During pregnancy, you are carrying extra weight, extra volume, and extra fluid. All this weighs more than you are used to carrying around and so causes a degree of imbalance, muscle exhaustion, and a loss of centering. Coupled with that, you have a chemical called relaxin floating around your body which loosens joints and softens tissue. Given that you need to have a stronger structure to counteract the increased load, your body actually does the opposite, by relaxing the body to make room for the baby and prepare the body skeleton for the birth process.
As you get bigger and bigger, the issue is in the tissue, and as your belly moves forward, it also pushes the pelvis down at the front. While the back muscles are short and secured to a strong bony framework, the abdominal muscles are long and flat, with strong fascial attachments, but without a supporting bony framework. These muscles are designed to 'give' and so your belly moves forward, pushing out over the edge of the sturdy pelvic foundation and creating a downward force that is 'off balance'. The result of this is an increase in lumbar curve and tension in the lower spine. You can resist this for a while, because your back muscles can tense enough to haul you back, but they eventually suffer from stress, tension, swelling and exhaustion. Stressed muscles become strained. Stressed ligaments become sprained. All of this hurts and to top it off, the tense muscles also lack oxygen because of reduced circulation, and this causes pain from oxygen starvation.
Will Spinal Touch harm my baby?
No, never! Spinal Touch DOES NOT contain the shoving, banging, thrusting and twisting of some other therapies. It is probably the MOST GENTLE, SOFTEST, LIGHTEST TOUCH therapy there is, and yet it is a powerful technique that allows for effective postural correction and alignment. The mechanics of the lower back are inseparable from that of the overall posture, and therefore a treatment involves examination of alignment of the body and tests for muscle strength and length. The reason this is essential is because although symptoms and faults often appear in the same area, often there is a referral aspect from another part of the body.
The human body is a master of making compensatory movements and changes. This delays the onset of posture induced problems. So an ankle sprain, leads to a locking down of the ankle joint, which means when you walk you send shockwaves to the knee, which alters your gait, which impacts on the pelvis because one leg lengthens to compensate, and then the pelvis is straining against your sacrum which distorts L1 and 2, which gives you back pain. Which do you treat? The ankle, the knee, the leg, the hip, the spine, or the painful muscles?
Why do some women with back pain get better when they become pregnant?
For the same reason their blood pressure goes down, their eyesight improves, the cognitive function improves, they feel fitter, more alive, and they heal faster than ever before. Your body gears itself up to create another life. A baby doesn't just appear out of nothing. It grows by taking from you, the mother, everything it needs, and at your expense. But your body has a powerful arsenal to help you. Firstly, the hormones that your body secretes allows for more efficient cell production and replacement. You generally eat more, thus giving you the raw material to make a new person. Your body is better able to assimilate the oxygen you breathe in. You can't grow new cells and give them life without oxygen, so your lungs become a super oxygen capturing factory. Given that your brain takes 30%, and your eyes take 15%, this leaves only 55% of the oxygen you breathe in for cell production, renewal and organ function. But that's fine, because you've become so good at producing oxygen and processing nutrients, your baby gets all it needs. What's left over is yours. Now you see why things start to work better when you're pregnant? Actually, they are an aside that you benefit from. This is done to preserve the species, not for the mother at all. But take what you can get, because things like eyesight improvement can last for several years afterwards. (Sorry, I digress...)
What are the types of back pain in pregnancy?
Well, there are two types. Back pain proper is caused by all the same conditions that can affect you when you are not pregnant. Such as, underlying faulty mechanics of the feet, legs, pelvis or spine. Ligaments, muscles, discs and joints are affected by strain, poor posture, bad lifting techniques and lack of sleep. Other triggers may be abdominal, or pelvic (core) muscle weakness or strain, surgery or obesity.
The second type of back pain is limited to pregnancy, and these are called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD). While there is much debate as to what causes PGP and SPD, I am finding there is a viable solution in Spinal Touch Therapy and Bio Stress Release (some call this OrthoBionomy, Positional Release, Strain Counter Strain, which all seem to follow a similar pattern), because normal back treatments need to be well modified to deal with this problem effectively. By combining these therapies I have been able to show that a great deal of relief can be gained from Pelvic Girdle Pain and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, by correcting the distortions that seem to play a large part in their progression.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction(SPD) is pain in the pelvic joint at the pubis which can radiate around the front of the lower tummy down to the groin and top of the legs. The condition causes excessive movement of the symphysis pubis. This joint laxity is not confined to the pubis and Pelvic Girdle Pain seems to be more associated with the lower back around the sacro-iliac joint which then extends down and throughout the pelvic area. Other conditions that may come under the PGP category include lumbosacral strain, sacroiliac strain and perhaps, facet slipping and coccyalgia.
What about the dreaded sciatica?
Sciatica is not normally a big problem in pregnancy and the numbers presenting are small, though, women that get it will tell you different. Those that do often think the baby is the cause and is sitting on the nerve. But this is not the case. Distortion in the lumbar spine, strain around the sacrum, and bad sitting, lying or standing posture, cause inflammation or pressure to affect the nerve, and this can cause pain in the back, the gluteal (buttock) muscles, down the legs, to the ankles. An improvement in postural alignment usually alleviates the pressure on the nerve, the inflammation recedes, as does the pain.
Do I have to do exercises?
Ummm, yes... sorry! We can all use more fitness, and regular, fun, light exercises, will increase your aerobic ability and give your whole body more oxygen to keep you and your baby happy, healthy, and fit. These exercises are simple and easy to do. They do not include weight lifting, running, rowing, cycling or any of the other extreme exercise regimes that are going through your mind right now! :-)
Back pain is very common in pregnancy and can increase in severity with each new pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones (such as relaxin) relax your joints, ligaments and muscles, which can cause a degree of instability quite early on. This may seem like a backward step for your body to do something seemingly destructive, but it is important for your body to make room for the growing payload and subsequent delivery. It cannot do this in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy. The body takes time to adjust, needs time to make changes in a non-destructive way, because it needs to do this in a way that can be reversed. Your increasing weight will add to the problem, especially as it feels natural to want to push your bump forwards, which causes greater down force at the ASIS and pubis, which puts greater strain on your back.
I was once asked why women can't have hips like a snakes jaw. When it wants to swallow something bigger than itself, the snake jaw seperates to allow the prey to pass into the digestive tract, and then it re-hinges again. Job done! But the snake jaw is weak. Your pelvis is immensely strong and can withstand the distortion of a flexing, twisting, overbalancing upper torso that is top heavy and getting bigger by the day.
What can I do to get help with this problem?
I've heard of many self-help suggestions and remedies that are supposed to help with back pain in pregnancy. Such as, exercise, massage, aromatherapy, homeopathy, herbal remedies, alexander technique, reflexology, osteopathy and chiropractic. But I have to say, not one of these is anywhere near as good as SPINAL TOUCH when it comes to easing back pain in the kindest, gentlest way possible, to both mum and baby.
My message to you is simple. Don't just sit there, lie there, stand there in pain, thinking it will get better by tomorrow. It probably won't! Even if everyone around you is advising you to throw tablets at it, remember they don't realize that the chemicals will mix with your baby's blood supply, as well as yours. So I know that your instinct is to stay off the medication. Allow your instinct to lead you toward the physical approach. Back pain, sciatica and leg pain are linked to depression and anxiety in pregnancy. The relaxation induced postural alignment afforded by Spinal Touch therapy, will also help with the stress and anxiety of pregnancy, and therefore any associated depression. If this idea resonates with you, I invite you to visit The Haven Healing Centre in Blagdon for a course of treatment. Appointments and a treatment price list are available by clicking here. I look forward to welcoming you soon. Phil.
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Note: DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
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