Pregnancy is often an incredible experience that showcases the strength, beauty, and ability of a woman’s body. However, the nurturing of a new life does not come without physical changes that can be uncomfortable and downright unpleasant. Pregnancy related discomforts can be frustrating, as expecting moms are cautioned against taking over the counter pain relief medications. Both ibuprofen and aspirin have been deemed unsafe during pregnancy. Even acetaminophen, the historically safe go-to for pregnant women experiencing pain, has come under scrutiny for more than just its liver damaging properties; it has been linked to depletion of the natural detoxifying chemical glutathione, to disruption of hormones, and to negative effects on fetal brain development.
Common Pains of Pregnancy
With growing bellies and an influx of hormones, pregnant bodies can experience significant biomechanical and chemical changes that result in pain. From a new center of gravity to ligament laxity to postural and hormonally induced headaches, pregnancy results in a plethora of physical manifestations.
While the most common symptom reported during pregnancy is low back pain, with over one half of pregnant women experiencing significant low back pain, other frequently sited symptoms within the scope of chiropractic treatment include:
- Pelvic pain (both sacroiliac and pubic joint pain)
- Round ligament pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shoulder girdle pain
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Ribcage pain and expansion
What Can Expecting Moms do About Pregnancy Related Pain?
Within the last year, both the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Chiropractic and Manual Therapies journal have published quality studies that site chiropractic care as a clinically and statistically significant means to safely and effectively relieve pregnancy related low back pain. The latter of the two research articles reported that the outcomes linked to chiropractic care are long term, lasting effects.
Chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue manipulation help to reduce tension, realign the pelvis and spine, and restore balance to the rapidly changing pregnant body. Gentle cervical (neck) adjustments and/or CranioSacral Therapy can help to safely and effectively relieve headaches. Finally, prescribed homecare strengthening and stretching exercises can help to ensure long lasting effects and prevent future damage or injury.
Added Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
Not only does chiropractic care relieve pregnancy related pain, it has also been reported to reduce the pain and duration of labour while promoting uncomplicated deliveries. By improving the pelvic function and flexibility, the body is able to optimally prepare for delivery. First time mothers and multiparous women receiving chiropractic care throughout pregnancy experienced a 24% and 39% reduction in labour times, respectively. Furthermore, women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy are significantly less likely to experience back labour.
Webster Technique: A Chiropractic Technique for Pregnant Women
Dr. Sarah Visconti is trained and certified in Webster Technique, a chiropractic technique geared specifically toward the analysis and treatment of pregnant women. The goal of the Webster Technique is to optimize pelvic function through proper alignment and reduction of tension. Gentle releases are used to restore balance and stability, reducing an expecting mother’s pain, creating optimal space for the baby, and encouraging an uncomplicated labour and delivery.