Pregnancy can be one of the most magical times of a woman’s life. However, the added weight of a baby in the woman’s body can lead to severe lower back pain. As the baby grows, the pelvis shifts to prepare for labor, creating adaptations in the woman’s posture. Additionally, the protruding abdomen leads to an increase in the curve of the back and can create spinal misalignment. Many women also experience sciatica, pressure or constriction on the sciatic nerve that runs from the buttock down one leg.
Many women seek chiropractic care during pregnancy to help re-establish their spinal alignment and pelvic balance and alleviate prenatal physical pain. When the pelvis and spine are properly aligned, the baby has more room to grow and assume its proper delivery position which can help contribute to an easier, natural birth. If you are pregnant and are interested in seeking holistic chiropractic care during this special time, Dr. Eric Whitehouse is an experienced chiropractor who has served patients in the Westfield, NJ, community since 1990.
How Can Chiropractic Care Benefit Pregnancy?
Chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment modality that can help the woman maintain a healthier, less painful pregnancy by relieving pain in the back, neck, and joints. A pregnancy chiropractor focuses on gentle spinal adjustments which can facilitate a healthy engagement with the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Spinal adjustments can help the nerves emerging from the spinal cord to heal, which contributes to improvements in the functioning of the nervous system. Resultantly, many women experience a reduction in pregnancy nausea following chiropractic visits.
A pregnancy chiropractor also has the ability to help reposition the baby by aligning the pelvis and surrounding ligaments into the proper position, reducing intrauterine constraints on the baby. Chiropractic care can also address babies in breech position, helping the baby find its natural delivery position and giving the baby more space. Many women who seek care from a pregnancy chiropractor experience easier and shorter labor times, as the proper positioning of the pelvic region allows the baby to move more easily through the labor canal.
Dr. Whitehouse has received the Westfield, NJ, Top Chiropractor Award consecutively in 2020, 2021, and 2022. He has vast experience working with women during pregnancy and also treats women who are postpartum. Chiropractic care can also alleviate middle back and neck pain due to breastfeeding. While chiropractic care is safe in most circumstances, women who are experiencing preeclampsia or vaginal bleeding should consult with their obstetrician before seeing a chiropractor. Integrative and holistic chiropractic care can help make your pregnancy easier and more enjoyable. Make an appointment with Dr. Whitehouse today for a prenatal consultation. (908) 654-0500
Causes of Physical Pain During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women experience lower back pain due to the ways the body shifts and changes to prepare for the growing fetus and its delivery. The uterus expands during the second trimester and the pelvis begins to shift. The ligaments in the pelvis also soften to prepare for delivery as the body releases the hormone relaxing. This hormone softens all of the ligaments in the body during pregnancy, so other areas of the body can be affected by a lack of stability as well.
In addition, the curve in the lower back increases due to the expansion of the belly. This can cause women to tilt backward, putting more pressure on their back as they try to balance out the weight that's been added to their front midsection. This awkward posture can place a great deal of abnormal pressure on the low back, resulting in back and/or hip pain. Neck and upper back pain are common as well, as the muscles struggle to balance not only the extra weight of growing breasts but also the weight shifts produced by the altered back curvatures.
During pregnancy, many women experience sciatica—pain that can run from the buttock all the way down the leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It starts in the lower back and supplies sensory information as well as motor control to the back of the thigh, the lower part of the leg and sole of the foot. Changes during pregnancy can place direct and indirect pressure on the sciatic nerve: directly due to nerve compression of the low back, and indirectly from a tightening or spasming of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks, which can also constrict the sciatic nerve.