All Posts tagged Exercises for Pregnancy

Chiropractic & Pregnancy-Related Back Pain

Chiropractic & Pregnancy-Related Back Pain

The good news is your baby is growing. Back pain is a common complaint in pregnancy. In fact, approximately 50-70 percent of women experience back pain at some stage throughout their pregnancy. You are gaining weight, your center of gravity changes as your abdomen continues to grow and your hormones are relaxing the ligaments in your pelvic region. Often, however, you can prevent or ease pregnancy-related back pain with appropriate treatments. Chiropractic care has typically included the care of pregnant patients to provide a more comfortable pregnancy for both the mother and the baby. Chiropractors use non-drug, non-invasive approach to assess and treat disorders related to the spine, nervous system and joints of the extremities. Causes of back pain during pregnancy:
Pregnancy-related back pain typically occurs at the sacroiliac joints, where the pelvis meets the spine. Here is a list of potential causes of back pain during pregnancy:
Weight gain – During a healthy pregnancy, women typically gain approximately 25-35 pounds. This additional weight puts stress on to your back. This weight may also put pressure on the nerves in the pelvis and back.
Hormone changes – During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin allows ligaments in the pelvic region and the joints to relax and become looser in the preparation of the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to become loose, leading to instability and pain.
Postural changes – Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity. In fact, you may not even notice but your body begins to adjust your posture and the way you move. This may result in back pain or strain.
Stress – Emotional stress can cause muscle tension throughout the body particularly in the back region. You may find that you experience an increase amount of back pain during stressful periods of your pregnancy.
How do I treat pregnancy-related back pain?
From my experience, combinations of the following techniques work extremely well in easing pregnancy-related back pain. It may even prevent postpartum back pain.
Chiropractic adjustments – Regular chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial throughout the pregnancy. With proper patient positioning for comfort and relaxation, only gentile forces are needed to safely and successfully correct fixations in the spine and pelvis.
Improve your posture – Poor posture strains your back. Using proper postural techniques when working, sitting or sleeping is a smart move to a healthier lifestyle.
Exercises – Regular proper exercises can strengthen your muscles and ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming and etc.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture is form of Chinese therapy where thin needles are inserted into your skin at specific locations to stimulate energy flow. Many research studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving back pain during pregnancy.

I Am Pregnant With Back Pain: What helps? Try Core Stability Execises!

I Am Pregnant With Back Pain: What helps? Try Core Stability Execises!

Recently, the Ontario Chiropractic Association launched an excellent pamphlet on pregnancy and back pain.  Within this blog, I would like to summarize the information provided and hopefully enlighten those interested on how to assist in alleviating back pain while pregnant.

According to studies, about 90 percent of pregnant women will experienced lower back and/or pelvic pain related to their pregnancy.  This is a huge number!  There are various reasons for this back/pelvic pain.  First off, weight gain during pregnancy places additional stress on the joints in the body and thus causes a cascade of functional changes to muscles and ligaments.  Furthermore, as the baby grows, muscles (such as the abdominal and obliques) become stretched and may not be as efficient in providing stability to the pelvis and spine.  In order to prevent and help reduce this acquired stress on the joints of the lower back and lower limb, it is important for expectant mothers to perform simple core strengthening exercised.  By performing these exercises, expectant mothers will also be reducing the pain experienced in their lower back and pelvis region.  Also, the expectant mother will be much more prepared for the physical tasks (lifting, carrying, pushing, etc.) that will occur once baby is born.  In the next paragraphs, I will discuss the recommended exercises for expectant mothers.  Please ensure that before commencing any exercise program, you consult your health practitioner.

1) Abdominal Bracing

This exercise is very helpful.  By performing this exercise daily you will assist in keeping the muscles that hold the lower back (lumbar spine), fit and strong.  Start by laying on your back with your spine in a neutral position (neutral means not arching your back or changing the natural position of your back as it rests on the floor).  Next, concentrate on contracting your abdominal muscles without “sucking in” the muscles.  Tighten your abdominal muscles but DO NOT hollow the abdominal area.  You can perform this a couple of times per day.   Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for 1-3 sets.  Ultimately, this exercise will help to improve core stability  and protect the spine, thus decreasing painful spells.

2) Pelvic Tilt

This next exercise can be performed in various positions.  You can sit, stand, lay on your back or go on al fours….it is your choice.  Choose a comfortable position for you.  First, bring your pubic bone forward by tucking your buttocks in with a scooping motion.  Hold this for 2-3 seconds.  Rock the pelvis the opposite direction to arch the lower back and direct the buttocks out.  Try to maintain a continuous motion.  Repeat this exercise 3-10 times  for 3 sets.  Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

3) Arm Extension

For the next exercise, you will be required to kneel down onto your hands and knees.  Keep your spine neutral, similar to exercise number one.  Keep your core contracted (tightened)….don’t forget to breath!  Now, extend one arm out in front as much as you can – point your fingers outwards.  Make your arm parallel to the floor, while keeping your body stable.  Hold for 2-3 seconds.  Return to the starting position and then switch sides.

4) Leg Extension

Remaining on the floor on all fours, extend one leg behind you as much as you can.  Stretch your toes out.  Keep stable!  Hold for 2-3 seconds.  Return to starting position and switch sides.  Repeat this move 3-10 times and work up to 3 sets.  Furthermore, you should rest 30-60 second in between sets.

Maintain Good Posture During Pregnancy!

In order to maintain good posture during pregnancy, try to avoid slouching and rolling your shoulder forward.  Keep your shoulders “down and back” and your chin slightly tucked.

After the Baby Arrives

When carrying your child, hold them upright, close to your chest.  Sit in a chair with back support when feeding your baby and try to avoid leaning forward to reach your child’s mouth.  This avoids straining your back.  Safely lift your child – have your feet shoulder width apart, keeping your back completely straight and bend your knees.  Lift with both arms and your thigh muscles.

These are all excellent tips that expectant mothers should know.  There are excellent resources to explore. Thank you for reading this post.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The following information is my personal notes about this subject matter. It is intended for informational purposes only. Consult a health practitioner to help you diagnose and treat injuries of any kind.

Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., DC

Woodbridge Chiropractor