More than 50% of women will experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. More than a third of women will rate their pain as severe. Low back pain may be a leading cause of sick leave during pregnancy and has also been reported as a factor for avoidance of future pregnancies. Fortunately, pregnancy related low back pain is treatable through conservative care options, like those provided in our office.

It is easy to understand how back pain may develop as a result of pregnancy. The natural weight gain during pregnancy will cause the spine to sway, create increased demand on back muscle and ligaments, and stress spinal disc and joints. The changes that occur to the body during pregnancy lead to many functional stressors which are not limited to weight gain. There will also be changes in gait that lead to stress on the low back, pelvis and hips. Another important factor that contributes to pain is the hormone-induced ligament laxity. This is a natural action that allows for delivery but it also creates a situation where there is less stability in the joints of the low back and pelvis.

What type of symptoms are common during pregnancy?

  • Low back pain
  • Buttock or hip pain
  • Sciatica
  • Mid back pain
  • Pain around the shoulder blades

Who is at risk for developing pain during pregnancy?

The extremes of activity seem to contribute to low back pain during pregnancy. Sedentary lifestyles increase the risk of developing low back pain. Unfortunately, regular exercise and physical activity typically decrease throughout pregnancy. Conversely, lifestyles and occupations that are “physically demanding” also carry an increased risk of developing pregnancy-related low back pain. Even athletes that continue to exercise during pregnancy suffer LBP at a rate of 44.2%. A history of lower back pain doubles the risk of developing pain during pregnancy. Additional risk factors include increased weight prior to pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, and depression in pregnancy.

Treatment during pregnancy

The goal of treatment is to restore normal joint mobility and reduce muscle tension. 90% of prenatal healthcare providers are willing to recommend non-pharmacologic treatment, including alternative therapies.

Treatments that we provide include: manual therapies, chiropractic adjustments, exercise recommendations, activity modifications.

Almost 75% of women undergoing chiropractic manipulation report significant pain reduction and clinically significant improvements in disability. Women who receive treatment during pregnancy will be less likely to experience pain postpartum.