Pregnancy is definitely a time of transformation. Unfortunately, along with the excitement and anticipation of a new arrival, approximately 50% of pregnant women suffer from back pain. 

Where is the pain?

The most common sites are:

  1.   Lower back pain

  2.   Neck and Shoulder pain

  3.   Sacro-iliac joint and pubic pain

Why do the changes in her body cause back pain?

Understanding the normal musculoskeletal changes that occur during pregnancy is vital for targeting and treating the sites of pregnant women’s pain.

The pelvis consists of two iliac or 'hip' bones joined at the back to a wedge shaped bone, called the sacrum. The two `hip` bones are connected at the front by a firm joint called the pubic symphysis. The joints between the sacrum and the ‘hip’ bones at the back are called sacro-iliac joints. These joints are stabilised by a solid arrangement of ligaments which allows very little movement to occur.

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin prepares the pelvis for delivery of the child by loosening the strong ligaments that control the function of the sacroiliac joints.  These changes allow the joints to move more than usual and in some cases the ligaments can be strained and can send shooting pains into the buttocks or down the back of the legs.

The change in weight that occurs during pregnancy also causes the mother’s centre of gravity to move forward. As the abdominal muscles stretch with foetal growth, their ability to help stabilize the pelvis decreases. The burden shifts to the lower back muscles, which may become strained.

How can my Osteopath help?

Osteopaths understand that the structure of the body directly affects the functioning of the body. By appreciating how the structure of the body changes during pregnancy, your osteopath can aim to alleviate the pain as well as improving the function of muscles and joints in preparation for delivery. The gentle soft tissue and stretching techniques are carefully selected to minimise risk for mother and baby. 

Remember, whilst back pain is fairly common during pregnancy; it should definitely not be accepted as just part of the process. To help make your pregnancy as pleasant as possible and facilitate an easier delivery, back pain should always be addressed as quickly as possible and managed throughout your pregnancy.

For further information regarding pregnancy and related issues please contact us at Bulleen Osteopathy.