Mums To Be Clinic
Your first appointmentPregnancy is very hard work for the body and it is no surprise that more than 80% of all expectant mothers will suffer from lower back pain. This is especially so if they are older first time mothers or if they have suffered from previous back pain or other injury.
It is particularly hard for the spine and its supporting structures to make the necessary adaptations that will allow the body to accommodate its rapid shape change, although if unhindered it will do a remarkably efficient job. Relaxin is a hormone that is naturally secreted during pregnancy, and this allows the ligaments of the pelvis to soften in preparation for the forthcoming delivery. Relaxin, however, is not specific in its action, and as such, other connective tissues of the body also become highly flexible leading to muscle overuse, fatigue and soreness, as they attempt to stabilize these ‘looser’ joints. This can be particularly problematic in the spine, as the average woman will gain around two stone in extra weight during her pregnancy, sometimes placing an unmanageable load upon these structures with the result that she suffers from increasingly severe back pain. arrange for an appropriate referral.
A full obstetric and medical case history will be taken as part of the diagnostic process. This is an essential part of the process in which we gain most of our information relating to the patients presenting problem(s), their general health and previous history, but most importantly allows us to assess the expectant mother’s suitability for treatment, as although many patients are referred by the obstetrician or midwife, there are also many who are self-referred. The case history will include questions relating to history of any previous pregnancies, complications, interventions, miscarriage, as well as any current symptoms that may not have a musculoskeletal origin and would therefore need prompt referral to their doctor or midwife. An examination of the pregnant patient will be necessary from an osteopathic point of view, in order to determine just how well the tissues are coping with the increased demands of pregnancy, and will therefore assess general posture, including any twists or tilts of the spine or pelvis, leg length differences, and areas of increased muscle tightness and shortening. These findings can undermine the body’s ability to adapt to the major physical changes that the body will experience as pregnancy progresses and the pelvis tilts, the breasts and abdomen enlarge, and weight increases. Passive examination by your osteopath will aim to identify any areas that are felt to be stiffer or looser than normal and attempt to address these issues. Treatment is generally done with the patient sitting or lying on her side and has to be specific to the findings in each individual case. Most importantly it can offer a gentle, safe and effective, way of dealing with these common complaints, so that the body can efficiently do what it is designed to do, and mum-to-be can enjoy her pregnancy.
Treatment will depend on the findings and will often include soft tissue massage techniques and specific manipulation only to the joints or muscles that are causing the problem, along with manipulation of the spinal or pelvic joints if necessary. The short term aim of treatment is to help alleviate the painful symptoms and improve patient comfort and provide reassurance. Longer term aims of treatment are more global and may include techniques that are directed to the ribs and upper back, neck or head.
Common Complaints During Pregnancy
• PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) - pain, instability and limitation of function of any of the 3 pelvic joints (1. Symphysis Pubis or 2. Sacroiliac joints)
• 1. SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)- pain or discomfort in the joint at the front of the pelvis/groin.
• 2. SIJ (Sacroiliac Joint Pain)-presenting as pain in the lower back or buttocks.
• Sciatica & leg pain
• Rib and upper back pain leading to breathlessness & difficulty deep breathing
• Neck ache & headaches of a mechanical nature
Results from a survey carried out at the British School of Osteopathy Expectant Mothers Clinic found that the most common tissues causing symptoms were muscular, ligaments, and sacroiliac or facet joint pain, in that order. Previous injury was important as this placed even more demand on the body to help these compromised areas to adapt successfully to the pregnant posture.
Patients are encouraged to return at six weeks following the birth for a postnatal check up.
If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact Hertford Osteopaths for a chat.
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