Back pain during pregnancy

May 18th, 2015 by Dr. Curtis Hall

If you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy and your doctor is not recommending pain medications, chiropractic may be able to help.

It has been reported that approximately 50% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy and 50% to 75% of women experience back pain during labor. However, only 21% of pregnant women with back pain seek consultation with their medical physicians. According to the 2005 Job Analysis of Chiropractic, surveyed chiropractors reported that they rarely treat pregnant women. However, of the pregnant population that the respondents did encounter in their practices, chiropractors reported that 72% were likely to have benefited from chiropractic care and were thus comanaged. In other research, a 2-part survey was mailed to 950 pregnant women and to 87 allopathic providers of prenatal health care. This survey reported that 31% of respondents used alternative therapies during pregnancy, and chiropractic was the third most common form of treatment sought (6%), behind massage (32%) and yoga (18%).

Causes of low back pain during pregnancy

Spinal dysfunction related to changing load distributions within the motion segments of the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints are a factor in back pain. Traction, pressure or stretch of the adnexa, parietal peritoneum, bladder, urethra, rectum, and pelvic structures can also cause referred pain and secondary muscle spasm. Although the female sacrum has enough depth to enable fetal carriage, the displaced weight gain of 25 to 35 lb greatly increases the stress to the sacroiliac joints. As the fetus develops during gestation, this weight is projected forward and the lumbar lordosis is increased, placing extra stress on the intervertebral disks and facet joints. Through compensation, the sagittal curvature of the remainder of the spinal column increases as well. The lumbar lordosis, designed to absorb some of the axial forces, loses integrity as a static support and may be a source of discogenic injury. In addition, the increase in circulating progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin throughout gestation, especially in the third trimester, brings about pelvic hypermobility and creates a decrease in spinal stabilization. Direct pressure of the fetus on the lumbosacral nerve roots may also be a cause of pain. 

Chiropractic may be able to help with back pain due to pregnancy. Call hall today to schedule a free examination and consultation.