Pregnancy is a time when your body changes – a lot.
Here, we’re going to outline some of the biomechanical problems we see ladies with in the clinic, and how osteopathy can help.
We’ve had previous blog posts on sciatica and lower back pain, but for pregnant ladies, who may be reluctant to take painkillers, these can cause real problems. As your tummy grows, it drags your centre of gravity forward, putting more pressure through the rear part of your spinal column.
Muscle tightness and inflammation cause back pain, but can be soothed with some gentle soft tissue release and articulation from the right practitioner. Seeing an Osteopath in pregnancy is a good idea, as their high level of training, and status as an Allied Health Professional assures ladies they are in safe hands.
Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your altered mechanics from gaining weight only on the front of your body will also affect your upper body posture. Pulling forward can exaggerate the curve of the neck, or further round the shoulders, causing pain.
Pregnancy also causes ladies to retain more water than normal. This can highlight areas of the body where space is tight – such as the carpal tunnel between the wrist and the palm of the hand. With more water in this space, ladies may get interference with the nerves passing through the tunnel and into the hand, causing pain, weakness and pins and needles.
A gentle neck, arm and upper body massage from your Osteopath can help fluids to drain from your extremities.
SPD – Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
There are a lot of hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy – but one you may notice is the presence of the hormone Relaxin. This hormone helps to soften the pelvic ligaments, ready to make way for the baby’s head passing through. As the joints of the pelvis become more supple, ladies may feel instability, or the sensation of their pelvis opening too wide or giving way.
Once ladies are at this point, they can also experience muscle pain, from their hip flexors, gluteal muscles and inner thighs gripping – trying to gain control over the perceived instability pelvis.
The best way to get around this problem is with a pre-emptive strike of strengthening exercises, early on in your pregnancy. Your osteopath can guide you through some pregnancy-safe exercises to keep your muscles strong through gestation, delivery, and in to parenthood.