If you have been following my pregnant updates on my YouTube channel you will know that I have been struggling with back pain and discomfort in my bump for about 10 weeks now. I have sciatica running down my left leg which comes and goes, and a tightness across the top of my bump that makes me really uncomfortable most days.
I had some back pain in my pregnancy with Piglet, but as I wasn’t working and had no other children at the time it was easier to rest when I needed it. Piglet is constantly on the go, which means this time around I am too! The pain is worse the more I am on the move, and so I knew I was going to have to do something about it this time.
My sister is pregnant with her 3rd baby at the moment. She has had back pain throughout all her pregnancies, but it has been more bearable this time around. She swears this is down to numerous appointments with a chiropractor. She badgered me to go for a while, and when they gave her a discount voucher to give me I had run out of excuses – I booked an appointment!
I think many people have misconceptions about chiropractors, but it is completely safe to visit a chiropractor while pregnant. As your body releases relaxin, your joints change across your body. That, combined with the change in your centre of gravity as your bump grows, can account for a lot of the back or pelvic pain many women experience in pregnancy.
My first appointment was earlier this week. It was a long session, around 45 minutes, which started with an assessment as to whether I was suitable for treatment. I started by completing a questionnaire which had the usual medical history on it, and then discussed it with the chiropractor. He had a feel of my neck and shoulders, assessed how much flexibility there was and movement in that area and then felt down my spine.
When looking at my bump we discovered I have some numbness in the top of it. I was able to feel sharp items on it, but anything that wasn’t particularly pointy I couldn’t feel at all.
After the assessment the chiropractor explained what he had found, and what he could do to help with it. It appears that I hold a lot of tension in my upper body, and that is the area I am using to keep myself stable as my bump grows. There were a number of knots towards the top of my spine, and some tightness around my diaphragm.
Although I don’t have any particular pelvic pain, he did find that it was slightly misaligned. That is extremely common in pregnancy and is a relatively easy one to fix. He also was able to locate the points on hip and bum that were triggering the sciatic pain.
Treatment for pregnant women at the chiropractor is less intense than for other people. Manipulation of the upper back is completely safe, and work on the pelvis is done in a gentler way than for those who are not pregnant.
A cushion was used to make it possible for me to lie on my stomach while my back was being treated. It’s not a position I have been in for quite a long time so it was actually quite nice to lie like that for a while! Some of the manipulation was uncomfortable, but none of it was particularly painful. Using certain trigger points on my neck he was able to give me a headache, then manipulate them out.
After the treatment I had full sensation in my bump again. The tightness in my upper body was much better and overall I felt a bit better. Chiropractic treatment doesn’t always give immediate results and it can sometimes be a day or two before you feel the full benefits.
In addition to the hands on treatment I was given some exercises to do at home to help keep the pain at bay and try to prevent the tightness returning to the same extent. He also recommended looking up some pregnancy yoga videos online to try and keep things supple, as well as sitting on a yoga ball to keep things aligned in my pelvis.
I have decided to go back for a follow up appointment next week. It will be interesting to see how much of the tightness has returned, if any, in that time. After that I plan to just play it by ear. Based on the one appointment so far I wouldn’t be adverse to further treatment in a month or so’s time, by which point I will be bigger and have had more changes.
I’d love to hear about other peoples experiences with visiting a chiropractor while pregnant. Please leave them in the comments below so others can judge whether they think it would be beneficial for them to book an appointment.
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