Low back pain and pelvic girdle pain are some of the most common complaints during pregnancy. Some studies show that these conditions affect 50% of expecting mothers. In the postpartum period, it is shown that about one and five women will continue to experience low back pain and pelvic girdle pain. This can last for up to three years following the birth of their child.
Usually, there isn’t a singular reason why pregnant women develop these two conditions. There can be a few contributing factors like maternal weight gain, spinal biomechanical pregnancy related changes, and abdominal muscle changes from accommodations to grow the fetus. The body begins circulating a hormone during pregnancy called relaxing which relaxes the joints and ligaments to prepare for labor and delivery. This could be associated with an elevated risk for the conditions.
Pregnancy related low back pain and pelvic girdle pain are quite common, but there is not a lot of information published on effective treatment options for the two. There are a few controlled trials with respect to the use of chiropractic care, but most published studies involve small trials and case studies.
A review done in 2016 looked at 10 studies with a total of around 1,000 pregnant women, and reported that chiropractic care can be effective for reducing pain in women with the two conditions. Authors recommended additional studies with larger populations involved.
Doctors of chiropractic will usually use a multi modal approach to manage the pain that expecting moms experience. This includes a combination of manual therapies, massage, stretch/muscle release techniques, and exercise training. Some treatment plans may even include diet and nutritional counseling, and the use of stabilizing belts. The chiropractor may modify the patient positioning during adjustments to accommodate for the growing fetus, and so that the patient can lay comfortably. Low force adjusting techniques may be used instead of high velocity adjustments.