Pain during pregnancy – Osteopathy help is at hand.

pain during pregnancy Health in Motion

Are you experiencing muscle or joint pain during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and experiencing muscle or joint pain in your back, pelvis and or hip joints, then help is at hand.   If you have muscle or joint pain during your pregnancy, you may book an appointment at our clinic at any point during your pregnancy.    This post covers how we determine that your pain originates from the muscles and joints and how osteopathy can help you with these symptoms during pregnancy.  Pain for any other reason during pregnancy is not expected and may need further investigation.

Is it normal to have pain during pregnancy?

Generally, it is expected that you may experience some discomfort during pregnancy as your body adapts to accommodate your growing baby.  The back will be pulled into a different shape; the bladder will become compressed, lung capacity will be reduced in the latter stages, and finding a comfortable sleeping position will become increasingly difficult.  Ankles and wrists may swell; gradually movement will become more awkward until after the baby is born.  This is what is expected and each woman will experience different levels of discomfort.  Pain during pregnancy is not expected and should be investigated further.

Osteopathy examination of pain during pregnancy

If you visit Health in Motion Osteopaths due to back, pelvic or hip pain, we will do a quick examination to determine that whether or not we can help you.  If we cannot,  we will advise you where to go.  The following are questions we will ask you during your examination.

Do you feel ill?

Illness may cause any of the following symptoms; fever, headache, sore throat, abdominal or pelvic bloating and tenderness; diarrhea; vomiting; unusual vaginal discharge any other change in bowel and bladder habits.  If you are getting any of these symptoms, with or without pain, then you should consult with your GP (or out of hours service) in the first instance.  If you have direct access to your Midwife service, then you could speak to them in the first instance.   If you have any severe symptoms, you should make a judgement of whether your condition warrants the help of the emergency services.  Because you are pregnant – it may be best to be over cautious if in doubt.

Have you had a traumatic incident?

This could include anything from a low impact trauma to heavy impact trauma.  In the case of heavy impact (fall down the stairs; road traffic incident; fall on the back or your bump) – seek help from the emergency services.  Once you have been checked out and it is determined that mother and baby are fine, you make seek help from an osteopath for any resolved pain resulting from traumatic injury

Low impact injury may occur from repeatative activities such as  excessive walking, excessive standing, housework, even excessive sitting.  During pregnancy, a low impact activity may cause you more pain than you might expect.   If this is the case, then this would be a good time to visit the osteopath for help.

Has your pain come on gradually or unexpectedly?

If you had a history of back pain that has been dormant for a while, Pregnancy might cause a flareup.  Is is able possible that you have never experienced any muscle or joint pain prior to pregnancy and go on to suffer disproportionally during pregnancy.

Does your pain seem to be in your muscles and/or your joints?

If your answer is yes to one or both of the last two questions, osteopathy is likely to be able to help you.  During your first consultation, we will examine you to determint that nothing more serious is causing your pain.   Once we are certain that your pain us due to excess strain of the muscles and or joints, we will continue with effective and gentle treatment to enable your pregnancy to continue more comfortably.

Osteopathy targets the causes of pain during pregnancy.

There are 3 main changes in the body that might cause you to experience muscular or skeletal pain during pregnancy

  1. The Ligaments are softening with the release of the Relaxin hormone.  In some women, this alone will cause pain, sometimes very early on in the pregnancy.  Some women already have soft joints before pregnancy and the release of Relaxin may cause joints – especially in the pelvis – to become painful.  Pelvic pain for this reason might be referred to as Symphysis Pubis Disorder (SPD).
  2. The shape of the body is changing. The ligaments in the back, rib cage and pelvis are taking advantage of the relaxin which enables the body to stretch and change shape to accommodate the growing baby.  This also causes weakness in certain points in the body, which means repetitive use of the body to carry out normal daily activities can cause irritation where they may not have done during pregnancy.  For example, the back may ache after sitting at a desk, when before it did not.
  3. The baby is growing and fluid is expanding in the body.  This expansion in the body can cause compression of nerves ( as in sciatica) and blood vessels (as in carpal tunnel syndrome)

The usual sites of muscle and joint pain during pregnancy

Low back pain during pregnancy

is a very common site of skeletal pain in pregnancy.  The normal inward curve of the lower back becomes gradually more exaggerated, causing increased tension in muscles and stain in the ligaments.  The increased tension and strain can trigger painful spasm in the muscles of the lower back, also causing you to feel stiff, especially in the morning.  Read more about Low back pain.

Symphysis Pubis and Pelvic Girdle pain during pregnancy

Women with Symphysis Pubis Disorder or Pelvic Girdle pain (PGP) can experience anything from mild symptoms in the later stages of pregnancy, to severe pain and impaired function relatively early in the pregnancy.  The NHS website estimates that 1 in 5 pregnant women will suffer from PGP.   The NHS website recommends physical therapy, such as osteopathy for example, for pain management.  Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the extent of ligament laxity involved, we have been able to make many women more comfortable during pregnancy.

Hip pain during pregnancy

Read more from us about Hip Pain

Neck and Shoulder pain during pregnancy

Read more from us about neck pain,

Ribcage and Chest pain during pregnancy

Read more from us about Ribcage / chest pain

Wrist and Hand pain during pregnancy

Read more from us about Wrist and Hand Pain

Ankle, Foot and Leg pain during pregnancy

Read more from us about Ankle and Foot Pain

How Osteopathy helps to relieve muscle and joint pain during pregnancy

When you come for treatment at Health in Motion Osteopath, you will experince a range of manuel therapy techneques,  selected by us to maximise comfort for you and your developing baby.  At your first appointment, our questions and examination will confirm your pain is muscular or skeletal pain, and not of another cause.  We will discuss our treatment approach for you and start your treatment.  Our techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother and baby is always our primary consideration.  We will also give you exercises to do, which are appropriate for your condition and your stage of pregnancy.

Benefits of the Osteopathic Treatments during pregnancy:

  • Gentle stretching and delicate movement of joints can be effective in relieving joint pain in the back, pelvis and hips.
  • Improving circulation and lymphatic drainage can help with painful wrists, ankles and legs.
  • Mobilisation techniques of the ribcage and upper back can help with diagphragm function and digestion (reduced heart burn).

Strategies to alleviate muscle and joint pain during pregnancy

If you a preparing to get pregnant, take action to gently strengthen and mobilise your body.  If you are already physically fit, just keep doing what you are doing.  If you are out of shape, commit to gentle regular exercise such as walking more during your commute to work; swimming;  or pilates.

During Pregnancy – continue gentle physical activity such as swimming, ante natal yoga, walking, pelvic floor exercises, breathing exercises.

Avoid strenuous activity such as lifting or moving heavy objects.  Your ligaments are vulnerable to over stretching and painful strain during pregnancy.

Sleep and sit on supportive furniture.  A soft mattress may not give you the support you need. Read more from us about mattress choices.

Related links

Osteopathy treatment for babies at Health in Motion Osteopaths

Osteopathy for Pregnancy and Post Natal care

Cranial Osteopathy