What is a pregnancy low back pain?
Pregnancy lower back pain is when the low back starts to be uncomfortable as the fetus begins to grow larger. This is present in 40% of the pregnancy population. As this occurs the weight bearing in the body begins to shift and more stress is put into your spine. During the course of pregnancy this will cause extra discomfort in your low back as your body is carrying extra weight that it was not originally designed for.
It is also worthy to know that when pregnancy occurs, there are also plenty of hormonal changes. This leads to more laxity around the ligaments and joints. This is a normal process as the body is preparing itself to give birth. However, this can also lead to weaker joints as the ligament is more lax thus allowing more movement. This additional movement in the body can also cause more stress for the low back spine thus leading to low back soreness and tension.
Why does structural chiropractic work so well for pregnancy low back pain?
As we mentioned above, during pregnancy hormonal changes take place. This will affect the laxity of the ligaments. This results in joints being unstable. As a result, this may lead to structural shifts in the spine. As the structure of the spine becomes unstable, joints will become locked up leading to the stabilising muscles to gradually become weaker. This means that there will be less and less joint support. Structural chiropractic helps as it accurately locates where the misalignments and structural shifts are occurring. By restoring proper motion in the joints and structure in the spine, the joints stabilising muscles become stronger and provides the spine more stability. This results in more spinal stability and less discomfort in the low back.
So how does this all happen?
When your joints (any joint) are misaligned, they cannot move correctly. When a joint does not move correctly, the stabilising muscles that support that joint become lazy and weak and the nerve connection to those muscles diminish as it’s not getting used much.
It’s use it or lose it for the body, brain and nerve connections and just like having a cast on your arm or leg, without moving the joints for just 1-2 months you will see a huge reduction of muscle tone and strength and nerve connectivity.
More specific to the spine, without proper movement of the joints and strength of the muscles and ligaments of the spine, the spinal curves lose their most functional shape and instead of acting like springs to distribute everyday forces, all the forces go onto the bones and discs of the spine and cause degeneration, damage/injury and other dysfunctions to occur.
The deep stabilising muscles and their strength and activity are important as when they are not supporting a joint properly a whole host of problems can arise.
These muscles keep the joints in their proper position… so when they are weak:
- The joint is not getting any support.
- It’s not in it’s optimal position.
- Keeps locking up and lacks proper movement.
- The muscles keep getting weaker.
- The cycle keeps getting worse over time.
- Creates damage inside the bones, joints, discs and nerves
This weakness and instability within the deep stabilising muscles also creates tightness and stiffness in and around the bigger muscles around the body such as the neck (causing tension headaches), chest, shoulders, lower back, buttock and even arms and legs, creating a whole chain of improper movement and stress through the body.