18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway - Lutz, FL 33548 - Telephone: 813-968-9411 - Fax: 813-963-2407


Dr. Mike Radice

Pregnancy and Back Pain

When a family finds out they are going to have a baby, a thousand and one things run through everyone’s mind.  First child, third child or whatever the circumstance, the initial overriding question seems to be “What does the next forty weeks have in store?”  This wonderful miracle is full of joy and wonder to be certain.  However, any pregnancy definitely raises some challenges regarding a mother’s healthy lifestyle.  Back pain has been consistently ranked as the number one battle for expectant mothers in studies.  Wrists, feet, and ankles all can be affected by the physiological changes going on during pregnancy.  As well, metabolic, vascular, sleep and energy level changes all can add to the difficulties mothers-to-be face daily.  

Structurally, there are a few factors at work.  First, a hormonal change – an increase in the hormone relaxin, acts to loosen ligaments in the body (especially the hips) in order to increase the capacity of the pelvis as the pregnancy advances.  This hormone affects many of the important ligaments and structures throughout the body, including the sheaths supporting the carpal bones in the hands and the tarsal bones in the ankles.  This loss of support and laxity create unwanted movement within those joints and can cause pain and swelling.  Also, with the benefits of the pelvis being able to accommodate the advancing pregnancy, comes the possibility of a condition called sacroiliac (or SI) joint dysfunction.  As the body fights to balance the need for flexibility and structural strength, significant low back pain often ensues.

A second and more obvious factor is simply the added weight associated with pregnancy and where it’s distributed.  Structurally, the additional load placed on the entire skeleton, but especially the spine and pelvis, further creates significant challenges on an expectant mother and her pain levels.  Proper support is key and positive factors to deal with this challenge include:  proper rest and “getting off your feet”, external supports (i.e. “pregnancy belts”), proper fitness levels – before and during pregnancies, and proper skeletal alignment (Chiropractic! Yay!). 

Pain during pregnancy is further complicated by not only the above factors, but also the restriction of many pain remedies such as most pain relievers and prescription muscle relaxers as well as many types of physical therapy.  Helping yourself naturally becomes even more important during a pregnancy and Chiropractic care, massage, yoga, Pilates, and even meditative techniques can all benefit mothers greatly.  Seeing expectant mothers in my office as patients gives me great pleasure in knowing that we’re helping her optimize her pregnancy experience and are having a positive influence on not only that person’s pain levels, but on her delivery and recovery as well.  I strongly recommend asking your OB/GYN about ways to help yourself naturally in addressing the challenges of pregnancy, so that the joy and wonder are what are most remembered.  This way, mother and child can grow healthy and stay well.

And as important as mothers are to us all, anything we can do to help them is just fantastic.  Maybe it helps pay back a little of the tremendous debt we owe our mothers for all they’ve done for us!  So, if nothing else this month, do something extra-nice for the mothers you know as a way of saying “Thanks”.

18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, FL 33548
Tel: 813.968.9411  |  Fax: 813.963.2407

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