Submitted by: Dr. Logan Brooke, Chiropractor
I didn’t have an easy pregnancy the first time around: I experienced all-day-long morning sickness for five months straight, I developed gestational diabetes, and my husband and I left jobs, found new jobs, and became first-time home buyers in my final trimester—stress was my new middle name.
On top of it all, I suffered from more than just back pain during pregnancy: I suffered from a particular lower back pain in pregnancy where my tailbone somehow twisted. Yes, you read that correctly: my tailbone was twisted. To use proper chiropractic terminology, I suffered from a coccyx injury.
Coccyx injuries during pregnancy are more common than you might think: not only is your uterus expanding and growing heavier as the babies grows, but the hormone Relaxin causes your ligaments to loosen and—you guessed it—relax (this is one of the many ways your body naturally prepares for birth). Ligaments connect bone to bone, so things begin to move around. Or, in medical words, what can occur is “a sacral rotation or sacral torsion, where the sacrum becomes slanted to one side, causing tightness and discomfort in the lower back and tailbone area.”
For me, sitting was painful, and standing wasn’t much better. It seemed that I couldn’t stay in one position for too long without experiencing excruciating pain. Just so you know, this didn’t start when my baby bump was nice and watermelon-sized: it started at week 13, which is on the cusp of the first and second trimesters. I had no idea you could have early pregnancy back pain, but it’s quite common considering that pregnant women experience a protruding abdomen, changes in posture, an increased back curve, and pelvic changes. All of this can contribute to a misaligned spine and joints.
I decided to seek out back pain treatment during my pregnancy, so I scheduled an appointment at Tuck Chiropractic’s office in Bedford. The American Chiropractor Association states that chiropractic care is safe during pregnancy, and a collaborative chiropractic and medical study indicates that 75% of patients who received chiropractic care during their pregnancies find relief from pregnancy-related back pain.
Indeed, I was able to find some relief from my aching tailbone. That wasn’t all: there are other bonuses to chiropractic care during pregnancy for mamas-to-be, including controlling symptoms of nausea, reducing the time in labor and delivery, and having a healthier pregnancy.
Even though I suffered from lower back pain in early pregnancy, I didn’t pursue this kind of pregnancy pain relief until the third trimester. That’s right, I suffered for several months before seeking authentic pain relief in pregnancy when I simply could have scheduled an appointment and started feeling better sooner. Once again, according to the American Chiropractic Association, there are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, and all chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant.
Until you can make your appointment, here are a few tips to follow to get some relief from your pregnancy back pains at home (courtesy The American Chiropractic Association):
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back. Full-length “body pillows” or “pregnancy wedges” may be helpful. Lying on your left side allows unobstructed blood flow and helps your kidneys flush waste from your body.
If you have to sit at a computer for long hours, make your workstation ergonomically correct. Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below your eye level, and place your feet on a small footrest to take pressure off your legs and feet. Take periodic breaks every 30 minutes with a quick walk around the office. Purchase a coccyx pillow to relieve pressure when sitting down. Your chiropractor can evaluate your pain levels and other symptoms and then make the appropriate recommendations for your care. Of course, you should always consult you OB/GYN with whatever new pains or symptoms you experience during pregnancy, and be sure to inform your provider that you are seeking chiropractic care.
To contact Dr. Brooke: [email protected]