How can osteopathy help back pain in pregnancy?
The fact of the matter is that your body changes massively in pregnancy, along with all the hormone surges that alter you muscles, ligaments and tendons there is also the added weight that you are carrying in your belly. All of this means that it is very easy for your body to go out of balance and when that happens generally speaking you get pain. So what can you do to help?
If you think of your body like a tent with 4 guy lines down each side in order for the tent to remain upright and symmetrical you need to have all the guy lines at the same tightness and pulling on your body in the same way. If one guy line is tighter than the others your tent goes out of shape and it becomes difficult to get into the tent as it is unbalanced.
Prevention is the best if you can manage it. Try to do everything as symmetrically as possible.
What do I mean by this:
• So if you have to bend over make sure your back and legs are in a straight line and not twisted.
• When you are getting out of a car do it as if you have a pencil skirt on that is twist both your feet out and then push with your hands and arms to get out, the one leg in one leg out puts a massive twist through your pelvis which is very vulnerable during pregnancy.
• If you have a younger child try carrying them at the front, if this is not possible try alternating sides.
• If you are carrying shopping have bags on both sides not just one.
• When you sit down try to sit symmetrically again if you find this difficult and for example tuck your legs up under you trying alternating sides this means that you are evening out the twist.
• Sleep on your side with a pregnancy support pillow, under your bump and between your legs.
If you get pain:
• Try heat to start with this helps to relax the muscles, either a wheat bag or a hot bath.
• Some gentle stretching can help as well to help the muscles that support the back and legs become more flexible. Be careful to stretch gently, because stretching too quickly or too much can put further strain on your joints, which have been made looser by pregnancy. Prenatal Yoga is one good way to stay limber, and it can help improve your balance, too.
The gentle exercise below helps to strengthen stomach (abdominal) muscles and this can ease backache in pregnancy:
• start in a box position (on all fours) with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, with fingers facing forwards and abdominals lifted to keep your back straight.
• pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back up towards the ceiling, curling your trunk and allowing your head to relax gently forward – don’t let your elbows lock.
• hold for a few seconds then slowly return to the box position.
• take care not to hollow your back – it should always return to a straight, neutral position.
• do this slowly and rhythmically 10 times, making your muscles work hard and moving your back carefully.
• only move your back as far as you can comfortably.
Alternating hot and cold can also help This means alternating a cold compress (a bag of peas will do) and then a hot compress ( a hot water bottle, wheat bag etc) for ten minutes each repeating 3 or 4 times. Decreases the inflammation and can help with the pain.
If you are still in pain then osteopathy can help to balance those guy ropes out and make you feel better.