Pregnancy is a time when the back is under increasing strain, particularly in the later stages. The increasing size of the abdomen stretches the abdominal muscles and causes postural changes which can put pressure on the spinal joints and discs.
The ever-increasing weight will cause more work for the muscles to do which will often become stiff, achy and tired towards the end of the day. This muscular tension can often be eased by gentle massage and other manual therapy techniques.
During the later stages of pregnancy, the size and position of the baby can put pressure on the sciatic nerve to cause sciatica.
Another problem that can occur is for the sacro-iliac joints to become unstable. The sacro-iliac joints are the two joints in the middle of the pelvis at the base of the spine near to where most people have two dimples. The ligaments of these joints often soften because of a hormone called "relaxin" that is released during the last few months of pregnancy, the purpose of this hormone is to soften the pelvic ligaments and make the pelvic more flexible to allow delivery of the baby. However, this can cause the ligaments to become stretched and sprained. The ligaments around the sacro-iliac joints and even the pubic ligaments at the front of the pelvis can loosen to such an extent that it causes these joints to become unstable and shift out of place. When this happens, it will cause sharp catching pain around the dimple area or the pubic area especially when putting weight through the leg on the affected side. It is possible for the affected joint to be manipulated back into place, instantly reducing the pain, however because the ligaments will still be lax the joint can often shift out of place again after it has been manipulated. Something that can help this situation is to use a maternity sacro-iliac belt, these belts are designed to brace the sacro-iliac joints and support the weight of the abdomen.
Robert Shanks, BSc (Hons) Ost., is a (UK) registered Osteopath, Pilates Instructor, Medical Acupuncturist, a former martial arts instructor, and manual handling trainer to the London Fire Brigade He has been involved in the Health and Fitness industry for the past 20 years, during which time he has worked alongside some of London's top surgeons and Orthopedic specialists. Robert has personally established a number of leading Orthopaedic clinics in London, notably the "Spine Plus Harley Street - Spinal & Sports Injury Clinic" and Robert and his team have been invited to deliver their expertise during exclusive events at some of London's most prestigious venues, such as Harrods, "The Back Pain Show" and in the national press. Robert is recognised as one of the leading innovators and forward-thinkers in his industry, his clinics were among the first to achieve an NHS contract for osteopathy and played a key role in the introduction of (spinal decompression) IDD Therapy into the UK.With his trademark drive and passion for expert healthcare advice to be amenable to all.
Currently Robert is the Co-Founding Director of Spine Plus Osteopathy & Physiotherapy Clinics based in East London and West Essex, to book an appointment with Robert of a member of his team visit www.spineplus.co.uk or call their reception team on 0208 501 0937.
Please always check with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your lifestyle so as to ensure the safety of you and your baby.
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