Pregnancy can be such a wonderful time for the most part, and for some, a painless experience.
However, for other women, pregnancy can bring with it a whole lot of pain.
Everything can be going along well, and then all of a sudden you can experience pain so severe it stops you in your tracks.
Simply walking, rising from sitting and rolling over in bed become very difficult tasks.
Why is this happening?
You are not doing anything different from your normal activities, but now you can’t move.
During pregnancy the body undergoes major postural and hormonal changes.
Relaxin is the hormone responsible for relaxing the muscles, joints and ligaments in pregnancy. This allows the body to accommodate the growing baby and prepare for birth.
The side effect of this is that your joints become far more flexible and there is a change in the angles of the spinal curves and a change of centre of gravity.
As a result the muscles surrounding the pelvis, which may have been weak to start with, are required to take on more load to accommodate the instability and increasing weight.
Furthermore, when your muscles fatigue you place load on your passive soft tissues such as the ligaments that attach your uterus to your pelvis.
As the baby gains weight and the uterus rises out of the pelvis, there is more weight hanging forward of your centre, and the ligaments essentially ‘pull’ on the back of the pelvis.
This helps to explain why some women describe a pain around their buttock region, but they can’t seem to touch the sore spot.
So why are other women exercising without pain throughout their entire pregnancy, and you struggle to walk around the house?
We all carry with us little postural strains and muscle strength imbalances, and these become more obvious when we lose stability in the spine and pelvis.
If one person is already carrying some pelvic instability, hip muscle weakness and has higher relaxin levels, then she may be more likely to feel pain.
As with all other aspects of life, everyone is different.
Now you know why you’re in pain, what can you do about it?
There are a few things that you can do to help support the body through pregnancy.
Physical therapy is one of them.
Osteopaths use a range of hands-on techniques to help reduce muscle tension and improve mobility in the joints that are under extra load.
The other vital aspect of improving your symptoms is self-management strategies.
These exercises are variable and account for each individual, their symptoms, stage of pregnancy, levels of pain and what strain the body is under with work, caring for other children or leisure activities.
Generally they would incorporate some gentle strengthening of the muscles of the hips and pelvis, as well as some gentle stretches to help you to prepare for later stages of pregnancy and post-birth.or individual advice, contact Keep Active Osteopathy on 5832 7925, or visit www.keepactiveosteopathy.com.au to book an appointment.
- Dr Rhianon Carey-Norton, registered osteopath, Keep Active Osteo