In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the many aspects of pregnancy that contribute to low back pain (LBP) including hormonal, chemical, biomechanical, and psychological changes that occur throughout pregnancy. In Part 2, we looked at the results of several studies showing that chiropractic care can help reduce low back pain (LBP) both during pregnancy as well as during labor and delivery. This month, let’s focus on what to expect when you visit a doctor of chiropractic.
The initial visit typically consists of an intake process: a history, examination, vital signs, and so on. Your doctor of chiropractic will discuss the treatment goals and procedures typically utilized during the three trimesters of pregnancy and will provide a treatment recommendation.
After the initial treatment, it is not uncommon for people, pregnant or not, to feel a “post-exercise soreness” type of discomfort. This makes sense as chiropractic adjustments and mobilization are indeed “exercising” your spinal joints with the goal of reducing joint stiffness and fixations, which some chiropractors may refer to as “spinal joint subluxations.”
There are many types of manual therapies available, and finding the method that matches your choice and needs is important. One type of manipulation often associated with chiropractic includes the use of a “high-velocity, low-amplitude” (HVLA) thrust, which is frequently referred to as “an adjustment.” Joint cavitation or the “cracking” sound that commonly occurs with adjustments is created by the formation of a gas cavity within the spinal joint space during the maneuver. The spinal joints often become looser during pregnancy due to the increase in circulating progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin, especially in the third trimester. Typically, very little force is needed to successfully cavitate a spinal joint when utilizing HVLA adjustments. For some patients, the cracking sound can provoke anxiety and in those cases, low-velocity, low-amplitude techniques may be preferred, as this does not typically result in joint cavitation.
Exercise throughout pregnancy is important, as studies show it improves energy, reduces mood swings, facilitates in stress management, and results in more restful sleep. Other benefits include less weight gain during pregnancy (by approximately 21%); shorter and easier labor (decreased by an average of two hours); fewer medical interventions experienced (24% fewer cesarean deliveries and 14% reduction of forceps use); less fetal distress; and faster recovery times.
Nutritional counseling is also appreciated and very important during pregnancy, and chiropractors are well trained in this form of management.
Doctors of Chiropractic can work with OB/GYN doctors, primary care physicians, and/or midwives to coordinate care throughout the pregnancy with the common goal of making this the best experience of your life!