Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Blog

Back pain and other discomforts are common during pregnancy, and it may seem like nothing short of giving birth will make your aches and pains go away. However, chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can alleviate pain and discomfort and make you feel your best.

Your Gestational Cycle

A typical period of gestation can last anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks from the date of conception. The first trimester of pregnancy, about the first 13 weeks, brings little musculoskeletal discomfort, although nausea and fatigue are quite common.

During the second trimester, the baby continues to grow, and your baby bump starts to show. For many women, morning sickness goes away at this time, although some women experience morning sickness for the whole nine months!

Beginning around week 28, you are considered to be in your third trimester. As your baby grows, they have less space to move around, at the same time they are becoming more active. Your baby’s increasing weight along with increased activity can begin to make you uncomfortable. Your center of gravity, normally centered around your hips, shifts upward, putting extra pressure on your lumbar spine. You may feel your baby kicking or poking you in the ribs, spine and pelvic floor. Sometimes the extra stress on your nerves can lead to compressed discs and sciatica, causing pain, tingling and numbness.

Many practitioners recognize the time after birth as the fourth trimester, although a mathematician would call it a quarter. During that time, your body is healing from childbirth, getting back to a new normal. Your center of gravity shifts downward once again, relieving pressure from your lumbar spine. You will likely have some muscular imbalances due to the load you have been carrying for nine months, where some muscles will be tight and others lax. Things may be out of whack for several weeks, and you may need chiropractic care to help get you back in alignment.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe During Pregnancy?

You may have some concerns about seeking chiropractic care while you are pregnant…after all, it’s not just about you any more, and your baby’s safety is your primary concern! Research has revealed however that there are many benefits to chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. A 2009 review of literature on the subject found a number of benefits, including:

● Increased maternal comfort
● Reduced complications during labor and delivery
● Reduced back and neck pain during pregnancy and labor
● Performing the Webster Technique to turn the baby from breach to head-down position

Your chiropractor can become an invaluable partner in your birth plan, making your pregnancy, labor and delivery comfortable, enjoyable and safe. They can also help you restore healthy posture and alignment after the baby is born.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

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Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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