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Pregnancy doesn't have to be a pain in the back

19 August, 2010

The Chiropractors' Association of Australia is calling on Australia's mums-to-be to stop being stoic when it comes to pregnancy-related aches and pains.

According to the CAA, there's a swag of evidence to verify the high prevalence of back pain in pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, but most women wrongly write off back discomfort as an inevitable part of pregnancy and do not seek professional help.

"Up to 69 per cent of pregnant women suffer low back pain, but as little as 32 per cent actually report it to their health practitioners.*

"That means far too many pregnant women are taking a grin and bear it approach and living with unnecessary pain," said CAA President (and father of four), Dr Simon Floreani.

Apart from the obvious discomfort, pain can trigger a host of associated complaints.

A US study, for example, found that 80 per cent of pregnant women who experience pain slept less than four hours per night.**

The good news, however, is that there is increasing evidence pointing to chiropractic care as a safe and effective treatment for pregnancy-related back pain.

Midwife, Liz Wilkes, national spokesperson for the Australian Private Midwives Association, is a firm believer in the value of chiropractic for mums-to-be, having witnessed its impact first hand.

"Women experience significant body changes when they are pregnant, during labour and after child birth," Liz Wilkes explained. "Those who seek chiropractic care throughout find it not only provides significant relief but also puts them in tune with their bodies and preparing for labour and birth."

Recently, Liz also observed the impact of chiropractic treatment for a woman in the early stages of labour.

"It was amazing to see the relief and progress of labour change following the adjustment," she observed.

Chiropractic care uses gentle adjustments to correct misalignment in the mother's spine and pelvis brought on by the increased load of pregnancy and changes in the body's centre of gravity.

Research has shown that pregnant women who experienced low back pain and undertook chiropractic care obtained greater relief from back pain, as well as less pain during labour.***

Other benefits may include an easier pregnancy and delivery with a reduced need for analgesics, shorter labour times, success in turning breech babies and a reduction in the possible need for a caesarean.****

Chiropractors are five year university trained, government regulated and registered healthcare professionals who specialise in the diagnosis and management of spinal health related problems.

Chiropractors who work with pregnant women will adapt their chiropractic tables to maximise the women's comfort during treatment and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. They can also recommend safe exercises and stretches to complement any adjustments made to the spine.

"Pregnant women respond extremely well to chiropractic adjusts and can actually be easier to adjust using the gentlest of movements as their muscles and ligaments are more relaxed due to the hormones present during pregnancy," Dr Floreani explained.*****

"So, it's really illogical that at a time when the body is particularly receptive to chiropractic care so many pregnant women soldier on with unnecessary pain."

Source: Chiropractors' Association of Australia

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