Common Issues During Pregnancy

If you’re expecting a baby at the moment…congratulations! It’s a wonderfully exciting time, but unfortunately can also go hand in hand with pain and discomfort for many women. Up to two thirds of pregnant women experience back pain and roughly one in five suffer from Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can even be debilitating, with some women having to use crutches or a wheelchair. Usually the pain will subside once the baby has been born, but in the meantime physiotherapy can often offer relief from the discomfort.

Symptoms

Back pain in pregnancy can vary greatly in terms of the severity and location of the pain. It can be anything from a mild ache or stiffness up to extreme pain, and can be felt in the lower back, mid-back, in between the shoulder blades or around the ribs.

The symptoms of PGP include pain in the pubic area, groin, inner thighs and sometimes the lower back and hips. The pain can be constant and is made worse by walking and especially going up and down stairs. You may also have difficulty getting in and out of the car, turning over in bed and pushing a trolley or pushchair. Understandably, if you are working or looking after children, the condition can really feel debilitating.

Causes

It’s no wonder that you can experience these symptoms when you consider the tremendous change that your body goes through during pregnancy! The most common reasons for back pain are an increase in weight, a change in posture, a change in the body’s centre of gravity, an increase in hormones and added stress.

Lower back pain can be most often linked to a change in your centre of gravity, which moves forward as the baby grows, causing your muscles to work harder and resulting in poor alignment and an increase in stress on the neck, shoulders and back.

Both back pain and PGP are affected by pregnancy hormones which loosen and soften your ligaments, resulting in increased movement in the joints.

How Physiotherapy Can Help

Pregnancy doesn’t have to mean putting up with back ache or PGP. Physiotherapy can offer relief from your symptoms and make pregnancy much easier.

Here at Elizabeth Webster Physiotherapy, we can provide a specialist assessment and treatment programme for pregnant women, including individually tailored advice, information on home exercises and maternity support belts if required. By assessing your symptoms and patterns of movement, we will be able to determine the triggers for your pain and then use gentle and safe mobilisation techniques to help with realignment. We will teach you how to improve your posture, muscle strength and flexibility to best support the growing weight of your baby and to avoid developing problems with your stomach muscles separating.

Physiotherapy in pregnancy can completely alleviate lower back pain, and if PGP is caught early it can significantly reduce the symptoms and make your pregnancy much easier.

Remember that Physiotherapy is not just for recovery; it can be used as part of your prenatal care to prevent symptoms from occurring in the first place.

For further advice or to make an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists, call 01423 884162 or email info@elizabethwebster.co.uk