Post-Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) following pregnancy is a common complaint of numerous mothers and this can last months or even years after the term of the pregnancy. Over 50% of women reported experiencing LBP during or following their pregnancy, so you are not alone in this situation. Pregnancy causes many physiological and biomechanical effects on the female body. Some of these various changes include weight gain, hormone release, postural changes, morning sickness, fatigue and urinary incontinence. These factors all may play a role in contributing to your LBP. Mothers are placed under enormous emotional and physical stress and dealing with LBP only adds to this.

The added responsibilities of mother hood, lack of sleep and any other external stress factors make recovery from any LBP that much more difficult. If not treated correctly this can subsequently result in a chronic condition which may affect you for years to come. Studies have indicated that specific strengthening exercises and physiotherapy treatment are key components to relieving the pain and returning to day to day function. Many mothers have endured this pain for years that may have created a snow ball effect of issues or injuries.

Our team at Functional Health will work together with you to help improve your function and quality of life.

What actually happens to your body during pregnancy?

Towards the end of pregnancy your body releases hormones to increase the elasticity of your ligaments which results in an increase in stretchability of the pelvis. This compensates for the reduction in available space within the abdominal walls and for breaching of the child. Consequently, with this increase in laxity of your ligaments, structures that previously were secure become moveable and instability can ensue. Take your pelvis for example, it is stretched and widened to accommodate for birth however the muscles and ligaments become stretched, torn and weakened. In combination with the ligamentous tissue the muscles of the abdominal wall, pelvic floor and lower back all contribute to the stability around the lumbar spine and pelvic girdle. Due to the instability created by the reduction in ligamentous support the surrounding musculature is called upon to take up the slack however it may not be able to withstand the additional load. This is where dysfunction arises and complications such as changes in postural alignment and muscular imbalances occur. The structure that is commonly affected is the sacroiliac joint or SIJ which is the junction between the lumbar spine and the pelvis / hips. Unlike other joints in the body, the SIJ is designed for stability therefore little to no movement is normal, however throughout pregnancy instability occurs regularly and many require intervention to relieve the pain and other symptoms.

A thorough physiotherapy examination can identify the key deficits or imbalance and through core strengthening exercises the requisite stability and comfort can be achieved.

Following Childbirth

The musculature of the pelvic floor is often disrupted during child birth and every mother is recommended to partake in a physiotherapy or exercise physiologist guided exercise regime whether the birth was natural or a C-section. We specifically target the pelvic floor and core stability muscles with the exercise program to gain benefits in urinary function, increased stability around the lower back and pelvis and prevention of post pregnancy complications.

Our team of physiotherapist and exercise physiologists work with you to regain the necessary strength and ensure you acquire the maximal benefits to return to daily activities.

Changes in Posture during Pregnancy

Due to the ever-growing little bundle of joy, things become a bit tight for room and this has some ramifications for your posture. The bonus weight at the front of the abdomen changes the bodies’ centre of gravity and alignment. What results is an increase in the curvature of the lumbar spine known as the lumbar lordosis. This lordosis increases the pressure on the facet joints and exacerbates muscle imbalances around the spine, pelvis, glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors. Our MedX specialised rehab equipment is designed to build strength through functional ranges of motion, not just to build muscle.

Our team of exercise physiologists and physiotherapists will incorporate MedX core stability exercises in combination with a tailored home exercise program to achieve your goals even if they are as simple as pain free lifting, walking or bending.