During pregnancy, women experience a variety of discomforts. By far, the most common is back pain. Physical Therapy for Pregnancy can help in this area.
While the underlying culprit of back pain varies from one female to another, most pregnant women suffer from this type of discomfort as a result of hormonal changes, variations in the center of gravity associated with the body, weight gain, posture decline, and stress.
Many pregnant women bring their concerns to their doctor; however, more and more are starting to turn to physical therapists for assistance. In fact, the number of women seeking physical therapy for pregnancy is so immense, that it is now considered to be a trend.
Women that elect to attend physical therapy sessions as a means of treating back pain during pregnancy will initiate their session with a licensed practitioner that will determine the trigger or triggers of the back pain. The professional will determine if posture is an issue, if there is a problem with the alignment of the joints, if the strength of the muscles is causing the problem, or if it is a simple flexibility issue.
Additionally, the physical therapist will evaluate the woman to see if nerves are involved, if the added weight is the issue, or if the decreased motivation associated with pregnancy is to blame for the issue. In many cases, there may be more than one pain trigger.
Once the underlying cause is determined, the physical therapist will then outline an individualized treatment plan that will be safe and effective for the expectant mother, as well as the unborn child.
The Most Common Issue
In most instances, pregnant women experience back pain as a result of a shifting center of gravity within the body. The uterus grows during pregnancy, as does the baby. As a result, the center of gravity moves forward. This is an unnatural shift – compared to what the female has previously experienced – and it forces the muscles to work harder. As time passes, the female may start to slump forward – which detrimentally impacts the posture. This poor alignment results in the development of tightness in the muscles that are located within the chest and upper back. It then places an increased amount of stress on the muscles that are located in the mid-back region and the lower back area.
The Role of Physical Therapy for Pregnancy
Physical therapy for pregnancy is more than just basic movements that will reduce the strain on the back. It is a treatment plan that places a special emphasis on building up the expectant mother’s strength, optimizing their level of flexibility, and improving the general posture.
The certified professional that oversees the treatment will proactively identify weaknesses that may be resulting in the back pain. This professional works to lessen the strain of the pregnancy on the body and creates a stabilization program that may result in an easier, less-painful, and more productive pregnancy.
In addition to reducing back pain during pregnancy, it has recently been concluded that females that undergo physical therapy before the birthing process actually experience fewer complications and pain during that birthing process.