The decisions of picking a name…
The anticipation and excitement… Painting the new room… Clothing, diapers and
family celebrations. The joy of a pregnancy is one of life's greatest pleasures.
Unfortunately however, for many women the later months of pregnancy can prove to
be quite challenging. One common problem many women face is lower back pain.
Lower back pain can be a horrible
interruption in day-to-day activities for a pregnant woman. More importantly, it
interferes with their quality of life, not to mention the enjoyment of one of
the most memorable times of their life.
The obvious cause of lower back
pain is the biomechanical stress being placed on the mother by the added weight
of baby. As the baby gains weight the mother is pulled forward. To compensate
for this forward pull, the mother has to lean her upper body backward. This puts
a tremendous amount of pressure on the low back and pelvis.
This explanation of low back pain
sounds complete. It is a true explanation but is only a small part the problem.
The "hidden" cause of lower back pain is actually muscle imbalances. In fact,
muscle imbalances are a common cause of lower back pain in pregnancy but they
are also responsible for back pain in a majority of the population.
The strength and tone of the
muscular system is an extremely important factor when assessing a patient with
lower back pain. Unfortunately, muscle imbalances are not addressed properly by
most health practitioners. But just because they are not trained in identifying
and addressing muscle imbalances, it doesn't mean you have to continue to
But before I share with you the
solution to this problem, let me first explain in more detail what a muscle
imbalance is and how it causes back pain and sciatica.
In a nutshell, muscle imbalances work like this. Muscles work
together with opposing muscles to allow movement at joints. One muscle stretches
while the other shortens. Each side should be of equal tone and strength. When a
pregnant woman walks, moves, bends, twists or sleeps she will typically do so in
an unbalanced and awkward manner to accommodate for her increased weight. In
addition, various everyday activities and positions we put our body in create
imbalances in the muscle groups and during pregnancy it only worsens.
Muscle imbalances then pull the pelvis and low back out of
alignment and this places uneven and excessive stress on the muscles, bones and
The spine is comprised of 24
moveable bones with a shock-absorbing disc in between each bone. This spinal
column rests on three large bones called the pelvic girdle. When this spinal
column is in proper alignment it will carry a majority of the weight and stress
being placed on the body. When one or more of these 24 bones misaligns,
especially the pelvis, the muscles work overtime, so to speak. They now have to
carry the weight that the spinal column is supposed to handle. At this point the
muscles are unbalanced and are very prone to an injury. Lower back pain is the
most common expression of this problem.
If the above scenario takes place
then the stage has been set for lower back pain and dysfunction. Not only do
expectant moms have to deal with safely carrying the baby, they have to now do
it with a painful lower back.
The solution is based on a
better understanding of muscle imbalances and how your body works. The first
thing you have to do is fully understand what muscle imbalances are, how they
are created and how they cause back pain and sciatica.
Once you understand muscle
imbalances, the next step is to identify the ones you have and understand how
they are creating your pain. After you have identified the imbalances is when
you can then begin addressing them with the right combination of corrective
exercises, stretches and treatments.
For more information on how to
treat all forms of Back Pain read the latest Back Pain Advisory from The Healthy
Back Institute. Visit
http://www.losethebackpain.com to sign up for your
free back pain e-mail educational course and to learn more about how to identify
and address your muscle imbalances.
About the author:
earned his undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and
received his Doctorate of Chiropractic in 1997 from Life College of
Chiropractic. He is a Certified Active Release Practitioner and Director of
Sullivan Chiropractic and Muscle Therapy Center in Manhattan, New York.