Women’s health physiotherapy specifically treats women with problems during and after pregnancy. There are a number of common conditions that a pregnant woman will suffer from. As you move into the second and third trimester your body releases more of a hormone call relaxin. Relaxin binds onto the ligaments around your pelvis and spine to make them slightly more lax. This laxity in the joints around the pelvis allows the babies head to pass out through the birth canal during childbirth.
However, this can lead to instability around the lower back and pelvis contributing to lower back pain (LBP), sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain and pelvic girdle pain (PGP). At Wandsworth physiotherapy we see pregnant women with these painful conditions all the time. Assessment of the lower back and pelvis including the function of the pelvic floor and the core stability muscles allows us to establish which joints in your spine and pelvis are causing your pain and allow us to treat those joints with mobilisation and massage. Lower back pain and pelvic girdle pain can often times be significantly improved or completely resolved during pregnancy using this very gentle physiotherapy techniques.
We can also advise you on the use of stability belts that can be applied around the pelvis. These belts add external pressure to support the lax joint and sometimes significantly improve LBP and PGP.
Another common condition that pregnant women suffer from is sciatic pain down the back of the leg. This could be caused by increased pressure in the pelvis such as the babies body weight sitting on the nerves in the pelvis or simply from irritation of the nerves coming out of the spine. The symptoms are sometimes harder to treat, however, we can make you more comfortable and show you exercises and movement modifications that can keep your symptoms under control. Unfortunately, when you are pregnant you cannot take any medicine other than paracetamol, so physiotherapy and acupuncture are your only options for pain relief.
We often get asked at Wandsworth physiotherapy about using acupuncture in pregnancy. There are certain points in the hands and around the lower back and pelvis that should not be used during pregnancy as they may stimulate the womb, Which could lead to a miscarriage. However all physiotherapists and acupuncturists are trained not to use these points during pregnancy. If you have had acupuncture before and you are quite comfortable with the sensation then having acupuncture during pregnancy is quite safe and effective.
It’s also quite common to get quite severe rib pain radiating from the middle of your back round your rib cage on one side or the other. This can sometimes be from the pressure of the baby pushing into the nerves higher up in your spine. Once again gentle mobilisation of the spinal joints and massage can significantly improve your symptoms, with some women making a complete recovery from this type of pain even late into the pregnancy such as 36 to 38 weeks.