This is an article written by my friend and colleague Dr Luke McPherson. He is an acupuncture and Chinese medical practioner who works at West Street Wellbeing at Cammeray, Sydney.
As you get further into your pregnancy you will undoubtedly deal with lower back pain and/or hip pain. As someone who is already a little less mobile, and a little less flexible than before; an addition to back and hip pain can make life a whole lot harder. Back pain can really impact on your quality of life; denying you your much-needed sleep by cramping and spasming no matter in what position you lie, before forcing you to get up and pace the floor at all hours of the night to try and relieve the pain so you can finally get some rest
You don’t have to suffer in pain though, acupuncture from Dr Luke McPherson (CM) can alleviate your pain, stabilise the area, and help you to become pain free to enjoy the magic of pregnancy.
So why do you get back/hip pain in late stage pregnancy?
Well a part from the rapidly growing baby pushing on all sort of muscles and joints; your body makes a hormone called relaxin that allows ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and the joints to become looser in preparation for the birth process. The same hormone can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen, when this is added to the extra weight of your uterus and the increasing size of the hollow in your lower back this leads to instability and pain.
In more severe cases the sciatic nerve can become impinged in the tight muscles and or joints and cause shooting pains, tingles, or numbness down the legs. This is often confused with sciatica as it mimics the pain, but is usually much less sinister.
Pain does not always have to have a major reason; being pregnant means you are bigger, less mobile, and less flexible; these factors in combination are enough to change the way you move, and at times when you are tired (which you will find to be very frequent!) you may bend in ways that you are not use to, which can aggravate certain muscles.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture is very effective at relieving pregnancy pain. Before I treat the pain, I do a thorough assessment so that I have a good understanding of all the muscle groups that are afflicted. The approach I use is that I select points that are distal to the painful area, but are known to influence the pain, and then I gently mobilise the area until there is little pain left. Once the pain has almost gone, I will then select points at the painful site and then have you relax.
My approach is great, but where is the evidence it works? According to a Cochrane review by Pennick and Young in 2007: they found that acupuncture is a good method to relieve back and pelvic pain in pregnant women; in fact, acupuncture out performed physiotherapy in relieving pregnancy related back pain.
Another study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 concluded that Acupuncture is highly effective in relieving pelvic girdle and back pain. The lead researcher, Helen Elden concluded that while stabilising exercises were beneficial in reducing back pain, acupuncture was more effective than stabilising exercises in relieving back pain.
What to do next?
Take the first step to becoming pain free and book in for a consultation with Dr Luke McPherson (CM) on
You won’t regret it
Pennick & Young (2007). Interventions for pregnancy in treating pelvic and back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Elden, Lafdors…Et Al (2005) Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised single blind controlled trial. British Medical Journal