Physiotherapy for Back Pain in Pregnancy
In our previous articles, we expanded more on pregnancy related back pain, why it occurs and pregnancy safe treatment methods to relieve back pain. In this article, we touch on physiotherapy as a treatment method for back pain during pregnancy.
The Impact of Pain
Before we move on to discussing physiotherapy as a treatment method for back pain during pregnancy, it is important to understand the impact of pain on an individual. Chronic or persistent pain is pain that lasts for more than 3 months and this type of pain tends to have a debilitating effect on individuals who suffer from it. Persistent pain is a widespread issue that is plaguing Singaporeans – from those who lead sedentary lives to those who are active. 92% of Singaporeans agree that pain interferes with certain aspects of their lives and that pain can negatively affect quality of life.
Pain is felt differently by people and is unique to the individual – for instance, if two individuals are pinched on their arm with the exact same amount of strength, it might be painful for one but may only feel uncomfortable for the other despite it being exactly the same. Thus, pain or pain severity is personal and subjective to each individual. Likewise, the amount of impact that chronic back pain has differs from each individual personal experience. Some may only feel a slight discomfort regarding their back pain while others may find themselves being unable to carry out simple tasks.
If you are currently suffering from back pain, it is likely that it has taken a toll on your physical ability and mobility. It is common for chronic back pain sufferers to experience a impairment in the ability to function You may be unable to walk or stand for more than 30 minutes before needing to rest. For some, the pain could be so severe that they are bed ridden. The physical impact of back pain on an individual is clear – however, there is also a emotional and mental impact.
Emotional and Mental Impact
Back pain can take away the inability to keep up with simple day to day activities that you used to be able to do with ease. Living in constant pain can negatively impact your emotional health – causing you to be in a bad mood. Pain can also cause some to be unable to get quality sleep, further impacting your emotional health negatively. You may also find yourself constantly missing out on social activities or being unable to keep up with friends when you are out. The combination of all these factors can greatly affect your emotional and mental state, as well as your quality of life.
What is Physiotherapy for back pain during pregnancy?
Physiotherapy is a concept that is relatively new to most Singaporeans. As such, most do not fully understand what physiotherapy is and what it does. Physiotherapy is the study of the musculoskeletal system, mainly muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons. The goal of physiotherapy is to relieve pain, improve mobility and restore full physical function. This means helping our clients get back to their level of physical activity. For some, their treatment goal could be above and beyond what they were able to achieve previously. Physiotherapy treatment is very individualistic and is specific to each individual’s condition and needs. Thus, it is essential for your therapist to fully understand the cause of your condition and what your treatment goals are.
For instance, a running enthusiast who was only able to run 5km before feeling pain in his knee may seek physiotherapy treatment to resolve the root cause of the knee pain. However, his treatment goal could be to successfully complete a 21km marathon without knee pain. Depending on our client’s objectives, our physiotherapists develop a treatment plan to help them get there.
How can Physiotherapy relieve back pain during pregnancy?
Back pain is a musculoskeletal condition that can often by resolved by physiotherapy. Physiotherapy treatment does not involve medicine such as painkillers- instead, treatment methods involve manual therapy and exercise therapy. This could be in the form of muscle releases and stretches or strengthening exercises.
Depending on the diagnosis of your condition, your therapist will determine a treatment plan that is most suited to resolving your condition and helping you to get back to a pain free pregnancy. The main objectives of physiotherapy treatment to resolve pregnancy related back pain are as follows:
Determining the root cause
An accurate diagnosis is the first step to a successful and effective recovery journey. It is essential as this sets the course for all future treatment. Here at Core Concepts, we understand the importance of treating the root cause and not just the symptoms that appear. Thus, our physiotherapists take the time to fully grasp the situation based on the symptoms that occur before coming up with a diagnosis.
Good core strength can be the key to reducing back pain during pregnancy. As we mentioned in the previous article, weak core muscles can cause a increased strain on your back. Due to the growing weight on your belly, your back will have to work harder to support your body in a upright position. When your core muscles are weak, your body depends 100% on your spine to hold your body up. Strong core muscles will help to unload some of this weight from your spine, reducing your risk of back pain and strains.
Physiotherapy treatment can help to strengthen your core muscles by assessing your current core strength and developing a suitable treatment plan to strengthen them.
Correcting muscular imbalances
Physiotherapists are experts in body movement patterns and biomechanics. They are able to accurately determine muscular inefficiencies by analysing your movement patterns. Muscular imbalances can contribute to back pain as it affects your movement patterns. Having muscles that are weaker on one side forces the stronger side to work harder to compensate for the imbalance. If left uncorrected, chronic back pain will occur. After your physiotherapist determines which muscle groups require work – a treatment plan with strengthening exercises will be prescribed.
Choose Physiotherapy treatment for Back Pain during Pregnancy
Physiotherapy is a safe and effective treatment method for back pain during pregnancy. Our team of physiotherapists are experienced in treating expecting mummies for prenatal and postnatal conditions. Consulting with a physiotherapist would also be beneficial to getting a clearer understanding of your back pain.
An accurate diagnosis would help set the treatment course on the right track, moving you closer to your goal of a pain free pregnancy.
What can I expect during a Physiotherapy Session?
During your first session, your therapist will ask you questions to get a better understanding of your pain and how it occured. After which, an assessment will be conducted to narrow down the root cause of your back pain. Once a diagnosis is concluded, your therapist will come up with a treatment plan that is best suited for your needs.
Depending on the severity of your condition as well as your treatment goals, your therapist will also advise you on the number of physiotherapy sessions required.
If you are currently experiencing back pain and would like to seek physiotherapy treatment, do contact us via one of the methods below
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