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I’ve been dealing with back pain since the beginning of my third trimester and have been researching ways to help relieve this pain from physiotherapy to a chiropractor to osteopath options.  I had an initial physio assessment at HealthMax which determined that it’s my psoas muscle stemming from the lower back all the way down my legs and as it tightens it gets more difficult to walk so my pregnancy waddle has turned into a painful limp.  

Back pain is synonymous with pregnancy, over 70% of women complain of back aches and pains, particularly during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy.

What causes back pain?

  • Ligament softening hormones like relaxin causes your joints to move more than usual, causing extra strain on your back and hips.
  • Postural problems caused by your growing uterus and stretched abdominal muscles that restrict you from being able to maintain proper alignment.
  • Your baby’s weight causes your lower back to sway as your centre of gravity moves forward
    making back muscles short, tight, and painful.
  • Position of your baby (particularly towards the end of pregnancy) can compress nerves and cause back pain.
  • Due to your baby’s ever increasing weight, back pain is often worse in the later stages of pregnancy as your bub grows heavier.

What is this psoas muscle? The psoas (so-as) is a large pair of muscles from the spine between the pelvis and the ribs that wrap like cradling wings around to the front of the pelvis and drop down to attach at the lower end to the top of the thigh bone. They help us walk upright, support our abdominal organs. The tone of the large psoas pair can have an effect on the descent of the baby and even fetal position.

What’s the Difference Between Chiro, Physio and Osteopath?

Differences:

  • Chiropractors practice a manual approach, providing diagnosis, treatment and preventive care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.
  • Physiotherapists work with a diverse spectrum of conditions, ranging from breathing problems to postoperative rehabilitation. Traditionally using more exercise-based approaches.
  • Osteopathic therapists combine intellectual knowledge of anatomy in motion with what they feel in their hands to understand the story being told by the tissues. They then use gentle manipulation to free restricted joints, tight muscles, tethered nerves and blockages around organs. The release oftension allows healing to occur.

Similarities:

  • Osteopathic therapy, Physiotherapy and Chiropractors understand that the release of tension in joints, muscles, tethered nerves and fascia allows healing to occur.
  • All three professions exist to help you recover from pain and injury.
  • Osteopathic therapists and chiropractors have 4 years of training in their fields to become qualified (Physiotherapists have 2 years).

These are all helpful therapies, you just need to choose what is right for your specific conditions.  I’ve had appointment with all three: Physio determined the location of where the pain was coming from and offered massage and exercises to help work it out, a Chiropractor looked at my spine and thoroughly examined not just where the pain was stemming from but how it impacted the rest of the nervous system and did adjustments accordingly (make sure you go to someone who specializes in pregnancy, I went to Hands On Health in Etobicoke) and then there was the Osteopath at Body in Tune, the practitioner looked at my spine and did gentle adjustments with a lot of back and forth movements and it was a much longer appointment.  After an hour I was told that he released my sacrum and that I should feel a substantial difference in the days to follow. 

So I’ll have to see how I feel going forward, either way it’s good to look at all of the options to find what works best for you, what’s important is that you do everything you can to feel your best during this time.  Stay strong, but also relax mamas!