Pregnancy / Adults

Most people in the general population can attest to having pain, stiffness, injuries or headaches at some point. Osteopathic manual therapy may have a positive effect on the range of motion of joints, increased spinal mobility and improved blood supply or circulation.  Below is a list of clinical conditions that may be helped with Osteopathy, including a research paper on the beneficial effects that Osteopathic Manipulative therapy has on back pain during pregnancy. If you have a particular concern or condition please contact Victoria directly at the clinic. A writing on The Effect of Pregnancy on Women follows this. It is designed to help describe the effects that an unborn child has on a womans body. Osteopathic management during this time, may help to relieve the musculoskeletal pains and strains that may present. 


Research Paper supporting the treatment of Osteopathy during Pregnancy, for Back Pain:

Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST 2010 Osteoapthic Manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial Am J Obstet Gynecol Jan;202(1):43

Victoria also manages the musculoskeletal effects of other conditions in clinic which have (as yet) limited research including:

  • Hip pain
  • Tension Headaches
  • Jaw(TMJ) pain and tightness
  • Pelvic Instability during pregnancy
  • Pubic Pain during pregnancy

A note here: Osteopathic care does not claim to cure any of these conditions, it simply aims to remove the excess physical tension which may help relieve the symptom picture.


The Effect of Pregnancy on the Woman

The womans body has to change it’s physiological and homeostatic mechanisms during pregnancy to ensure her unborn child is provided for. There becomes an increase in blood sugar, breathing and cardiac output. Levels of progesterone and oestrogens rise, suppressing the menstrual cycle. The woman and the placenta also produce many hormones.

There are many musculoskeletal changes that become prevalent during pregnancy. The first of these changes is to the bodies gait (how you walk). Pregnant women appear to waddle, which is a forward gait that includes a lateral component. The larger the womans belly gets, the more hip muscles (abductors and extensors) and ankle plantar flexor muscles are used. This compensation to walking results in the step lengenthing which often leads to injuries to these muscle groups.

The second of these changes is the bodies posture. As the pregnancy progresses the pelvis tilts and the back arches to keep balance. There is a stretching of the abdominal muscles and a change to the mothers centre of mass. In addition to increased body weight, most pregnant women experience fluid retention and the arches of the feet lower and widen. There is also increased hormones of oestrogen and relaxin in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy that can soften and stretch ligaments in the body. This may have an effect on the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac ligament laxity.

A third major change to the body is the increase in lumbar lordosis with the additional weight of pregnancy. This often looks like the woman is extending her lower back. This is done to maintain postural stability and balance.

The physical effects that pregnancy have on women are huge. Osteopathic treatment throughout the various stages of pregnancy aims to minimise the impact that these changes have to the musculoskeletal system. Victoria has a pregnancy table available to enable women (usually up to 36 weeks) to comfortably lay face down on the treatment table for some techniques.


Acknowledgement:

A big Thank you to John Smartt (an Osteopath) for his ongoing academic research and his generous nature. For extra research papers related to Osteopathy with Adults please visit John Smartt: Osteopathy Explained Version 1.4 at www.smarttosteopath.com