When she first visited me at Acubalance, Janice limped into the treatment room. She could hardly turn to undo the velcro on her belly-support belt that was stabilizing her lower back. At 25 weeks gestation, she was looking ahead to another 4 months of debilitating back pain. Who knew that getting up from a seated position could throw your back into spasm? Now, even the slightest movement sent shooting pains down her legs, into her pelvis, and through her hips. She’d been off work for a few days and was dreading her return.
As any doctor working with pain will tell you, “hurt results from harm”: our pain systems are a warning that alert us to damage, and thus danger. Pregnancy, however, is one example of where hurt does not necessarily result from harm. There are some abdominal pains in pregnancy that can be early warning signs of something serious, and should always be checked with your primary caregiver, but I’m talking about garden-variety musculo-skeletal pain. Unfortunate and debilitating as it may be, it does not necessarily indicate pathology. Sometimes it’s one of those “this is just the way it is” things. The baby might be in an awkward position, pressing on this or that nerve, kicking under the ribs or pressed painfully against the pelvic floor.
Once your doctor or midwife has confirmed it’s not a serious complication, acupuncture and cupping are very effective relief. For example low back pain (which an estimated 50% of pregnant women experience), round ligament pain, painful varicosities, hip pain, rib pain, and muscle spasm. I have seen many women return to work after just a few sessions.
Janice was no different. We did four treatments very close together. After the first, she was 60% better. After the second treatment, she was better still, and after our third session together, she felt mostly fine, but still stiff after sitting for long periods. We did a fourth session for good measure, and she went back to work feeling good. I recommended that she come back in a month for a follow-up. I also asked her to return at 36 weeks to start cervical ripening in preparation for birth. But that’s another blog...
If you have any pregnancy-related aches and pain, or any questions about acupuncture in general, please don’t hesitate to book a free 15 minute consultation. I’m always available for a chat.