Forester and Anrig write:
“Maternal weight gain is most significant during this gestational period. This contributes largely to the profound biomechanical compromise of the lumbosacral spine. With a drastic shift in the gravitational weight bearing of the mother, pelvic musculoskeletal function, principally of the sacroiliac and hip joints is imperiled. This leads to often significant soft tissue structure changes such as hypertonicities or ligament laxity, which in turn creates biomechanical instability. Not just the lumbosacral spine but compensatorily, the thoracic and even cervical spine acquire a diversity of combinations of aberrant segmental and global motion. The unfortunate typical short radius sacral curve of later pregnancy provides the foundational imbalance for thoracic hyperkyphosis and cervical hypolordosis. Cellular edema and inflammation, along with anatomical yielding of the intervertebral foraminae, generate neurophysiology of the important spinal nerve tissues with resultant cellular and aggregate tissue malfunction. Summarily, the potential for extensive vertebral subluxation complex in the maternal patient is physiologically inherent for the last 3 gestational months.” 5
Varney’s midwifery states, “In the antepartal period, changes in posture occur gradually and can be responsible for a great many discomforts over the course of the pregnancy.”6 The prevalence of low back pain during pregnancy can be as low as 42.5% 7 and as high as 90%.8 One study revealed that 28% of women experience back pain by the twelfth week of gestation.9 Because of the biomechanical compensations discussed above, it is not unusual for pregnant women to experience pain in multiple areas of her spine including sacral, lumbar, thoracic, cervical and cranial.
Currently, most published research on chiropractic care in pregnancy addresses the efficacy of the adjustment for low back pain. One study revealed that 75% of women who received chiropractic adjustments during their pregnancy stated that they experienced relief of their pain and discomfort. 10
Additionally, neurological conditions are associated with subluxations in pregnancy including: neuralgia, paresthesia, brachial, intercostals and sciatic neuralgia, coccygodynia, carpal tunnel syndrome, Bell’s palsy and traumatic neuralgia. 11
In studies done on laboratory animals a relationship between vertebral lesions in the lumbar area and interference to physiological function of that region were noted. It is also suggested that upper cervical lesions contributed to physiological disturbances in the mother such as: cardiac and thyroid malfunction, and sexual disturbances. Of further interest was that lesions in these laboratory animals produced miscarriages, behavioral changes, premature births, stillbirth, “runty” offspring, and early death of the young.
_________________________________________________________ Council on Chiropractic Practice Clinical Practice Guideline Number 1 Vertebral Subluxation in Chiropractic Practice – 2003 Update & Revision