I thought the best way to explain this problem would be to present a case of someone I saw in clinic this week.
She is 30 years old in her 1st pregnancy at 22 weeks, and suffered morning sickness from weeks 5-17. Finally after the 12-week hangover, she began feeling a stabbing pain in her right butt cheek and into her outer thigh. So to date, the pregnancy has not been an enjoyable one. She realises she has many more weeks before the birth and her body will only feel more strain. If her body is not coping now…what state will she be in later?
To add insult to injury, some people have exclaimed “ooh…you’re waddling”. This is frustrating her because it’s not the cute waddle of a woman in later pregnancy, it is a PAIN waddle at only 22 weeks. She cannot stride out and walk normally because of the catching pain in the butt and feels foolish having a waddle-walk.
She has been doing clinical pilates for months, even well before getting pregnant. Despite this, she explained that this butt pain is familiar. She has also felt low back pain on occasions for a few years but nothing that caused too much of an issue.
Alongside the clinical pilates she was being treated with physiotherapy for some weeks. This treatment only involved her right buttock.
My Osteopathic assessment found tightness in her low back when bending, tight muscles in both sides of her butt, tight side torso muscles restricting her from bending well, and pelvic bony levels were balanced.
These results were causing what is commonly known as “Pelvic Instability”. This is not instability like you might think It is not a case of being fragile from the pregnancy. This type of instability occurs when there is an imbalance in muscle tension around her low back and pelvis. With the pregnancy hormone “relaxen” loosening off her ligaments, the out-of-whack muscles are fighting harder to manage her movement. The consequence of this is the stabbing pain.
This is a straight-forward problem for a pregnancy Osteopath and requires releasing muscle tension and getting the spine and pelvic joints flexible again. The treatment involves both right and left, and front and back. The goal is to find the harmonious place for the low back and pelvis. I also gave exercises for home so she can continue to gently encourage the normal movement into her spine and pelvis
This scenario highlights important points:
1. That pregnancy does not have to be painful
2. The physical changes from pregnancy can aggravate old familiar pains
3. A pregnant woman may become imbalanced from body changes and need help to regain effective movement
4. That instability does not mean fragile
5. An Osteopath will look for the cause of the pain and not simply treat the symptoms
In this case the woman had a low back issue that was causing her butt muscles to tighten, and creating the thigh pain. Her issue was actually worse in the left buttock. This was a major reason for her symptoms continuing as her physio treatment was only on the right side.
I hope you are left with hope. Regardless of what stage of pregnancy you are, these problems can be treated and provide you with a better pregnancy experience. An added bonus is that your body is likely to cope better with childbirth.
At Boroondara Osteopathy, we enjoy the challenge of getting you back to an active and pain-free pregnancy. If you feel you might need some help don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our Osteopaths
Check out our Pregnancy page.
I also have a blog about my own pregnancy issue with my pelvis called:
32 weeks and reduced to crawling down my hallway…
If you need help with your pregnancy pain, call our reception on 9859 5059.
We look forward to helping you have the best pregnancy you can.