Up to 90% of pregnant women will experience lower back pain during their pregnancy, with many experiencing additional aches and pains not related to their low back. This can in part be due to the many physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. The big question is, what helps ease the pain?
Today I want to talk about how warm water aquatic therapy may be the relief pregnant women are looking for. There are many principles of water that are perfect for helping ease the aches and pains and address the muscle imbalances experienced during this exciting time. For instance, buoyancy of water will allow the expectant mother to experience ease of movement and offloading of their body weight and decreased strain on their weight bearing joints which they can’t achieve on land. It also serves to lessen the neural loading on the spine encouraging these women to move when they otherwise wouldn’t want or be able to. The warm water pool allows for a thermal shift which triggers relaxation and allows women a break from the pain. Thermal shifting will lessen stress and anxiety in addition to allowing muscle relaxation. Pregnant women find the pool to be more comfortable for them to have manual therapy treatments done on them while floating versus laying on a traditional therapy table. This allows the therapists more access to the muscles which are often imbalanced and needing manual therapy interventions.
Another benefit of aquatic therapy relates to hydrostatic pressure to help lessen the swelling these women often experience. When in water at collarbone depth there is nearly 90mmHg pressure at our feet. This pressure from the water helps assist edema to move from the low point into the system to be cleared. The hydrostatic pressure will also pull blood to the central cavity which actually makes it easier for our heart to work which in turn means our pregnant clients heart rates won’t rise so high in the pool during exercise compared to when on land.
The pool allows our pregnant clients relief from many of the aches and pains they experience during their pregnancy and allows the therapists the ability to address their postural changes which often include developing a forward head with eyes cast downward, the shoulders and chest slouch which constricts the ribcage and they develop a rounded thoracic spine- all of which inhibits digestion and can contribute to the feelings of heartburn many experience. During pregnancy the low back hollows out as the pelvis tilts forward causing increased strain to the lower back and abdominals, all of which cause increased pressure on the bladder. These muscle imbalances and muscle tensions can be addressed in the pool environment where pain and ease of movement is improved compared to traditional land therapy. Talk to your doctor today about how warm water pool therapy can help you during your pregnancy. To learn more about warm water pool therapy visit: www.sandpointphysicaltherapy.com