Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care
Eighty percent of women will experience some form of discomfort during their pregnancies. A percentage of these women will suffer from meralgia paresthetica, or compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which causes tingling, pain or numbness type symptoms in the outer thigh. Although meralgia paresthetica can naturally heal itself after delivery through lifestyle change, manual therapy and exercise during pregnancy can alleviate the symptoms and correct the nerve compression offering more immediate relief.
For pregnant patients experiencing lower back pain, thigh pain and groin pain for extended periods of time, it is highly recommended that all motor skills be examined for deficit prior to developing an exercise program. If no motor deficits exist and all reflexes are intact, a full battery of functional tests should be performed including: active straight leg raise, long dorsal ligament test, and the pelvic pain provocation procedure. Only with a complete review of the patients clinical history and the functional tests can the diagnosis of meralgia paresthetica be determined and a treatment program be developed.
Treatments such as ART, or Active Release Technique, in combination with post-isometric relaxation can be applied to the sacroiliac joint, quadratus lumborum and illiopsoas muscles by the Chiropractor. The patient can then be given an in-home exercise program consisting of pelvic/low back mobility, stabilization and relaxation exercises. The combination of these manual therapies with the exercise regimen over a period of weeks can relieve the patient of pain as well as treat the underlying condition of the compressed nerve.
In conclusion, manual therapy and exercises can be an effective treatment program for pregnant patients experiencing low back pain complicated by paresthesia. Because these conservative procedures offer a low-risk intervention, this type of treatment should only be attempted under the supervision of a licensed Chiropractor.