Back pain during pregnancy is a common complaint of women in the later stages of pregnancy. Not only is there the issue of a growing child pressing on the organs and skeletal structures in all kinds of curious ways, but also there are hormonal changes that make the tendons more supple and stretchy in preparation for childbirth. This often results in pain due to the increased mobility of the spine and hips.
Conventional medicine does not have much to offer other than some painkillers and the grin and bear assurance that after delivery the back pain will clear on its own. It’s not much to go on when you think about, as back pain not only can interfere with getting a restful night’s sleep, but also makes it more difficult to get through the tasks of everyday life.
Acupuncture is well known for its ability to help treat pain of all kinds. And back, pelvis or hip pain during pregnancy is usually helped a great deal with a few acupuncture treatments.
A common concern many have is about the safety of using acupuncture during pregnancy. It’s a good question, especially considering that some of the points that are used to treat pain are also used for “promoting labor,” which most assuredly is not something you want at certain phases of the pregnancy. So finding a skilled and well-studied practitioner is of paramount importance.
That being said, acupuncture can be used in a very safe and effective way to help reduce back pain during pregnancy. Plus, when you are getting ready for delivery, your acupuncturist can help with that as well.
In addition to acupuncture, some light cupping can be of great benefit as well. No, it does not leave the marks like you’ve see on the Olympic swimmers, which is a very extreme form of cupping used by athletes and those with chronic muscle pain. There are ways of using the cups in a gentle, yet effective fashion. Listen into this podcast for more about cupping.
Also, there is some good research on the benefits of using acupuncture to treat back pain during pregnancy. Give it a read, I suspect you will find it interesting.
Finally, if you are pregnant and suffering from back pain consider finding a qualified acupuncturist and give them a call to see if they have experience with treating pregnant women with this issue.
What constitutes a well-qualified practitioner?
Look for someone that has a Masters or Doctorate degree from an accredited Chinese medicine school that has required them to study for 3-4 years. Some states allow other health care practitioners to practice “acupuncture” or “dry needling” with just a few weekend seminars. Do your homework when looking for an acupuncturist. The NCCAOM database of Acupuncture Diplomates is a good place to start.