If there’s one thing guaranteed when it comes to pregnancy, it’s that it will be uncomfortable at times. There are very few examples of times when our bodies undergo such drastic changes in a short space of time, so a little discomfort is normal. But sometimes discomfort can become pain. That’s where physiotherapy can help.
Relaxin is a hormone found in both men and women. Although produced by both sexes, the primary purpose of relaxin is to prevent women’s bodies from becoming damaged during pregnancy and childbirth.
During pregnancy, production of the hormone increases during the second trimester. One of the benefits of this increased production is that relaxin helps to facilitate the flow of blood throughout the body. The main reason it occurs however is that relaxin helps to loosen up the birth canal and prepare women for childbirth.
While that might make it sound as though relaxin is your best friend, it does have one very unfortunate side effect: it also loosens up the ligaments elsewhere in your body. This means that your joints give you less support than they would normally, which leads to pain both in the joints, and elsewhere throughout the body.
Fortunately, because the muscles are simply loosening as a result of relaxin, physiotherapy can help counteract the effects. Simply put, looser muscles mean weaker muscles over time. But by meeting with a physiotherapist, you can identify what ligaments are causing trouble, and build a regimen that will help strengthen them again.
What Issues Can Physiotherapy Address?
There are a lot of ways your body may or may not change during pregnancy, and a lot of problems physiotherapy can help with. But among the most common issues physiotherapists see in pregnant women are upper & lower back pain, neck & shoulder pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, pelvic girdle pain, and bladder issues.
The important thing to remember during both pregnancy and life in general is that the source of your pain and the cause of your pain can be two very different things. This is particularly true when it comes to relaxin. Because it loosens the ligaments around our joints, it drastically affects the body’s ability to support itself. This means that loosened ligaments in your knees could be causing you to drag your feet, or slouch for example. This in turn means that if you have pain in your neck or shoulders, focusing on those areas will not yield great results. Physiotherapy can help you identify the cause of your pain as opposed to the location. Your physiotherapist can then prescribe exercises that will help you counteract the harmful effects of relaxin.
There are a lot of things to keep track of during pregnancy, and at times it can seem overwhelming. But while adding physiotherapy to your list might sound like just another chore, it can help keep you energetic and fit enough to tackle everything else. So don’t just accept pregnancy pain as a fact of life. Take action, and stop putting yourself through any more unnecessary pain.