Other conditions massage can be useful in treating during pregnancy are:
Pregnancy massage can be particularly useful for women who experience middle back pain while pregnant.
Middle back pain commonly arises around the 25th to 29th week of pregnancy, as your body changes more significantly to accommodate your growing baby. By this stage, your baby usually weighs between 800-1300g and is often sitting high in the abdomen which causes the lower ribs to expand, placing added pressure and strain on the diaphragm, intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs) and the muscles along the spine, sometimes resulting in spasm.
Massage can aid in the relief of middle back pain by helping your muscles adjust to their new position and reducing any spasm that has occurred.
If you have any questions about pregnancy massage and middle back pain please call and speak with our friendly, knowledgeable therapists.
Hip/Lower Back Pain
Pain around the hip/lower back during pregnancy is most often caused by muscular compensation which can, in most cases, be addressed with pregnancy massage.
As the pregnant body releases the hormone relaxin, the pelvic ligaments become looser, creating more movement in the joints of the pelvis. The movement of these joints cause the muscles of the hip and pelvis to tighten in order to support the now hyper-mobile pelvic joints - it is the tightening of these muscles that can lead to pain.
As your baby grows and becomes heavier, your posture changes, causing the lower back and buttock muscles to work harder and tighten. Many of the muscles in the lower back and buttock, when tight and fatigued, refer pain into the hip area.
From around 21 weeks onwards, there is typically no other way pregnant women can sleep but on their side. Sleeping on your side not only places pressure on the muscles around the hip, but also creates movement in the joints of the pelvis, causing the muscles of the hip to tighten and giving rise to pain. This can be eased or prevented by sleeping with one or two pillows between the knees to help take the pressure off your pelvis.
Pregnancy massage can help reduce the tightness in the muscles around the hip, lower back and buttock which, in turn, relieves pain, making it much more comfortable to sleep and move around during the day.
If you have any questions about massage and hip/lower back pain please contact our friendly therapists at Embody Health.
Irritation or compression in the sciatic nerve – which is very common in pregnancy – can result in pain, numbness, tingling and burning sensations starting in the buttock and continuing down the back of the leg to the feet.
As the sciatic nerve originates in the lower back and travels through the buttocks to the lower limbs and feet, many different types of sciatic pain – which, fortunately, pregnancy massage can ease – may be experienced. In pregnant women, pressure most often occurs on the sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle (deep in the buttock) and the sacral nerve roots from sacroiliac joint dysfunction (the joints at the back of the pelvis).
To prevent and relieve sciatica, it is crucial to keep the sacroiliac joints well aligned and the buttock muscles loose. Massage can decrease tightness in the muscles around the lower back and buttocks, which helps restore balance and stop the irritation or compression on the nerve.
Pregnancy also alters body posture, making it more likely than normal that a woman “holds her” body incorrectly. As poor posture can lead to irritation of the sciatic nerve, good posture is imperative while pregnant, particularly during walking, standing, and sleeping.
If you have any questions about massage and Sciatica please contact our pregnancy massage specialists on (08) 9380 9994.
Pubic Symphysis and Sacroiliac Pain
In the second and third trimesters, many women are affected by pain in both the front (pubic bone) and back (sacroiliac joints) of the pelvis.
The pelvis is held together with fibrous joints made up of ligaments. During pregnancy, the body produces the hormone relaxin to allow these ligaments to stretch and the pelvis to expand during the birthing process. The laxity of the ligaments means that the joints in the front and back of the pelvis move easily, often causing aggravation. Some women experience a clicking or grinding sensation, as well as pain in the pubic region and/or the sacral region (lower back) and it typically shows up when the joints move, such as during walking or when standing on one leg.
The joints in the pelvis can also become slightly misaligned during pregnancy by the sudden contraction of, or tightness in, the muscles of the upper leg, lower back and hip. Preventing this tightness through pregnancy massage can help keep pain at bay.
Keeping balance in the muscle groups in the upper leg and the lower back can also help keep the pelvis aligned and reduce pain. This can be achieved with pregnancy massage and prescribed stretching (yoga) may also be beneficial. In some cases, pelvic support belts, which can be prescribed by physiotherapists, may be useful.
If you have any queries about the use of pregnancy massage to help manage pubic symphysis and/or sacroiliac pain please call and speak with our friendly therapists.
Weight gain during pregnancy often gives rise to leg cramps.
Caused from the fatigue of carrying the extra weight of your baby, they can show up at any stage of pregnancy but may worsen as the pregnancy progresses. They can also be aggravated by the expanding uterus putting pressure on the vessels that return blood from your legs to your heart, as well as the nerves leading to your legs.
While leg cramps can occur at any time of the day or night, they are more likely to be noticeable at bedtime.
Massage during pregnancy is helpful in reducing the tightness of the leg muscle and easing the pain that often arises the day after a bad cramp. Pregnancy massage also boosts blood flow to the muscles of the legs, decreasing the chances of experiencing cramps.
While too little calcium, magnesium, potassium, or too much phosphorus is thought by many to cause leg cramps, there are no reliable studies to support these theories at this time. However, you may wish to discuss calcium/magnesium supplements with your doctor/midwife or naturopath if you are experiencing discomfort from leg cramps during pregnancy.
Our experienced pregnancy massage therapists are happy to chat to you about leg cramps and massage therapy – phone us on (08) 9380 9994.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pregnancy
Hormonal changes and increased fluid retention in pregnancy can give rise to Carpal Tunnel syndrome which shows up as pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand.
It is caused by compression of the median nerve in the already-narrow carpal tunnel which pregnancy massage has been shown to ease.
Massage can help reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel by reducing swelling and loosening forearm muscles, decreasing the pressure on the nerve.
If you have any questions about how pregnancy massage can be useful in dealing with Carpal Tunnel syndrome, please contact our specially-trained therapists at Embody Health.