“Yea, that’s normal.”
A common, though not comforting, refrain pregnant women often hear when they tell a doctor or a midwife about the ever-changing symptoms they experience throughout the 9 months they’re sharing their body with another human. As a first-timer, I was particularly upset when I heard this from my midwife as I described the sharp, shooting pain running down my backside any time I moved. I had heard it in my other visits when I answered the question, “so, how are you feeling?” but this time was different – this was completely debilitating, and it being normal wasn’t going to cut it.
It started with a yoga class on Christmas Eve morning. As I walked out, I noticed a funny ache in my lower back. It wasn’t exactly a new pain – I had been experiencing lower back soreness almost from the beginning. All of the sudden, as I walked towards my car, I realized I could barely walk without shooting pain. My husband and I drove to my parent’s house, and as the day went on my condition went from bad to worse. I spent the entire week surrounding Christmas (which I had taken as vacation from work) in excruciating pain, laying on a heating pad and taking great care to move as little as possible. As I Googled, I realized this pain was coming from my SI joint and seemed a lot like sciatica. As I went deeper into the internet hole, I saw for many women who experience it, sciatic pain could last throughout the entirety of their pregnancy, and I was only about 4 months in.
As I pressed my midwife for options when she told me it was “normal,” she suggested acupuncture and chiropractic. For the past 2 years my business, Team 624 Communications, has been doing the marketing for The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia – helping them promote their acupuncture and chiropractic services to women all over the Philly area – so I knew exactly who to call. I texted Co-Founder and Acupuncturist Steve Mavros, saying I needed to see him. My next call was to Dr. Barry Silverman, Co-Founder, chiropractor and tai chi instructor, and he answered my call right away. He walked me through how to care for myself until I could make it in, advising me to move away from the heat I had been applying to ice. I made an appointment to see them both on different days, and spent the week feeling sorry for myself.
When I walked in for my first chiropractic appointment, I was a little nervous, but so excited by the thought of some relief. Barry assessed me, and said he could feel where my SI joint was out of alignment. He made sure I was comfortable and got to work. He did a couple of adjustments, and I heard some cracks. It didn’t hurt at all, and I left not immediately relieved of pain, but definitely hopeful that I’d start to feel better. The next visit, which was a few days later, I saw Steve first for an acupuncture session. I laid on my side in a quiet, dimly lit room with small needles along my back, the top of my head and a spot in my ankles. Steve explained why he was placing them in each spot, turned on the heat lamp (the BEST part of acupuncture) and left me to relax for about 30 minutes. After my session was finished, I got up and whether it was just in my head or not, I felt almost no pain. From there I walked down the hallway and had another chiropractic session. Before I left, I told Steve, with a little bit of disbelief in my voice, how great I was feeling. He said, “we always see more success when we treat patients together, combining acupuncture and chiropractic.” I went back for one more dual session, and since then (I’m now just over 37 weeks pregnant) I’ve had no sciatic pain.
Pregnant women are bombarded with unsolicited advice, comments on their physical condition and things they’ve “heard” about this or that. At the risk of being one of those people – I will say that I believe strongly in the power of chiropractic care and acupuncture during pregnancy. Not only did it offer a very tangible solution to my problem, it was time I took for myself – to sit in a quiet room, to have people care for my well-being and to just simply connect with my body. If you’re pregnant and any of these things sound enticing to you, I’d check out The Healing Arts Center. You can look at their Prenatal Self-Care Package to schedule 3 sessions each of acupuncture and chiropractic (I highly recommend scheduling them together – as that’s when I felt the biggest results.) Most insurance plans will cover chiropractic, so all you should have is a copay. If you’re not sure what to expect, you can always call the office and they will walk you through exactly what the experience is like.
Best of luck out there pregnant ladies – take care of yourself.