I can’t count the number of times I have been told “my back has never been the same since my last pregnancy”. Well, sometimes it isn’t “the last”, sometimes it’s “the first”, or some other number.
Who has more alignment and biomechanical challenges than a new mother? Enormous hormonal changes and an unforgettable expansion of the pelvis are necessary for the delivery of the baby but sometimes they also create a perfect storm of pelvic malalignment and hypermobility that usher in a new chapter in a woman’s life, characterized by a laundry list of chronic pain problems. The majority of new mothers need help re-attaining a neutral pelvic position, re-establishing structural stability and relearning efficient movement patterns.
The ilium is one side of the pelvis. It can rotate forward or back independently of the rest of the pelvis. When it rotates forward it can make the leg on that side of the body seem longer. When it rotates backwards the leg on that side appears to be shorter.
It would be similar to driving your car with one front tire turned “out” and the other turned “in”. Accelerated wear of the tires would be only the beginning of your problems in such a case.
Malalignment of the pelvis creates malalignment (and usually pain) in the spine. If the two sides of the pelvis are effected unequally then the legs will appear to be different lengths. Functionally different leg lengths can cause painful problems in the foot, ankle, knee and/or hip as well as the back.
The most malaligned pelvis I ever saw had one side of the pelvis rotated too far forward and the other rotated too far backward. When I met her the owner of that pelvis had such severe hip pain that she had been a wheelchair for seven months. Three months later she was pain-free and the wheelchair was ancient history. Although this is the only case I have ever had graduate from a wheelchair, I’ve helped literally thousands of patients who previously struggled with alignment-related chronic pain problems.
Very commonly women are directed towards yoga or Pilates classes to remedy these problems. However, movement for movements sake is not the answer. The painful muscle spasms the body has created are primarily intended to splint and protect the existing malalignment from getting worse. Movement that is not moving the body out of said malalignment will be actively resisted. Traditional chiropractic addresses movement more specifically, but often overlooks the bigger alignment picture. The best path away from these problems must begin with the establishment of improved alignment in the body.
Alignment, mobility, stability, motor control, strength and finally endurance. This is the order in which the key physical characteristics must be retrained. Any other path is inefficient at best. Assess, correct and support the correction(s) with education and repetition before reassessing once again. This is an approach to rehabilitation that has a real chance of bringing about lasting improvements.
If you have a mother, know a mother or are a mother whose “back has never been the same”, feel free to give me a call. Help is possible.
Yours in health,
Geoff Dakin BPE RMT
Calgary Registered Massage Therapist
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