Leg pain during pregnancy

Leg pain during pregnancy can lead to a very embarrassing situation.

Lower extremity discomfort can mean anything from a joint pain, for example around the pubic bone, to groin or inner thigh pain, calf and foot tingling, and sciatica. A huge group of conditions, I hope you will agree.

The sources of pain can be vascular, muscular, joint and nerve in origin; again vast.

We'll start with the pelvis. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called relaxin that, believe it or not!, relaxes the ligaments of the pelvis. The reason is obvious. Baby has to pass through a rather small canal in the pelvis, and the three joints of the pelvis need to be able to stretch. A tight squeeze I think you'll agree.

Three joints? Yes, two identical mirror image joints near two prominent bony bumps, the sacroiliac joint anatomy, which you can feel low down in the pelvis, in the lower back. The third is where the two pubic bones meet in the front; the pubic symphysis. All three of these joints can be trouble makers, both during pregnancy and afterwards, and all of them can contribute to sacroiliac joint inflammation and leg pain during pregnancy.

Low back pain and leg pain during pregnancy is assumed by many to be inevitable, and there's nothing to be done. Accept it, it goes with pregnancy. You want to have babies? Then expect back pain.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In the first place every woman should and could start pelvic exercises, even before baby is a twinkle in the eye. In the planning phase, not only start thinking about a nursery, but also getting the body in shape.

The right exercises, now! Not any old exercises that may make you worse. If you sign up for our hot chiropractic tips, amongst a whole lot of other useful information, you will get some simple and safe back exercises. You'll find chiropractic tips in the navigation bar, now on the left, soon to be at the top.

"The sickroom becomes the scene of intense convictions; and among these, none, it seems to me, is more distinct and powerful than that of the permanent nature of good, and the transient nature of evil."

Harriet Martineau, 1802 - 1876

I'll wait! Go click and sign up for the tips, and come back so we can continue this saga. Meantime, I'll set up a picture of the pelvis for you. Come back here when you are done with tips and we'll continue with the subject of leg pain during pregnancy.

Okay. Signed up for the tips? Let's proceed. Here you can see the pelvis from the front. The sacroiliac joints are labelled, and the third joint which is called the pubic symphysis. It's in the front where the two large pubic bones meet.

Meantime, our leg pain during pregnancy casefile gives additional interesting reading.

Sacroiliac joint inflammation

Run your finger down from your navel, and the first hard bone you meet is what we're talking about. That may well be the cause of leg pain during pregnancy. And, if you ignore it, sacroiliac joint inflammation will start.

Leg pain during pregnancy

Is it tender? Here often is the source of leg pain during pregnancy. Slide your finger sideways, and deeper and lower. There are actually two pubic bones here on each side, one superior and one inferior. Here is an X-ray of the two pubic bones, or 'rami' as they are called. One pubic ramus, two rami, one superior and one inferior with a large hole in the middle.

Do you see them? You should because both have fractures in them. It hurts.

Here's an important aside. Painful fractures are the future of every woman who won't start as a young woman taking preventative action. Your little baby is going to suck it out of you, literally.

Three important things that every woman should do, or experience the sheer misery of osteoporosis and bone fractures. All women, including young child bearing lady, should consider the causes of osteoporosis.

  1. Start walking benefits every day; every day. Twenty minutes is considered sufficient. That's an extra twenty minutes unless you are already a fitness freak. Ouch, I hear you say. That's why I am at this stupid page. Walking hurts my leg. Just be patient please. We're getting there.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. Take a long look at our healthy living tips page. The world argues long and hard about what a healthy diet is, but at least be sure you have plenty of salad and fruit, and not too much animal protein and mostly the fruit fats; that means olive oil and avocados. That's all well researched. 

3. For the rest, cow's milk remains controversial. It causes allergies; have you got a frog in your throat? It's probably milk or a milk product that's causing it. I haven't settled it in my own mind, but don't blithely accept that dairy is all good. We're just not sure. Rather take some extra calcium; the right one. Talk to your pharmacist, and ask your doctor to prescribe it for you. Calcium carbonate is quite useless.

Incidentally, if you were even mildly obese when you fell pregnant, you have to be very careful if you want to lose some pounds whilst pregnant or breast feeding. Do it under a nutritionist's guidance. After the birth of your child, your milk is very rich in fatty acids, and cutting out all the fat in your diet to lose weight will have a very detrimental effect on your baby's brain; it's mainly fat remember, especially the omega 3 fatty acids.

Three pecan nuts a day, ground flaxseeds, avocados and fatty fish will provide all your needs of omega 3. Because they go rancid so quickly you must look for freshly cracked and ground sources. Like house guests and fish they go off after three days.

Love to read? Chiropractor Bernard Preston writes fascinating stories about health that will intrigue you. These are books you will read from start to finish. Promise! 

This is going to be a long session. I've just taken a tea break. Want to join me? Movement remember reduces sacroiliac joint inflammation! Joint fixation increases it. Click here to try some of this lovely tea with no milk and no sugar at DRINKING WATER ... and then scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Right, got your tea? I've got large mug of weak black tea with a mandarin sliced in it today. I use lots of different fruits in my tea. It's quite sweet enough without sugar.

Where were we? Oh yes, the pubic rami as a cause of leg pain during pregnancy. Now these little bones are the origin of some very important muscles that run down the inner thigh. They are called the Adductors and often are a great source of leg pain during pregnancy.

Quite often during pregnancy, the pubic bones and symphysis, and the  rami and adductor muscles become extremely painful. Perhaps I should emphasize that; very sore. What's more don't believe your doctor if he says that leg pain during pregnancy is just part of the deal, and you must accept it.

There's some bad news, too. If you don't deal with it now, then making the next baby is likely to be extremely painful. This is a very treatable syndrome. I'm talking about significant relief within a few days or certainly a couple weeks.

Sacroiliac joint inflammation is a common complaint at the chiropractic coalface. But is it really swollen and red, or just painful?

It was a Swiss chiropractor Dr Fred Illi who first is credited with establishing that the sacroiliac is a freely movable joint. This was much contrary to medical opinion of the time, in the 1940's, which considered it immobile and incapable of causing low back pain.

New medical research now confirms that sacroiliac joint inflammation is probably the cause of about thirty percent of lower lumbar back pain.

At chiropractic help we strongly advocate mobilising and adjusting the fixated sacroiliac joint when it becomes stuck; it may well be the cause of your leg pain during pregnancy, so don't wait for that dreaded inflammation to set in.

Other research confirms that fixated joints become arthritic joints, immobilisation arthritis. Hyaline cartilage starved of nutrients first causes pain. If you don't listen, then irreversible degenerative arthritis sets in and sacroiliac joint inflammation. Pain is believe it or not your friend. It's trying to tell you something, and just turning it off, or ignoring it, is very silly.

From Chiropractic Tips you'll get some simple exercises to mobilise your sacroiliac joint. If they don't loosen it up, then see your chiropractor; not in six months' time.

  • Chiropractic Conditions is a central page at Chiropractic Help. It provides you simply and easily with the sorts of conditions that the average chiropractor would be treating.
  • Healthy Living Tips is another vital page at Chiropractic Help. Sparkling good health is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. Our healthy living tips page gives you some insights into different foods you could and perhaps should be eating.

Infantile Colic and Chiropractic

Aside. Do you know the Rule of Three concerning the inconsolable, crying baby? For more information, click here. COLIC CHIROPRACTIC ...

Back exercises during pregnancy

During the second exercise, when pulling both knees to the chest, merely open the thighs to allow room for the baby.

Searching for something specific? Type it in here. For example "vegetable protein" ...

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Why at 55 years of age do I have pubic symphysis pain like I did during pregnancy? I've experienced this pain off and on since my first pregnancy at 20 …

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

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Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.