Lower back pain is often a symptom that pregnant women experience during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancies. Treatment options are often limited during this time because of the potential dangers to the baby. However, chiropractic adjustments using the Cox Flexion-Distraction Decompression technique can offer the pregnant woman incredible benefits with very little risk.
Developed in 1973 by Dr. James M. Cox, a well-respected, published chiropractor, this technique is a research-based, non-invasive approach to lower back and leg pain relief, even during pregnancy. In the standard procedure, the patient is positioned face down on the chiropractic table; however, because this is nearly impossible for a woman in her second or third trimester to manage, this position is modified for her to lie on her side during treatment.
Once the patient is positioned, the chiropractor gently performs the decompression procedure, which eliminates or significantly reduces the level of pain by releasing the nerves. Depending on the severity of pain, the patient may be seen daily or two to three times per week. Within one month, she could experience about a 50 percent reduction in her pain levels. If the procedure does not appear to be working effectively, the pregnant woman will be evaluated for compliance with the treatment plan and/or the need for further testing.
Since its development, several research studies, including some funded by the United States government, have shown that the Cox procedure reduces disc pressure to as low as 192 mmHg and widens the spinal canal area by as much as 28 percent. In addition, disc height increases, and the spine is realigned. All of this results in improved posture and the ability to move more freely, resulting in relief from the pain and a generally improved sense of well-being.
Compared to other methods of pain management, the Cox technique works more quickly. Research shows that the average patient will show maximum improvement in approximately 29 days in only 12 visits to the chiropractor. More than 90 percent of patients reported significant improvement within the first three months of treatment.
53 percent of chiropractors state that they used Flexion-Distraction Decompression in their practices, making it the third most frequently used method of spinal manipulation. Even so, pregnant women who are experiencing lower back or leg pain should make sure that the chiropractor they are working with is trained and experienced in using the Cox technique on pregnant patients. The doctor should also be licensed to perform treatments in the state in which he or she is practicing.
Chiropractors are trained to view the human body holistically. Not only do they focus on relieving the symptoms of pain; they also work to find and eradicate the root cause. In addition, chiropractors encourage their patients to live healthy lifestyles, which include eating properly, not smoking, getting sufficient physical activity and managing stress – all of which are especially important for pregnant women. Ultimately, non-surgical, hands-on care by a trained chiropractor is the best option for pain management during pregnancy.