Solihull mother-of-three Liza Wilson tells Diane Parkes how osteopathy took the pain out of pregnancy when she developed complications.
LIZA Wilson was 20 weeks into her pregnancy when she developed pain in her pelvis and lower back. But rather than live with it, she decided to seek help.
Liza visited osteopath Jeremy James at his practice in Solihull where regular sessions helped to alleviate some of the discomfort.
And 36-year-old Liza, whose baby Zoe is now three months old, advises any mother-to-be to seek help as soon as they experience problems, rather than just accepting it as part of being pregnant.
“There is so much information in books for pregnant women but I am not sure they have the time to read it all and we are not that body aware,” she says.
“There is a tendency just to accept all the aches and pains as part of pregnancy. But there is actually a lot that can be done to alleviate pain and discomfort.”
Liza and her husband Mark, aged 41, a partner and financial director, have two older children – Alexander, aged three, and Zachary, aged two.
But it was while carrying Zoe that Liza suffered her worst pain problems as she developed symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) in which the ligaments in the pelvic area over-relax during pregnancy, causing discomfort and pain.
Liza, a yoga teacher, already knew of Jeremy through her friends and students – and the fact that he specialised in osteopathy in pregnancy.
“It was when I was about 20 weeks pregnant and I was experiencing pain from SPD,” she says. “That was why I came to see Jeremy initially but I also had a lung infection which led me to lean forward quite a bit.
“I put on a lot more weight with Zoe and that caused lower back pain and I was getting a lot of stress and tension in my jaw.
“I noticed the difference with the third pregnancy. I think I overdid the yoga teaching and was also running around after two toddlers. Because I was often carrying them around, I was always lopsided. I never felt completely aligned.”
Which is where Jeremy was able to help. Regular osteopathic treatments helped him to improve that spinal alignment and alleviate pain and tension throughout the body.
“It really helped with pain relief, especially in the lower back,” says Liza, of Solihull. “I was constantly hunched over because of my lungs and was finding it difficult to sit properly, but my lower back really improved.
“After each session I just felt so much better and I would sleep better.”
After giving birth to Zoe, Liza returned for another appointment which she believes helped her SPD.
“After having Zachary I struggled a lot with my pelvis staying open for a few weeks, so after Zoe I thought it would take a while. I saw Jeremy about five weeks after having Zoe and my recovery was a lot faster.”
Liza has this advice for other mums who may be struggling with pain.
“There are a lot of benefits of osteopathy in pregnancy,” she says. “My message to any mums would be not to wait until the pain is too bad. Pregnant women don’t just have to put up with it, there is a lot that can be done for pain relief.”
Pregnancy can present the body with a whole number of problems which can be aided by osteopathy, says Jeremy, who earlier this month moved his Solihull Osteopathic Practice to new premises in Homer Road.
“Lower back pain, pelvic pain and SPD are concerns,” he says. “The weight of the baby and changes in posture can also cause pain in the shoulders and strain in the back.”
In many cases these problems are aggravated as the baby’s weight increases, but Jeremy says women should seek help as soon as they experience pain.
“Very often women assume the pain is a normal part of pregnancy but that is not the case,” he says. “The sooner they can have treatment the better. Not only can it help with pain relief but I can also give them exercises to do at home.”
James tailors the treatment for pregnancy.
“I use different techniques for pregnancy,” he says. “You need to adapt the techniques for pregnant women.”
An osteopath for 16 years, Jeremy trained with the British School of Osteopathy where he gained experience of working with issues surrounding pregnancy.
“They had an expectant mothers’ clinic every week so I had plenty of opportunities to work with real pregnant women,” he says. I never chose to specialise in it but it has developed in that way.
“Once you have a reputation for successfully treating pregnant women then it is word of mouth. Pregnant women share their experiences at places such as ante-natal classes and pass on your reputation.”
James, who also treats babies and offers cranial osteopathy for youngsters, adds that it is also a good idea for new mums to have a check-up with an osteopath a few weeks after birth.
“The body has been through the shock of birth and it is a good idea to check the alignment of the body and the spine.”
* Solihull Osteopathic Practice holds an open day this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Jeremy and associate osteopath Chelena Chan will be demonstrating and explaining treatments at the centre at 29 Homer Road, Solihull. Contact 0121 705 4499.