The image is iconic. A pregnant woman, in profile, places her hands on her own lower back and rubs it gently. She’s in pain.
But there’s help, according to Dr. Melissa A. Voutsalath, D.O., a primary care outpatient physician with UCHealth who practices at UCHealth Primary Care in Monument.
Osteopathic physicians are trained in osteopathic manipulation to help ease back pain for pregnant women
Providing pain relief for pregnant women is, in part, what she does.
“All osteopathic physicians are trained in osteopathic manipulation, but not all osteopathic physicians decide to incorporate those skills into their practice,” she explained. She does, however.
And pregnant woman, with their rapidly changing bodies, are prime candidates for such healing techniques.
“Pregnant women undergo significant physiologic and structural changes during pregnancy,” Voutsalath said. “Commonly, women have low back and pelvic pain that occurs with structural changes as they progress through pregnancy. Other problems include but are not limited to sciatica, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Osteopathic manipulation can be a great adjuvant therapy to help relieve these symptoms.”
OMT (osteopathic manipulation therapy) can be used throughout all trimesters of pregnancy, even during labor and post-partum, Voutsalath said. “I follow a set technique protocol that has been studied through the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Studies have shown pain relief as well as possible decrease in duration of labor.”
An abstract from the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association says that OMT provides multiple benefits, including reduced pain, less time in labor and fewer complications of labor. Dr. Voutsalath, who is part of Colorado Health Medical Group, UCHealth’s physician practice, said it is not necessarily more difficult to work on a pregnant woman than one who is not pregnant.
Dr. Melissa Voutsalath, DO, practices at UCHealth Primary Care in Monument.
“But you do need to modify certain techniques and for the most part we do not perform high velocity, low amplitude thrusts on pregnant women. Instead, soft tissue, muscle energy and myofascial techniques are utilized,” she added.
Though she is fairly new to the Monument clinic, she is hoping to get the word out to local doctors of obstetrics and gynecology that she can perform this therapy.
After all, what pregnant woman would turn down that kind of relief?