Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle and Low Back Pain

Low back and pelvic girdle pain is common during pregnancy and can start as early as the first trimester.

Causes

  • Changes in hormones during pregnancy cause the ligaments in the pelvis to become slightly more stretchy or lax, which means that the pelvis and spine move a bit more than before pregnancy.

  • The muscles that attach to the spine and pelvis need to work harder to account for these changes. If they aren’t quite strong enough pain may be experienced.

  • Another cause of pregnancy-related pain is due to the weight of the baby and changes in your posture.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower back, sacro-iliac joints (back of the pelvis), pubic bone (front of the pelvis).

  • The pain can radiate down the leg

  • The aggravating movements are typically: standing from a chair, standing on one leg to dress, rolling in bed, fast walking.

Differential Diagnosis

  • Sacro-iliac dysfunction

  • Lumbar radiculopathy

  • Spinal stenosis

PROmotion Assessment 

·  Education about what is contributing to the pain

·  Manual therapy such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, taping or the use of a pelvic belt

·  Exercise program focusing on strength and mobility for the spine and pelvis

·  Advice to keep active and keep moving!

How to Manage

·  Education about what is contributing to the pain

·  Manual therapy such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, taping or the use of a pelvic belt

·  Exercise program focusing on strength and mobility for the spine and pelvis

·  Advice to keep active and keep moving!

References

  1. VLEEMING, A., ALBERT, H., ÖSTGAARD, H., STURESSON, B. & STUGE, B. 2008. European guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic girdle pain. European Spine Journal, 17, 794-819.