Pregnancy related back pain

Pregnancy related back pain is very common. More than two-thirds of pregnant women experience lower back pain (LBP) and almost one-fifth experience pelvic girdle pain. These are two distinct although related problems. Such pain can interfere with work, daily activities and sleep.

Lower back pain is felt in the region of the lower spine, between the lower ribs and the buttocks, it may refer pain down into the buttocks or legs. Pregnancy related lower back pain can be aggravated by a variety of activities, such as sitting, standing or certain spinal movements Pelvic girdle pain (PGP), may be felt at the back and/or the front of the pelvis and is often made worse by rolling in bed, climbing stairs and standing on one leg and walking.

Pain comes from the pelvic joints or ligaments in pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain. Symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) is one type of PGP whereby the pain is felt at the front of the pelvis, where both halves of the pelvis join together.



It is thought that lower back pain in pregnancy is related to altered posture with the increased lumbar lordosis (exaggerated curvature of the lower spine) necessary to balance the increasing anterior weight of the womb, and inadequate muscle control of the stretched core muscles that support the lower back.

Pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy is linked to a variety of factors including a change in hormone levels which affect the ligaments that support the pelvis and/or a previous history of lower back pain or pelvic trauma. See below for what you can do to help.

What can I do?

Firstly it is important to identify the reason for the pregnancy related back pain- whether the pain originates from the spine, pelvic girdle or both. As chartered physiotherapists, specialising in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, you will receive a thorough assessment to identify your problem(s) and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment may include: manual therapy for pain relief, specific exercises depending on your problem, advice regarding aggravating activities and in some instances use of a belt to support the pelvis. We also have antenatal clinical pilates classes commencing on 31st of October 2015- which can be a great way to keep your muscles strong and alleviate the aches and pains associated with pregnancy.