Around half of all women who become pregnant will develop back or pelvic pain at some point during their pregnancy.
It is very common to get backache or back pain during pregnancy, especially in the early stages. During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.
Pain can be felt in the lower back or buttocks, or over the pubic bone (called Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction). The pain is often worse on one side and may even swap sides from one day to the next.
Pain that comes from the back is often different to pain that comes from the pelvis. Pelvic pain is often misdiagnosed as sciatica and as the treatment for these two conditions is quite different, it is important to have a full assessment from a qualified professional, experienced in the treatment of pelvic pain in pregnancy, in order to decide how to treat the pain.
Pelvic girdle pain ( PGP) is not harmful to your body but it can make it painful for you to get around. Women with PGP may feel pain over the pubic bone, across one or both sides of their lower back, in the area between the vagina and anus or spreading into the thighs. Pain can be worse on walking, going up or down stairs, standing on one leg, turning over in bed or moving legs apart when getting out of a car.
Back pain in pregnancy can be treated by protecting yourself and your posture. Physical aids like support belts can also work and can be prescribed by your Physiotherapist.
Pelvic Pain usually occurs when the pelvic joints are ‘unlocked’. Treatment involves learning how to ‘lock out’ your joints during your daily activities to control the pain. A support belt will help to control some of the movement in your pelvis and you will be taught exercises to stabilise your pelvis. Uneven stiffness in your back or hips may also cause the pelvic joints to become over-stressed and mobilisation of these joints will help to reduce symptoms.