Pregnancy Back Pain Physiotherapy

Many women who are pregnant experience back pain. Back pain in pregnancy usually occurs in the joints of the lumbar spine, at the sacroiliac joint (where the pelvis meets the spine), or at the pubic symphysis (the front of the pelvis). Women can experience back pain during pregnancy for several reasons, some examples include:

  • Weight Gain: The weight gain women experience during pregnancy, as well as the growing fetus in the uterus can increase pressure on the back, which can lead to back pain.
  • Posture Changes: As the fetus grows in your uterus, your centre of gravity shifts and most people adjust their posture to compensate for this, which can lead to muscle strain and back pain.
  • Hormone Changes: Your body makes a hormone during pregnancy called relaxin, which relaxes ligaments. This is important to loosen up the pelvic joint, in order for you to be able to deliver your baby. However, other joints loosen up as well, including your back joints, which can lead to instability and pain.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Pregnancy Back Pain

Physiotherapy can effectively help manage pregnancy back pain. A Physiotherapist will take a detailed history and complete a comprehensive assessment, to determine the root cause of your back pain. With the information gathered from the assessment, the physiotherapist will develop an individualized treatment plan to treat your back pain. Based on your assessment and your symptoms, your individualized treatment plan may include:

  • Manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue release, mobilization or manipulation
  • An individualized exercise program including, muscle strengthening and stretching.
  • Education on activity modification, posture and sleeping positions
  • A maternity belt may be recommended
  • Modalities such as heat or ice
Pregnancy Back Pain

Symptoms of Pregnancy Back Pain

In general, back pain experienced in pregnancy is similar to back pain felt in non-pregnant women. Many pregnant women commonly experience low back pain around waist level in the centre of their low back. The surrounding muscles may also feel achy or sore, and tender to the touch. In some cases pregnant women may experience symptoms of sciatica, with pain radiating down their leg. Symptoms of pelvis pain is typically deep pain that is felt below and to the side of the waistline, and/or below the waistline on either side across the tailbone. This pregnancy pelvic pain can be felt on one or both sides.

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