What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy


Have you breezed through pregnancy without any pain or discomfort? You’d be extremely lucky and in the minority if you have! Even in the absence of a diagnosable back problem, feeling tight and very uncomfortable by the end is pretty hard to avoid.

Woman experiencing back pain during pregnancy. Her hand is clutching her side due to pain.

The main cause of back pain during pregnancy

A hormone called Relaxin increases from early in pregnancy, helping the soft tissues like ligaments and muscles loosen up, and become softer and more flexible. This is particularly important for the pelvis, allowing for a better delivery. However, this increased laxity also leads to easily strained joints and / or sprained tendons, causing inflammation, pain and reactive muscle spasm. I treat women very early in pregnancy who experience exactly this issue. Due to the inability to take pain relief I advise regular ice packs for the sore areas, which acts as a painkiller and helps the tissues to heal.

As a pregnancy progresses the posture of the pelvis changes, leading to a forward tilt and an increased lumbar curve, causing extra pressure on the base of the spine. The abdominal muscles become less active and the back muscles end up very tight, adding to the likelihood of experiencing pain or back pain during pregnancy.

Woman having treatment for back pain during pregnancy

How to help treat back pain during pregnancy

Seeing a practitioner who is experienced in pregnancy can help resolve these issues and they can advise you on how to manage them at home as well. I’ll often see patients through their pregnancy as a preventative measure, keeping their spines moving well, assessing any asymmetries that develop and helping reduce muscle tension. Gentle manipulation keeps the joints mobile and functioning well, reducing stiffness and nerve irritation. Massage eases muscle tightness and advice regarding ice and gentle stretches helps too.

Back pain during pregnancy is something that can be gently and easily treated, making for a more enjoyable experience and reducing the chance of back pain during labour!

Rachel is one of the founding directors and Principle Chiropractors of the b2 Chalfont Clinic. Rachel and Ben joined forces in 2012, after Rachel had spent 10-years gaining invaluable experience from working at different clinics under some incredible practitioners.
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