Pregnancy and Low Back Pain

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Peripartum Pelvic Pain

Pain in the pelvic region, for which a clear-cut diagnosis has not been made, is termed peripartum pelvic pain. This pain may start during pregnancy, or within three weeks of delivery.

Anatomically, pain presents itself most commonly in the following areas:

  • Sacroiliac joints at the posterior superior iliac spine (42%)
  • The groin areas (53%)
  • Coccyx (33%)
  • Pubic symphysis anteriorly (77%)
  • Occasionally other areas of the pelvic and upper legs
  • Rarely does pain occur below the knee. Pain tends to be influenced by posture and is associated with a waddling gait.
Although the site may vary, 80% of women experience localized back pain during pregnancy. Usually during the third trimester, 50% of pregnant patients will experience back pain. Short-term pain tends to be dominant, as postpartum back pain decreases to approximately 9%.

Disc Herniation

Although the pain may be severe, disc herniation, which is exceedingly rare during pregnancy, is not to be blamed. Disc herniation presents at the same rate as non-pregnant women—or at approximately 1:10,000 (one in 10,000).

Lumbar Lordosis

It has been thought that lumbar lordosis is increased during pregnancy. However, in reality with x-ray studies, it has been demonstrated that lordosis decreases during pregnancy. Therefore, overall pain may be due to the muscles and ligaments combined with some alteration in blood flow to the pelvic musculature and ligaments.


Many treatment options are available, including:
  • a pelvic belt (by prescription)
  • exercise
  • appropriate rest
  • medication
  • massage
  • chiropractic
  • standard back exercises
Chiropractic care and massage therapy are extremely helpful during and after pregnancy. We have special tables to accommodate for pregnancy. Patients are instructed to avoid excessive weight gain, exercise to strengthen the back muscles, maintain correct posture, and to wear sensible shoes (not high heels).

Some activities do cause or aggravate pain. The most common are: 30 minutes of standing or walking, carrying a full bag of groceries, standing on one leg, climbing stairs, turning over in bed, intercourse, bending forward, stepping in or out of bed, and driving for 30 minutes.

Dr. Kaster can outline a treatment plan to help you recover and remain pain-free. Make sure you have regular check-ups, and tell him if you are not getting better.

Do you suffer from pain? Professional stress and pain relief are just a call away.

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