From the Section on Women’s Health, American Physical Therapy Association

Pregnancy-back-painLow back pain is a common and uncomfortable side effect of pregnancy. However, there is no reason to allow back pain to interfere with your daily activities, work, or prevent you from getting restful sleep.

What Causes Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain?

The change in hormone activity during pregnancy prepares the body for birth but can also loosen joints and ligaments that support your pelvis and your spine. Pain can result from overuse of spinal muscles compensating for this lack of ligamentous support. Additionally, the increased abdominal weight that a woman carries during pregnancy results in a re-posturing to counteract the effects of gravity, placing increased pressure on the lower back. Pain may be felt only in the back, or may radiate into the buttocks, hip, groin, or legs.

How a Physical Therapist Can Help

As an expert in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives, a physical therapist can evaluate and design a plan of care to meet your specific needs. Your physical therapist will consider your medical history, your trimester (as it relates to the changes in your body), and your prior level of activity. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Recommendations for sleeping positions
  • Recommendations for modifying daily activities
  • Deep tissue mobilization to reduce muscular pain
  • Spinal or pelvic joint mobilization or stabilization
  • Exercises to help postural alignment and body balance
  • Exercises to improve strength, mobility and flexibility
  • Braces for support of the lower back and abdomen
  • Recommendations for fitness and maintaining an exercise program while pregnant
  • Recommendations for techniques or positioning during delivery to reduce strain on the low back
  • Follow-up evaluation and treatment after delivery for instruction in exercises to restore strength to compromised muscles

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional healthcare.