The sacroiliac (SI) joints connect your pelvis with your lower spine. Most of the time, these joints cause no problems. However, during pregnancy, these joints can become inflamed due to their increased mobility. In fact, SI joint pain is the top cause of pregnancy-related low back pain.
If you’re struggling with persistent low back pain during pregnancy, a pain management specialist is an ideal health provider to help you find effective solutions to get relief. The board-certified pain management physicians at Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, have a special understanding of sacroiliac pain.
Our interventional pain management team is trained to evaluate and diagnose SI joint pain. Once diagnosed, our team can create an individualized treatment plan to ease your pain, so it can take less of a toll on you during your pregnancy.
The basics of the sacroiliac joints
As mentioned, your sacroiliac joints connect your pelvis with your lower spine. There are two SI joints — one on each side of your lower spine — and they’re responsible for transferring weight between your upper body and legs.
A network of ligaments and muscles stabilizes and limits motion in the SI joints. Women's sacroiliac ligaments are less stiff than men's, allowing for the mobility required for childbirth.
The causes of sacroiliac joint issues during pregnancy
Sacroiliac joint pain during pregnancy is caused by a number of factors, the majority of which are related to the structure of your spine and how it changes during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy allow your joints to loosen and expand to accommodate a growing baby. However, this results in looser joints that do not provide as much support as they did previously. This can result in joint instability and pain in the SI joints.
Normal pregnancy weight places stress on the spinal joints, particularly the SI joints and lower back joints. Furthermore, your center of gravity shifts forward during pregnancy, putting even more strain on your SI joints, low back spinal joints, and hips.
Also, the way you walk and move changes to accommodate your pregnancy, which changes the compressive forces in your hips.
You’re more likely to experience pregnancy-related SI joint pain if you had symptoms of lower back pain prior to your pregnancy. Pregnancy-related low back pain typically begins between the fifth and seventh months. It’s usually felt in the lower back, hips, and buttocks, and it tends to worsen when sitting.
Managing pregnancy-related SI joint pain
If you have pregnancy-related SI joint pain, doing the following things may help you get relief.
Practice pelvic tilts
Pelvic tilts can help strengthen your lower back muscles, which can help provide stability and relieve pain. These are performed by lying on the floor with your back straight and your head facing the ceiling. Make sure your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the floor.
Then, as if sucking in your stomach, tilt your pelvis back. Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing your pelvis to a neutral position. Perform these a few times a day.
Wear a maternity support belt
Additionally, wearing a maternity support belt may help relieve pressure on your SI joints and also help you improve your posture. You can wear one while walking or performing other light activities.
Talk with our providers
If you have pregnancy-related low back pain, our providers can give you a thorough evaluation and recommend ways to help relieve your pain. Whether you have SI joint-related pain or another type of back issue, we can get to the root of what’s causing the pain and help you feel better.
You don't need to suffer with pregnancy-related back pain. To get the help you need, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Management Specialists today.