Your body is about to go through some major changes and this exciting time can unfortunately sometimes be associated with significant pain. It is estimated around 1 in 4 women suffer from some form of back pain during pregnancy.
One of the most common causes of pain during pregnancy is instability of the joints that make up the pelvis. This can lead to ‘sacroiliac joint pain’.
Anatomy of the pelvis
The sacroiliac joint is the joint where the bottom of the spine (the sacrum) attaches to the pelvis (the ilium).
This joint is usually very stable, as the sacrum slots into the ilium firmly and is held together by strong ligaments.
Changes during pregnancy
The obvious change to your body throughout pregnancy is the increase in load, particularly out front! This can change your centre of gravity and often force your lower back into increased extension (i.e. bottom out!). This postural change in itself can cause extra pressure on the joints, leading to pain.
The other major change is the release of a hormone called relaxin. This causes the ligaments in the body, in particular, the sacroiliac joint, to soften and relax. This is an important process, as it will allow a relatively large object (baby!) to come out through a relatively small pelvic canal.
Symptoms of ‘sacroiliac joint pain’
The combination of postural changes, increased weight and the ‘looser’ pelvis can lead to pain. Common complaints include:
- Low back pain
- Buttock pain
- Hip pain
- ‘Sciatica’ (pain shooting down your leg)
- Groin pain
- Pubic symphysis pain (pain deep between your legs)
Check out next week’s blog for information on how your Bend + Mend Physiotherapist can help reduce some of your pregnancy-related pain. Also, there will be some top tips which include: comfortable positions; simple stability exercises; and an introduction to the ‘SIJ belt’.