Posterior Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy? Never heard of it

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Aches and Pains are common during pregnancy. Aside from the usual back pain, posterior pelvic pain in pregnancy is also a common occurrence among expecting mummies. Even though it is common, ask around and most people wouldn’t have heard about it before. Why is Posterior Pelvis Pain less heard of and spoken of?


posterior pelvic pain

What is Posterior Pelvic Pain?

Posterior pelvic pain is less spoken of because it is often confused as back pain. It is often confused as back pain because posterior pelvic pain is often felt at the lower back. Posterior pelvic pain occurs due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is estimated to be responsible for 15-30% of back pain among adults and is common among pregnant women, older adults with inflammatory arthritis and people who have had spinal surgeries performed before.

Where are my Sacroiliac Joints?

Your sacroiliac joints are the joints in your pelvis which joins your sacrum to your illium. Your sacrum is the lower part of your spine and your left and right illium bones make up the most of your entire pelvis. The sacroiliac joints mainly act as shock absorbers between the upper body, the pelvis and the legs. It helps to transfer weight and movement forces between your upper body and your legs when you move.

Why does Posterior Pelvic Pain occur during pregnancy?

Posterior Pelvic Pain occurs during pregnancy due to hormonal changes in your body. During pregnancy, your body changes drastically in order to accommodate the growing baby and to prepare itself for the impending childbirth. One of these hormonal changes are that your body’s joints and ligaments around the pelvis become looser. This creates a wider pelvis which aids in a smoother childbirth process but at the same time, causes pelvic instability. This pelvic instability changes your movement mechanics and affects the pressure placed on the sacroiliac joints. Also, the additional weight gain from your growing baby also adds additional stress and pressure on your joints.

What are the symptoms of Sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction affects the sacroiliac joints of your pelvis and these joints are located at the 2 dimples of the lower back. Thus, posterior pelvic pain often feels like lower back pain and can occur on one or both sides of your back. In some cases, the pain radiates down to the buttock and the back of the thighs. The pain is usually aggravated by prolonged standing, climbing up stairs, running or taking long and wide strides.

How do I differentiate Posterior Pelvic Pain and Back Pain?

Posterior pelvic pain is hard to pinpoint and is difficult to diagnose as it is commonly mistaken for low back pain. The most effective way to get an accurate diagnosis and to determine the cause of your pain is to speak to a medical professional. Do speak to your gynaecologist about your pain and as they will have a better understanding of your condition. If suitable, your gynaecologist can refer you to a physiotherapist or a specialist who will be able to better diagnose the cause of your pain by conducting a series of tests which are designed to test the stability, movement, and level of pain in the sacroiliac joints and surrounding structures. 

CT scans and X-rays are also effective in determining sacroiliac joint dysfunction, however expecting mummies are advised to avoid diagnostic imaging procedures to minimise the baby’s unnecessary exposure to radiation.

If you are unable to consult with a medical professional at this point in time, it is also possible to narrow down the likelihood of posterior pelvic pain. Some other accompanying symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction which causes Posterior Pelvic Pain are as follows:

  • Deep, boring pain in the back of the pelvis (around the sacroiliac joints)
  • Pain that radiates down to the groin and thighs
  • Pain that gets worse with actions that involve pelvic movement such as standing, walking, climbing stairs, resting on one leg, getting in and out of a low chair, rolling over and twisting in bed, and lifting. The pain should lessen when you are lying down in bed.
  • In the event of inflammation in your sacroiliac joint, you may experience stiffness and a burning sensation in the pelvis.

How can I relieve Posterior Pelvic Pain?

In the next article [Treatment for Posterior Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy], we will cover the available treatment methods for sacroiliac joint dysfunction as well as methods for pain relief. If you’ve enjoyed this article, do subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media to keep up to date with our latest content!