Many pregnant women experience back pain. While there can be many causes of this pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction is one of the most common. The sacroiliac joints are located at the base of the spine in the small of the back. They connect the sacrum and pelvis. The purpose of theses joints is to create stability during movement and to absorb the shock of walking. Let’s examine the causes, symptoms and treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction In Pregnant Women.
Causes of SI Joint Dysfunction
There are two main causes for sacroiliac joint dysfunction during pregnancy. As the baby grows the uterus gets larger and stretches some of the main muscles near the pelvis. This makes the muscles weak and causes the joints to become loose. During pregnancy the pelvis must become large enough to allow birth to occur. To assist with this, hormones are released to cause ligaments to relax. Unfortunately this can contribute to less stable sacroiliac joints.
Symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction
Most women report sharp pains in the lower back and hip. The pain is most noticeable when walking, climbing stairs, and moving from a sitting to standing position. Symptoms are usually seen first in the second trimester and can radiate to other areas of the back or legs.
SI Joint Dysfunction Treatment
The most often used treatments involve physical therapy and exercises focusing on core stability. After working with a physical therapist patients can continue the exercises at home. A special belt is sometimes used to support the area in addition to the exercises. In extreme cases a physician may prescribe injections of steroids or pain medications directly into the sacroiliac joints. Other medications can be taken by mouth if the physician deems it safe during pregnancy.
Although it is not possible to prevent the release of the hormones that can cause this disorder there are some things that can lessen the pain. Since climbing stairs can be painful it is best to avoid them when possible. Walking slowly can help lessen the motions that have to be absorbed by the joints. Moving both legs together when getting in and out of vehicles makes it easier to avoid twisting the back. The best sleeping position is on the side while placing a pillow between the knees.
Length of Symptoms
The main cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is the release of pregnancy hormones. Most cases resolve on their own a few weeks after delivery. There are a few cases in which the joints do not return to normal. For those situations there is a surgical option that involves fusing the joints. This procedure should be considered as a last resort because it permanently limits the range of motion.
Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Waco, Texas. When Wendt’s wife was pregnant she experienced painful symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. She visited Advanced Pain Care, a Waco pain management center. Wendt highly recommends visiting the website for more information.