SI Joint Pain Pregnancy

Make an appointment

Is Pregnancy to Blame for Your SI Joint Pain?

Pregnancy engenders a variety of changes in a woman’s body as it prepares to nurture and deliver the new life within. While these changes are meant to enhance the pregnancy, they can cause other problems for the expectant mother. Changes to the pelvis and musculature can put undue stress on the sacroiliac (SI) joints that can cause SI joint dysfunction and deep pelvic pain.

Understanding Pregnancy as a Cause of SI Joint Pain

In order to understand how pregnancy can impact the SI joints, it is useful to take a look at where the joints are and how they are designed to perform. The sacroiliac joints form at the points where the sacrum region of the spine and the two ilium (hip) bones meet, one on the left and one on the right side of the spine. The two ilium bones are the major structures of the pelvis. The SI joints play a major role in supporting the upper body and helping to transmit motion through the hips and legs. There are several components to the SI joints, each of which is subject to uneven pressures that can cause friction, inflammation, wear and tear, and deep pain in the lower back.

The SI joints are basically opposing bony surfaces covered by cartilage and bound together by extremely strong ligaments. By design, SI joints have a narrow range of movement. During a pregnancy, however, the pelvis needs to prepare to become more flexible for delivery. This requires the SI joints to loosen so the pelvis can expand. It is this loosening that begins to create the condition for posterior pelvic pain.

This loosening of the SI joint ligaments is produced by a hormone called, appropriately, relaxin. This relaxation allows the pelvis to enlarge. At the same time, as the uterus grows, the core muscles that surround the pelvis become stretched. These changes weaken an area of the body that is normally capable of supporting our weight. Speaking of weight, the extra pounds acquired during pregnancy add to the stress on the SI joints. Also, as the body adjusts to accommodate these changes, the walking pattern can be altered. This puts an additional mechanical strain on the SI joints.

Pregnancy creates a condition known as hyper-mobility of the joint. Hyper-mobility simply means high movement. The ligaments that hold the SI joints together stretch out and become more elastic. While this relaxation is necessary for pelvic movement, it can cause undue friction within the joint, misalignment of the bones, uneven wear, and subsequent pain. There are also many nerves in proximity to the SI joints that can become irritated and painful. The range of pain can vary from dull to acute. During pregnancy, it is often described as deep, penetrating pain in the back of the pelvis, which centers on the SI joints.

SI joint pain can express itself on either the left or right side of the lower back. SI joint dysfunction can produce pain in the buttocks, groin, and thighs as well.

Pregnancy is just one of the many ways the SI joints can suffer wear and tear, inflammation, cartilage damage, and overall deterioration of mobility. If pregnancy is producing symptoms of pain in the lower back, get in touch with a medical expert in spine health. There are exercises and devices that can help minimize and relieve lower back pain during pregnancy. The good news is that this pain will typically dissipate within three months after delivery.



Tips for Relieving Posterior Pelvic/SI Joint Pain during Pregnancy at Home


  • Lie on your side with a pillow placed between your knees and another under your midsection.
  • To properly get out of bed, roll on your side with your knees bent up. Move your feet over the edge of the bed and push yourself up sideways with your arms.
  • To stand from a sitting position, sit on the edge of the chair. Keep your knees slightly apart. Lean forward until your head is directly over your knees. Keeping your back straight, push up with your arms. Keep your stomach tucked in as well.

Physicians Trained At Renowned Medical Schools

Get Relief Today: Call (949)-335-7500

Ask The Expert