IS It SI Joint Dysfunction?
The ligaments that stabilize the SI joints stretch to allow for delivery of a baby. While they usually return to normal after giving birth, if they remain loose it may result in back pain after pregnancy and eventually can lead to SI Joint Dysfunction. If you have experienced pregnancy-related back pain, you are not alone. In fact most women experience back pain while pregnant, usually beginning in the second half of the pregnancy. There are a number of potential reasons that this pain occurs, including:
- Posture Changes – A growing abdomen can shift your center of gravity, temporarily causing you to change the way you move without evening knowing it. These changes can result in pain or strain on the back that it isn’t otherwise used to or designed for.
- Hormonal Changes – Soft tissues supporting the SI joint loosen due to increased levels of the hormones estrogen and relaxin.1 Though this is a normal human process, it can put abnormal wear and excessive stress on the SI joints. When that occurs, it may predispose the SI joint to sprain and back pain after pregnancy.
- Muscle Separation – As a woman’s uterus expands to prepare for childbirth, it triggers other processes that allow the abdominal muscles to separate. Though this doesn’t occur in every woman, when it does, the separation of those supportive muscles around the spine can make back pain seem worse.
Additionally, the weight gain and altered walking pattern many women experience as a result of their expanding abdomen in the final weeks leading up to childbirth can also predispose them to problems with the SI joints and back pain after pregnancy.
For most women, pregnancy-related SI joint pain will resolve with time and restoration of the body’s muscles after pregnancy. But for some, the pain may linger well after baby is born. If your back pain after pregnancy has become chronic, it is important to speak with a physician about a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.