Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it can come with its share of challenges, one of which is low back pain. This discomfort is not uncommon during pregnancy, and understanding its causes is crucial for effective management. Given such let’s explore four common reasons why someone may experience low back pain during pregnancy, highlighting the importance of tailored treatments based on the specific cause.

Cause #1: Sacroiliac Pain

The release of the hormone Relaxin during the first trimester can lead to increased flexibility in ligaments, particularly around the two sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis and the pubic symphysis at the front. The constant stretching of these ligaments can result in low back pain, especially during movement. Sacroiliac belts and specific exercises recommended by a physiotherapist can provide relief. It’s essential to note that Relaxin affects ligaments throughout the body, potentially increasing the risk of injury.

Cause #2: Irritated Facet Joints

The growing size of the stomach during pregnancy can lead to increased arching of the back, putting strain on facet joints. Pain is often exacerbated by standing and walking, while sitting or bending forward may offer relief. Pelvic tilt exercises, manual therapy, and specific movements can be beneficial. The pain, when present, can spread into the legs, but is most intense in the low back.

Cause #3: Irritated Disc

Extended periods of sitting or bed rest during pregnancy can contribute to irritation of the spinal discs. Pain may radiate into the legs and if it does the pain in the back will be more intense than the leg pain. With this cause, the pain is aggravated with activities like sitting, bending forward, and coughing. Improved posture, lumbar support, manual therapy, and certain exercises can alleviate the discomfort.

Cause #4: Nerve Root Irritation

If the irritation of a disc progresses, it can lead to swelling around a nerve root, causing constant and intense leg pain that is worse than the back pain. Unlike the other causes, assuming specific postures initially provides relief, while stretching exercises may aggravate the pain. This type of pain is less common and may take weeks to months to recover fully.

Check out this 1 minute video which reviews some of the causes of low back pain during pregnancy.


When experiencing low back pain during pregnancy, it’s crucial to identify the specific cause to tailor an effective treatment plan. Consulting with a physiotherapist can provide valuable insights and personalized strategies for managing your unique situation. Whether it’s sacroiliac pain, facet joint irritation, disc-related discomfort, or nerve root issues, seeking professional guidance ensures the best outcomes for a pain-free pregnancy.

If you’re in the Saskatoon area, North 49 is here to help. Feel free to call us at 306-343-7776 or conveniently book an Initial Assessment online through our website 24/7. Your journey to a more comfortable pregnancy starts with understanding and addressing the root cause of your low back pain.