Adam C. Young, MD
Alan C. League, MD
Albert Knuth, MD
Alejandra Rodriguez-Paez, MD
Alexander E. Michalow, MD
Alexander Gordon, MD
Alexander J. Tauchen, MD
Alexander M. Crespo, MD
Alfonso Bello, MD
Ami Kothari, MD
Amy Jo Ptaszek, MD
Anand Vora, MD
Andrea S. Kramer, MD
Andrew J. Riff, MD
Angela R. Crowley, MD
Angelo Savino, MD
Anthony Savino, MD
Anuj S. Puppala, MD
Ari Kaz, MD
Ashraf H. Darwish, MD
Ashraf Hasan, MD
Bradley Dworsky, MD
Brian Clay, MD
Brian J. Burgess, DPM
Brian R. McCall, MD
Brian Schwartz, MD
Brian Weatherford, MD
Brooke Vanderby, MD
Bruce Summerville, MD
Bryan Waxman, MD
Bryant S. Ho, MD
Carey E. Ellis, MD
Carla Gamez, DPM
Cary R. Templin, MD
Charles L. Lettvin, MD
Charles M. Lieder, DO
Chinyoung Park, MD
Christ Pavlatos, MD
Christian Skjong, MD
Christopher C. Mahr, MD
Christopher J. Bergin, MD
Craig Cummins, MD
Craig Phillips, MD
Craig S. Williams, MD
Craig Westin, MD
Daniel M. Dean, MD
David Beigler, MD
David Guelich, MD
David H. Garelick, MD
David Hamming, MD
David Hoffman, MD
David M. Anderson, MD
David Raab, MD
David Schneider, DO
Djuro Petkovic, MD
Douglas Diekevers, DPM
Douglas Solway, DPM
E. Quinn Regan, MD
Eddie Jones Jr., MD
Edward J. Logue, MD
Ellis K. Nam, MD
Eric Chehab, MD
Eric L. Lee, MD
Evan A. Dougherty, MD
Garo Emerzian, DPM
Gary Shapiro, MD
Giridhar Burra, MD
Gregory Brebach, MD
Gregory J. Fahrenbach, MD
Gregory Portland, MD
Harpreet S. Basran, MD
Holly L. Brockman, MD
Inbar Kirson, MD, FACOG, Diplomate ABOM
Jacob M. Babu, MD, MHA
Jalaal Shah, DO
James M. Hill, MD
James R. Bresch, MD
Jason G. Hurbanek, MD
Jason Ghodasra, MD
Jason J. Shrouder-Henry, MD
Jeffrey Ackerman, MD
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Jeffrey Staron, MD
Jeffrey Visotsky, MD
Jeremy Oryhon, MD
Jing Liang, MD
John H. Lyon, MD
Jonathan Erulkar, MD
Jordan L. Goldstein, MD
Josephine H. Mo, MD
Juan Santiago-Palma, MD
Justin Gent, MD
Justin M. LaReau, MD
Kellie Gates, MD
Kermit Muhammad, MD
Kevin Chen, MD
Kris Alden MD, PhD
Leah R. Urbanosky, MD
Leigh-Anne Tu, MD
Leon Benson, MD
Lori Siegel, MD
Lynn Gettleman Chehab, MD, MPH, Diplomate ABOM
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Marc Breslow, MD
Marc R. Fajardo, MD
Marie Kirincic, MD
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Mark Mikhael, MD
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Mehul H. Garala, MD
Michael C. Durkin, MD
Michael Chiu, MD
Michael J. Corcoran, MD
Michael O'Rourke, MD
Nathan G. Wetters, MD
Nikhil K. Chokshi, MD
Paul L. Goodman, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA
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Peter Thadani, MD
Phillip Ludkowski, MD
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Rajeev D. Puri, MD
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Thomas Gleason, MD
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Todd Simmons, MD
Tom Antkowiak, MD, MS
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Van Stamos, MD
Vidya Ramanavarapu, MD
Wayne M. Goldstein, MD
Wesley E. Choy, MD
William P. Mosenthal, MD
William Vitello, MD

What You Need to Know About Back Pain During Pregnancy

Get in-depth answers to frequently asked questions about back pain during pregnancy from a trusted source: IBJI’s Dr. Mehul Garala, a fellowship-trained and double-board certified physician with over 10 years of experience helping moms-to-be with back problems find relief.

Mehul Garala, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician with Fellowship Training in Spine and Sports Medicine

Dr. Garala sees patients at the IBJI Glenview doctors’ office.

Q&A with Dr. Mehul Garala

What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Dr. Garala: There are many possible causes of back pain during pregnancy including weight gain, in which the spine and pelvis now have to support the added weight.

As the baby grows, it can lead to abdominal muscle separation which may contribute to pain. There are postural changes due to the shift of the center of gravity as well as hormonal changes that play a role.

In particular, there is a hormone released during pregnancy called relaxin that makes the ligaments in the pelvic region relax and stretch to accommodate the growing fetus, which can cause pain involving the sacroiliac joints.

Learn about other causes of lower back pain

Which Part of the Back Hurts During Pregnancy?

Dr. Garala: The low back is a common area, however as mentioned the sacroiliac joints can be impacted (these are the main joints in the buttock region). The pelvic floor, which is the sling that helps keep the pelvic organs in place, can also be a source of problems.

What Types of Pain Do Pregnant Women Experience?

Dr. Garala: It depends on the potential source of the pain and how it manifests. A lot of women have pain confined to the back or buttock region. However, if a nerve is being compressed, then a woman can have pain that shoots down her leg. 

How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Dr. Garala: Generally, approximately 80 percent of people are going to have back pain sometime in their life. Throw in the additional potential causes for pregnant women and it is a common occurrence.   

What Are Some At-Home Treatments for Women Who Have Low Back Pain in the Third Trimester?

Dr. Garala: I recommend patients be proactive to maintain their flexibility and muscle strength.

I explain how maintaining proper posture, using ergonomic chairs with good back and arm support, sleeping with a body pillow on their side (to help with spinal alignment), and wearing comfortable and loose clothing can make a difference. Because of the growing abdomen and the pelvis region, we want to avoid constricting areas that are susceptible to injury.

I also recommend comfortable low-rise shoes. I advise against high heels or completely flat shoes because that can further affect posture during pregnancy.

Find out what are the symptoms of lumbar herniation

When Should Someone Seek Care for Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Dr. Garala: We are always available to see a patient if there is a concern no matter how much pain the person is experiencing.  However, I would recommend an evaluation if the pain is intolerable, radiates down the legs, is associated with numbness/tingling or weakness, or if the woman has bowel or bladder dysfunction.

How Do You Treat Patients With Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Dr. Garala: It depends on their presentation of what we think is the main pain generator.  However, physical therapy for an individualized treatment program is usually recommended.

Pregnancy limits the treatment options that are otherwise available. The safest and really only medication to take is Tylenol. Anti-inflammatories and potential injections that require X-ray guidance are contraindicated. That is why I think it is better to be proactive in trying to prevent low back pain than reactive because there are limitations with treatment.  

Read about other options for treating aches in your back when pregnant

Get Back Pain Relief

If you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy, IBJI’s experienced orthopedics team can help.

Explore IBJI’s spine and back pain services

Make an appointment with Dr. Garala