pregnant woman at the doctor

Back Pain During Pregnancy

Along with the joy and excitement of being pregnant comes a certain amount of discomfort. In a great many cases this includes back pain. While for some women back pain means an occasional twinge or cramp, for others it can become a chronic problem that persists even after the baby is born. 

Because pregnant women are concerned about having any treatment that might affect the health of their babies, they are often prepared to put up with back pain, even when it interferes with their work or daily routine, believing it is part of the price they have to pay to be a mother.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we know differently. 

While invasive procedures and certain ingested or injected medications may be harmful to a growing fetus, our doctors are holistic practitioners who use several complementary medical treatments that are completely safe for use during pregnancy. If you are troubled by back pain during pregnancy, contact one of our skilled physiatrists to greatly improve your quality of life for the coming months. 

Reasons for Back Pain During Pregnancy

The changes your body goes through during pregnancy are a necessary and healthy preparation for delivery. Nonetheless, these changes make you more susceptible to back pain. Depending on your genetic makeup, pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries, you may also have a predisposition to the problem. The following factors affect all pregnant women, frequently resulting in episodic or chronic back pain:

Weight gain

During a normal pregnancy, women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Though most carry their “baby bump” proudly, the extra weight puts added pressure on the spine, often causing lumbar back pain. The weight of the growing baby and the enlarged uterus filled with amniotic fluid also increase pressure on the blood vessels and nerves in the pelvis and back. 

Postural Changes

Pregnancy shifts your center of gravity which in turn alters your posture and the way you move. In many cases, this may result in back strain, particularly if you bend over, lift heavy objects or stand for an extended period. Women whose work involves these movements, or who already have toddlers who require bending and lifting, may be especially prone to postural back pain.

Hormone changes

As your body gets ready for delivery, it secretes a hormone called relaxin that permits pelvic ligaments to relax and surrounding joints to loosen. Though a wonderful way of accommodating the birth process, the relaxin can cause ligaments that support the spine to loosen as well. Unfortunately, this loosening of ligaments can lead to instability and pain.

Muscle separation

Two parallel muscles, known as the rectus abdominis muscles, run from the rib cage to the pubic bone.  As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it stretches these muscles, sometimes causing them to separate an abnormal distance, worsening back pain.


Emotional stress is a known cause of muscle tension that may be experienced as back spasms or other back pain. Though pregnancy is usually a joyful time, it can also be an anxious one. Worries about the health of the fetus, relationship or financial difficulties, or just the changes the new baby will bring to your life may engender stress that precipitates or increases back pain.

Contact Us Soon — We Will Relieve Your Pain While Protecting Your Baby

Because at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine we are oriented toward relieving pain and restoring function noninvasively, we are the right choice when it comes to treating you during pregnancy. We are always aware that when you come to us pregnant we are treating two patients — you and your unborn child. We will never put either of you at risk.

We will diagnose your back problem through a physical examination and, if necessary, the judicious use of imaging, never through X-rays or CT scans since radiation may be harmful to your baby. The treatments we offer will be tailored to your condition. In most cases, we will be able to provide you with welcome relief through customized physical therapy and acupuncture. We have a history of successful outcomes with both treatments, often used in combination, and both are perfectly safe for your unborn child.