The sacral iliac joint is very strong and is made up of the sacrum, ilium, pubis and is composed of ligaments that make it an extremely stable joint which only allows small movements.
During pregnancy the ligaments within this joint change and become a lot more flexible which allows room for the baby to grow and for birth to happen.
Symptoms of Sacral iliac joint discomfort:
- Lower back pain and posterior pelvic pain
- Deep dull ache within the lower back
- Stiffness of the lower back and hips
- Pain radiating to the groin, pubic area and into the buttock
- If this pain worsens it can mimic sciatica symptoms and can give a dull ache down one or both legs.
What aggravates the Sacral iliac joint:
- Driving – especially when using the clutch
- Moving from side to side in bed
- Moving from sitting to standing
Why does this happen?
Hormonal and mechanical changes throughout pregnancy
- These hormonal changes make ligaments more flexible and change the joint from a very stable joint to more unstable.
- Mechanical changes-During pregnancy our posture changes to accommodate the growth of a baby, we have a tendency to arch our backs which increases tension and strains on the Sacral iliac joint.
The abdominal muscles become stretched throughout pregnancy to make room for the baby. This stretching can alter the strength of the muscles which are used to support your back and posture, but due to compensations of the body and the changes of posture this can create lower back and pelvic pain.
- With the increases of strain and compensations happening around this joint existing lower back pain can worsen.
- As you progress through pregnancy hormonal changes increase (especially the hormone Relaxin) to prepare your body for child birth, they relax and soften ligaments within the pelvis and sacral iliac joint which can alter the position of the sacral iliac joint including the pubis position which can cause intense pain in the groin and pubic area which is often referred to as Synthesis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) which is very common within pregnancy due to all these changes happening.
All these changes usually resolve within 6 weeks after birth however occasionally through a difficult birth these ligaments can be strained and cause further pain down the line post birth.
What can I do to help this?
- Sleep with pillows between your legs – it will help to support your hips and pelvis.
- Take regular breaks – to give your body time to rest and recover
How can osteopathic Treatment help?
- Your osteopath can help your body adapt to these changes, by helping to maintain your posture and make you feel more comfortable.
- Your osteopath can advise you on strengthening exercises early in pregnancy on your hip flexors, gluteals and inner thigh muscles which will help you compensate for the changes which are happening and make you feel a lot more comfortable.