Physiotherapy for Back Pain During Pregnancy

Physiotherapy for Back Pain During Pregnancy

Many pregnant women report experiencing back pain. Reports even show that over 50% of all women experience a degree of back pain in pregnancy. This problem can be quite distressing and uncomfortable. Therefore, finding effective pain relief is crucial.

Fortunately, physiotherapy in Richmond, BC, uses techniques that can help relieve pain and improve your function. The treatment is also safe and considers your condition.

This article explores the common causes of back pain during pregnancy and how physiotherapy can help.

What Are The Causes Of Back Pain During Pregnancy?

If you experience back pain during pregnancy, it may be due to one or more of these:

Hormonal Changes

When you become pregnant, your body experiences hormonal changes. The dramatic increase in hormone production relaxes the ligaments in your pelvic joints, making them more flexible for the baby'seventual passage. However, if the joint becomes too flexible, it can result in back pain.

Weight Gain

Being pregnant comes with weight changes. Your spine has to support this weight, straining your lower back. Also, the weight of your growing baby will add extra pressure to your pelvis and back, causing pain.

Postural Changes

Pregnancy affects your posture. The weight increase affects your center of gravity, and you may gradually change your posture without noticing.

Also, you may be unable to walk, stand, or sit as usual in or in your condition. Unfortunately, poor posture can affect the alignment and stability of your spine, resulting in lower back pain during pregnancy. 

Physical Activity Level

It is quite understandable that pregnancy may slow you down and affect your physical activity levels. However, if you lived a sedentary lifestyle before getting pregnant, you are more likely to experience back pain in pregnancy. 

Muscle Separation

Your rectus abdominis muscles are two parallel sheets of muscles. During pregnancy, your uterus expands, causing an expansion in the muscles. The muscles may also separate along the center seam, from your rib cage to the pubic bone, worsening your back pain. 


Stress causes tension in the body, including the back. If you experience back spasms in pregnancy, it may be a result of stress. Also, you may notice that the degree of back discomfort in pregnancy increases with increasing stress.

How Common Is Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Reports show that more than 50% of women experience back pain in pregnancy. Usually, this discomfort is more common in the second and third trimesters. It can also last until delivery or even beyond.

If you experience back pain in pregnancy, the pain can range from mild to severe. It can also interfere with your daily activities, mental health, and sleep quality.

Can Physio Help With Pregnancy Back Pain?

Physiotherapy Surrey, BC, can help you with back pain during pregnancy. When you visit your physiotherapist in Richmond, they will first start with a diagnosis. This diagnosis helps them identify the cause and type of pain. Your physiotherapist will also be able to identify complications that may affect your pregnancy or delivery.

After diagnosis, your physiotherapist will come up with a treatment program. This program may include exercises, manual therapy, or electrical stimulation. It all depends on what you need.

It is important to note that physiotherapy for back pain during pregnancy is a progressive treatment. Your physiotherapist will monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to help you have a pain-free pregnancy.

Your physiotherapist will also educate you on improving your posture and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. You will also learn how to prevent and manage your back pain.

How Can I Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Your physiotherapist in Richmond is experienced in several techniques to relieve back pain in pregnancy. Some of these techniques include;

Manual Therapy

Your physiotherapist can apply movement techniques to your joints to help relieve pain. These techniques include mobilization, manipulation, or massage. During treatment, your physiotherapist will apply a suitable one to the soft tissues of your spine and pelvis to help relieve back pain. 


Physiotherapy New Westminster, BC, may use modalities to ease pain and promote healing during pregnancy. These modalities apply a form of heat to your back to provide pain relief. Common modalities used for back pain relief in pregnancy include heat, cold, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. 

Heat therapy can help improve pain by increasing circulation in your back. This modality also soothes and relaxes your muscles to ease tension and stiffness. Cold therapy also reduces swelling in your back and numbs the area to relieve pain.

Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves. Your physiotherapist will use a device to apply the waves to your back. These waves may then move through your body in the form of heat to reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, and relieve pain.

Electrical stimulation is another modality used to relieve pain during pregnancy. Your physiotherapist will administer this treatment safely to relax your muscles and relieve pain. This modality also stimulates your body to produce endorphins, which is the body’s natural painkiller.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Your physiotherapist can recommend exercises that may provide back pain relief in pregnancy. These exercises are safe; your physiotherapist will only recommend those within your capacity. Ensure you don’t overexert yourself and also follow your physiotherapist's instructions on how to do these exercises safely.

What Are The Best Physiotherapy For Pregnancy Back Pain Exercises?

Physiotherapy exercises in back pain target your pelvic floor muscles and core to improve your strength and relieve pain. Stretching exercises can also improve your flexibility to ease tension in your back.

Some of the best physiotherapy exercises for back pain during pregnancy include; 

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Your physiotherapist may recommend pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles and support your pelvic organs and lower back. These exercises may include pelvic tilts.

You can do pelvic tilts on your back during your first trimester. However, during your second and third trimester, exercise while sitting or standing. 

How To Do Pelvic Tilts

  • Lie on your back with your feet on the floor while bending your knees. If you are sitting in a chair or standing, ensure your feet are hip-width apart and that your weight is equally distributed through your feet on the floor. 
  • Exhale and contract your abdominal muscles while rotating your pelvis upward
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds
  • Relax to the starting position
  • Perform 10 repetitions. 

Core Stability Exercises

These exercises train your abdominal and back muscles. Your physiotherapist may recommend core stability exercises to help you stabilize your spine and pelvis. Because these exercises target your core, ensure you do them safely and not overexert yourself. 

A safe core stability exercise your physiotherapist may recommend is the standing bicycle. This exercise is safe for all trimesters.

How To Do The Standing Bicycle

  • Stand straight and keep your feet hip distance apart. Keep your hands behind your head and inhale.
  • Bring your left elbow to meet your right knee as you crunch. Exhale while doing this.
  • Go back to your original standing position
  • Repeat this exercise on your left knee and right elbow
  • Perform 10 to 20 repetitions

Stretching Exercises

Your physiotherapist may recommend stretching exercises in pregnancy to improve your flexibility. These exercises are safe and can ease tension in your lower back. It is best to start slowly and gradually increase the reps when doing stretches.

However, before doing stretches, inform your physiotherapist if it is safe for you. Low back stretch is one of the best stretching exercises for relieving back pain in pregnancy.

How To Do Low Back Stretch

  • Start on your hands and knees. Keep your head in line with your back
  • Pull in your stomach and round your back slightly
  • Hold this position for about 20 seconds
  • Relax your stomach and back. Keep your back as flat as possible, and do not let it sag down.
  • Perform 5 to 10 repetitions

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises can boost your energy levels and provide pain relief. This type of exercise increases your heart rate and blood flow. The best and safest aerobic exercises during pregnancy include walking, biking, and swimming.

You can do these exercises for 20 to 45 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week. However, ensure you only exercise at a mild to moderate level. You should avoid exhausting yourself.

How To Prevent Back Pain In Pregnancy

Although back pain is quite common in pregnancy, following the measures highlighted in this section can reduce its occurrence. You can prevent back pain in pregnancy by;

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Wear flat shoes for even weight distribution
  • Balance the weight between 2 bags when carrying shopping backs
  • Keep your back straight with adequate support when sitting
  • Use a mattress that supports your weight
  • Have a warm bath or massage


Pregnancy is a fragile state, and you need all the care you can get. If you are experiencing back pain, visiting your physiotherapist can help minimize the discomfort. Your physiotherapist will diagnose your condition and recommend a suitable treatment plan. 

The treatment may include exercises, modalities, and manual therapy. Your physiotherapist at Cambie Physiotherapy will also educate you on proper posture and how to manage the pain at home.