Pregnancy, Low Back Pain and Osteopathy

November 14, 2018

Scott Toniazzo, Osteopath Malvern East

Written By Scott Toniazzo

As osteopaths, we treat a wide range of people at all different stages of their lives, including pregnancy. The human body is amazing, and pregnancy is just one of those moments we say, “Wow!”

Unfortunately, many women experience pain in relation to their pregnancy. (Mogren & Pohjanen, 2005) It can start at any time and affect a range of areas. Over the years, labels have been given to this pain. In essence though, the body is undergoing change – there are hormone changes and mechanical changes. (Glinkowski, 2016) These then impact on other systems on the body – digestive, circulatory, respiratory. The whole body and all its systems are involved as the body grows a new little human! (Or 2… or 3…)

So, can osteopathy help? We can’t stop the changes that can lead to some of the causes of discomfort (they are just part of the pregnancy), but we can help to provide some relief and advice. (Hensel, 2016)

Low Back Pain During Pregnancy

Low back pain (and spinal pain in general) through pregnancy is common. Our spine has natural curves in it, and these are divided into the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. As your baby grows, your centre of gravity shifts forward, and this increases the angle of curvature of the lumbar spine. (Chang, 2015) In addition to this the abdominal muscles are stretching, providing less support for your back. Once this happens, all curves of the spine increase. This can lead to pain in your lower, mid and upper back, as well as your neck. Your joints are taking more load than they used to, and this can cause pain.

As the baby grows, extra pressure can also be placed on the diaphragm (which attaches to thoracic and lumbar vertebra, and to your ribs). When you start to connect the dots, it makes sense that your back and ribs can be sore!

Pelvic Instability During Pregnancy

Pelvic girdle pain and pelvic instability are other common musculoskeletal issues that can arise in pregnancy. Pain can be felt at the front of the pelvis and in the groin area, or at the back of the pelvis near the sacroiliac joints. The instability is caused when the ligaments become lax, and the muscles around the pelvis struggle to provide the support required. Manual therapy can have an impact, as can support belts. (Mens JM, 2006)

How Can An Osteopath Help?

To help with these musculoskeletal complaints, osteopaths can perform soft tissue techniques, stretching, joint articulation and others, as well as provide postural advice and exercises which may help to alleviate some of the discomfort. In most cases women report that most of these issues resolve after birth. But in the meantime, an osteopath may be able to help reduce the discomfort!

At The Osteo Collective we treat many pregnant women, and utilise a Belly Pillow to allow you to lie face down during your treatment. It can be used throughout your entire pregnancy. If you would like to speak to us prior to making an appointment, you can contact us here. You can make a booking to see Scott Toniazzo – Osteopath Malvern East or Todd Stewart – Osteopath Cheltenham.

New Parent Appointments: More Time, Same Cost

After your child is born, if you still require osteopathic treatment, our Malvern East clinic offers special longer appointments for new parents, but no extra cost (just in case your little one needs a feed or to be settled).

Osteopathy can be beneficial for low back pain during pregnancy
Long new parent appointments are available in Malvern East


The information in this blog post is not meant to replace tailored, professional advice. It was written to help explain just a few of the musculoskeletal complaints that can arise during pregnancy and provide some background knowledge on them, along with how a manual therapist might help in these situations. It is always best to speak with your health professional if you have questions or are concerned.


Chang, H.‐Y. e. (2015). Factors associated with low back pain changes during the third trimester of pregnancy. Journal of advanced nursing, 1054-1064.

Glinkowski, W. M. (2016). Posture and low back pain during pregnancy—3D study. Ginekologia Polska, 575-580.

Hensel, K. L. (2016). Pregnancy Research on Osteopathic Manipulation Optimizing Treatment Effects: The PROMOTE Study Protocol. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 716.

Mens JM, D. L. (2006). The mechanical effect of a pelvic belt in patients with pregnancy-related pelvic pain. Clin Biomech, 122-127.

Mogren, I., & Pohjanen, A. (2005). Low back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy: prevalence and risk factors. Spine, 983-91.


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