Pregnancy Related Musculoskeletal Pain

How To Deal With Pregnancy Related Muscle Pain

Pregnancy is an exciting time for any woman or family, but it brings with it many anatomic and physiological changes that can hinder a woman’s quality of life. During pregnancy, many women suffer from musculoskeletal pain due to the intense changes the body endures throughout the process, this includes but is not limited to: arthralgias, back pain, separation of the pelvis, transient osteoporosis, and tendonitis. This month, we’ll explore how we can manage the pregnancy-related pain while limiting the use of oral medications.




Women usually gain in the range of 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. A shift occurs in the woman’s centre of gravity. Hormonal and biomechanical alterations strain the axial skeleton and the pelvis which are pivotal in maintaining good posture. The body’s adaptions can overload a normally well-designed system, which causes acute pain and possibly chronic pain.  Symptoms vary from person to person, but commonly patients experience pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.



Traditionally, treatment includes some oral medications including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).   Patients who have trouble sleeping are often provided medications that modulate sleep and pain.   However, during pregnancy, the uses of oral medications is often limited as many medications can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the foetus. 

Specialized physical therapy programs can focus on stretching, strengthening, bracing and the use of modalities such as heat, ice and massage to ease the pain.  We can also use the same ultrasound technology your obstetrician uses to see the baby to diagnose many of musculoskeletal disorders that arise during pregnancy.  We also utilize this same technology to provide accurate guided injections to provide relief for moderate to severe pain.   

We’ll focus treatment on limiting oral medications, working mainly with the right physical therapy and offering an ultrasound-guided (non-radiation) approach to interventions when necessary.