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The most common cause of lower back and pelvic pain is lifting an object that is too heavy, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians 1. Traumatic injuries and certain medical conditions can also cause discomfort in these areas. A common pain-generator for both lower back and pelvis pain is the sacroiliac or SI joint--the joint between the sacrum and the innominates, or hip bones, at the base of the spine 34. Many conditions can cause pelvic and back pain.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Ankylosing spondylitis can cause back and pelvis pain 2. According MedlinePlus, ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine and other joints throughout the body 2. Ankylosing spondylitis causes swelling in the intervertebral discs, the spinal facet joints and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis 2. Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune condition, which means that it causes the immune system to attack the very tissues it should be protecting 2. Ankylosing spondylitis occurs more frequently in men than women 2. The condition is also more severe in men and tends to run in families.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
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Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can cause back and pelvis pain 34. The website Spine Health states that dysfunction or aberrant motion in the sacroiliac joint may cause low back, pelvis and leg pain 34. While the exact cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction-related pain is unclear, it's believed that too little joint movement or too much joint movement plays a significant role 34. According to the site, Sports Injury Clinic, sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be caused by trauma, biomechanical problems, hormonal imbalances or inflammatory joint disease 34.
Common signs and symptoms associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction include aching or sharp pain on one or both sides of the lower back, pain that radiates into the buttocks, difficulty performing certain activities of daily living such as putting on shoes or turning over in bed and tenderness in the ligaments surrounding the sacroiliac joints 34. Spine Health notes that sacroiliac joint dysfunction occurs most frequently in young and middle-aged women 3.
Pregnancy can cause back and pelvis pain. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pelvic and back pain are among the most common pregnancy-related conditions. The APA reports that between 50 and 70 percent of all pregnant women experience at least some back and pelvis pain during their pregnancy. Although back and pelvis pain can occur at any point during a pregnancy, it's most common in the third trimester, when the weight of the unborn child is reaching its maximum.
Exercises approved by a qualified health care professional can help prevent or reduce pregnancy-related back and pelvis pain.
- Pregnancy can cause back and pelvis pain.
- Although back and pelvis pain can occur at any point during a pregnancy, it's most common in the third trimester, when the weight of the unborn child is reaching its maximum.
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- American Academy of Family Physicians: Low Back Pain
- MedlinePlus: Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Spine Health: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
- Sports Injury Clinic: Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Sembrano JN, Reiley MA, Polly DW, Garfin SR. Diagnosis and treatment of sacroiliac joint pain. Current Orthopaedic Practice. 2011;22(4):344-350. doi:10.1097/bco.0b013e31821f4dba.
- Arthritis Foundation. Ankylosing Spondylitis.
- Cleveland Clinic. Sacroiliitis. Updated March 13, 2018.
- Kennedy DJ, Engel A, Kreiner DS, Nampiaparampil D, Duszynski B, Macvicar J. Fluoroscopically Guided Diagnostic and Therapeutic Intra-Articular Sacroiliac Joint Injections: A Systematic Review. Pain Med. 2015;16(8):1500-18. doi:10.1111/pme.12833
- American Physical Therapy Association. Physical Therapist's Guide to Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. Updated October 17, 2019.
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.