Trigger Points in Pregnancy

I think it is safe to say we all know trigger points can be a real pain. When we think about trigger points we commonly think of the big muscles like the gluteals, traps, back (erectors) and ignore the tiny muscles that can also cause pain. The thing is, the size of the muscle does not correlate to the pain a trigger point may create and when we consider pregnancy and the pelvic floor that pain can be severe.

One common complaint amongst pregnant women is buttock pain and sciatica. While there can be a variety of causes, one of those causes includes a trigger point in the piriformis. This muscle can create pain over the buttock, hips and posterior thigh.  Speaking of buttock pain, the rectus abdominis which undergoes a lot of change during pregnancy can cause back pain and also refers to the upper or lower back, buttock and can even cause nausea. Meanwhile the coccygeous muscle which can cause buttock pain and pain with sitting or defecation. These trigger points can be caused by a lumbar disc derangement, compensatory movement patterns or a variety of other reasons.

Another common issue that is highlighted in pregnancy is posterior thigh pain. The obturator internus is another muscle that can cause vaginal or anal pain and can cause a burning or aching sensation in the thigh as well as generalized pelvic pain.  Meanwhile, groin pain is an unfriendly side effect of pregnancy that can be caused by iliopsoas trigger points, internal and external oblique trigger points, hip adductor trigger points or even by the round ligament. The external abdominal obliques can also create heartburn symptoms and belly pain.

Whether you are having heartburn or butt pain, ruling out trigger points is another important part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This is one reason BIRTHFIT recommends chiropractic during pregnancy. While your pain may be something as benign as a trigger point, it is important to rule out other causes such as lumbar disc derangement which can create trigger points. Our goal at BIRTHFIT is to keep you moving safely and effectively during the motherhood transition and this is best done by not fighting through pain.

If you are struggling with pain during pregnancy or the postpartum period, reach out to your local Regional Director for a pelvic floor rehab specialist or chiropractor in your area who can help you differentiate and treat these pains.


Lauren Keller, DC, DABCA @birthfitchicago



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