top of page

What Causes Back Pelvic Pain and How Do You Treat It?

Medically reviewed by: Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG

Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG is the founder and owner of The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia. Dr. Delgado is an experienced, board-certified OB/GYN and has spent the past 10 years dedicating her time to understanding complex and persistent pelvic pain.

A woman's back lying on a massage table, while two sets of hands massage the center of her back.
Image Source: Benjamin Wedemeyer via Unsplash

While anywhere between 75% and 85% of Americans will experience some form of constant lower back pain in their lifetimes, the data shows that the pain itself is usually temporary and can improve without the need for surgical intervention.

That said, back pelvic pain is still something to take seriously. Whether you're experiencing pain in your lower back or the discomfort radiates to your pelvic area, understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial to achieving back pain relief.

Let's explore the anatomy of the lower back and pelvis, delve into the common causes of back pelvic pain, and discuss effective ways to find relief. We’ll cover at-home treatments for back pain, as well as how medical professionals can help you heal.


Read more:


Understanding the Anatomy of the Lower Back and Pelvis

To comprehend back pelvic pain, it's crucial to have a basic understanding of the complex anatomy of the lower back and pelvis, how each component works, and what happens when something goes wrong.

A medical diagram of the different vertebrae found in the spinal column.
Image Source: Hopkins Medicine

The lower back, also known as the lumbar spine or lumbar vertebrae, consists of five vertebrae labeled L1 to L5. These vertebrae are connected to the pelvis, which is a basin-shaped structure formed by the ilium, sacrum, and coccyx bones. 

The joints, ligaments, and muscles in this area work together to provide stability and support for the spine and pelvis. It cradles and protects vital organs like the bladder, intestines, and reproductive organs.

In addition to its protective function, the pelvis is crucial for mobility. It connects the vertebral column to the lower limbs, serving as a bridge for walking, running, and other activities. The pelvis also plays a vital role in childbirth, accommodating the passage of the baby during delivery.

Common Causes, Symptoms, and Signs of Back Pelvic Pain

Back pelvic pain can have various causes, and understanding them can help you identify the source of your discomfort. Some common causes include:

  • Muscle strains

  • Herniated discs

  • Sciatica

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

  • Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of back pelvic pain can range from dull aches to sharp, shooting pains. You may also experience:

  • Stiffness

  • Limited mobility

  • Muscle spasms in the affected area

It's important to pay attention to any accompanying symptoms, such as numbness or tingling sensations, as they can often provide valuable insights into any underlying causes.

Scientific research has shed light on the factors contributing to back pelvic pain and the most effective treatments available. Studies have shown that poor posture, excessive sitting, and obesity increase the risk of back pelvic pain developing.

Additionally, pregnancy and childbirth can place significant strain on the lower back and pelvis, leading to pain and discomfort.

Achieving Back Pain Relief

Finding relief from back pelvic pain starts with resting and avoiding activities that exacerbate your pain. Applying heat or cold packs (preferably cold packs) to the affected areas can work to reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort. 

Over-the-counter pain meds, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can provide temporary relief. NSAIDs that are commonly used to treat both back and neck pain include:

  • Motrin & Advil

  • Aleve

  • Voltaren

  • Mobic

  • Celebrex

Despite the convenience offered by over-the-counter drugs, you should never overlook consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any medication regimen.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can go about treating back pelvic pain.

1. Treating back pelvic pain at home

There are several home remedies and self-care techniques that can help manage back pelvic pain. 

  • Gentle stretching exercises, like Pilates or yoga, can improve flexibility and strengthen muscles supporting the lower back and pelvis. 

  • Maintaining good posture and utilizing ergonomic furniture can also reduce strain on the affected area. Staying conscious of your posture when you sit, stand up, and walk will help you build good habits that go beyond alleviating constant lower back pain.

  • Practicing relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and meditation, can help you alleviate stress and tension, both of which can contribute to back pelvic pain. When we experience stress, our bodies release hormones that cause us to tense up. Repeated episodes of stress can, as a result, lead to musculoskeletal issues in the back.

Again, you should never overlook the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional before you try to treat your back pelvic pain at home.

2. Physical therapy and exercises for back pelvic pain relief

Physical therapy can be a very effective treatment approach for back pelvic pain. A qualified physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program to target the specific muscles and areas causing your pain. 

These exercises may include: 

  • Core strengthening

  • Stretching

  • Stability exercises

These kinds of exercises will work toward improving your posture and alleviating pressure on your lower back and pelvis. Physical therapy can also include manual therapy techniques, such as massage or joint mobilization, to reduce pain and improve mobility.

3. Medications, medical interventions, and lifestyle changes for back pelvic pain

In some cases, medications and medical interventions may be necessary to manage back pelvic pain. Your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger pain medications, such as opioids or muscle relaxants, to provide relief. 

Injections of corticosteroids or local anesthetics can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to address underlying structural issues causing back pelvic pain, though this is not a common approach to relief.

Making certain lifestyle changes can also significantly reduce the risk of developing back pelvic pain or experiencing recurrent episodes. These include (but aren't limited to) the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can alleviate stress on the lower back and pelvis. 

  • Avoiding prolonged sitting or standing and taking frequent breaks to stretch and move around can also prevent the onset of pain. 

  • Using proper lifting techniques and avoiding heavy lifting whenever possible can further protect your back and pelvis from injury.

Seeking Professional Help for Back Pelvic Pain

If your back pelvic pain persists or worsens despite home remedies and self-care techniques, then it may be time to seek professional help. 

A healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician or a specialist in orthopedics or physical medicine, can evaluate your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. 

Remember, early intervention and proper medical guidance can greatly improve your chances of finding long-term relief from back pelvic pain.

Back pelvic pain can significantly impact your quality of life, but there are various treatment options available to help alleviate your discomfort. 

By understanding the anatomy of the lower back and pelvis, recognizing common causes and symptoms, and exploring effective treatment approaches, you can take proactive steps toward finding relief. 

When it comes to persistent back discomfort, whether it's you or someone you know, it’s crucial to recognize that seeking aid is not only acceptable, but essential: you’re not alone in this journey.

Authentic medical expertise has no genuine substitute, and weaving your own remedies into tailored, empirically grounded treatments creates an ideal approach for enhancing both your emotional equilibrium and physical health.

Our team at The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center is here to help you do just that.


bottom of page