Lower back pain that radiates to front pelvic area is a common symptom that affects many people during their lifetime. For some, low back pain can be an acute, short-term problem. Others have chronic, long-term symptoms. Appropriate testing can show whether the pain is coming from the hip, spine, or SI joint.
Several types of diseases and conditions can cause pain in the pelvic area. Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by more than one condition. It can arise as a result of digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or problems with the reproductive and urinary systems, which can also lead to abdominal pain.
Recently, doctors have discovered that some pelvic pain, especially chronic pelvic pain, can also originate from the muscles and connective tissue (ligaments) in the structures of the pelvic floor. Physical therapy can be a good place to start for some types of pelvic pain.
Chronic Pelvic Pain
If your pelvic pain is chronic, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or pelvic congestion syndrome may be the cause of your pelvic pain. In this case, physical therapy will not be effective. This is a more likely cause of pelvic pain in women. A common symptom is back pain and nausea. Several pain relief measures can be used to treat chronic pelvic pain. They include medications, physical therapy, nutritional therapy, and surgery. Other examples include lifestyle changes such as good posture and regular exercise, pain-relieving medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and physical therapy, including noninvasive techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and nerve stimulation therapy.
Physical therapy that relieves trigger points can provide relief from muscle pain. Some types of physical therapy teach mental techniques for managing pain. Such types include relaxation exercises and biofeedback.
Common Causes of Lower Back Pain That Radiates to the Front Pelvic Area
Because low back pain can cause pain in other parts of the body, including the front of the pelvis, it’s common to be misdiagnosed—especially if you’re not seen by health professionals who specialize in spine-related problems.
Lower back and anterior pelvic pain can come from many sources, including:
- Bulging discs and nerve root irritation
- Sacroiliac joint injuries and pelvic dysfunction
- Physiological changes during pregnancy
- Generalized low back pain and facet joint injuries
A thorough examination can determine whether an individual’s pain is caused by a problem with the spine, nerves, muscles, or sacroiliac joint. Physiotherapists are well versed in anatomy, biology, physiology and kinesiology (body movement). This allows them to pinpoint areas of concern when symptoms such as low back pain radiating to the pelvis. However, Dorsalgia may also be a cause.
Bulging Discs and Nerve Root Irritation
A bulging disc is a common age-related problem that can lead to nerve irritation. This type of disc injury can occur with or without nerve root irritation at any level along the spine. Keep in mind that a mild form of wide disc bulging is a normal part of the aging process. Fortunately, many adults undergo this degenerative change without experiencing any significant pain.
However, a moderate to severe bulge that is localized especially in the lumbar region can lead to inflammation that puts excessive pressure on the nerve roots. When this occurs, low back pain and referred pain often cause difficulty with weight-bearing movements. Altered sensations in other parts of the body may develop, such as pelvic pain and tingling or numbness in the extremities.
Sacroiliac Joint Injuries and Pelvic Dysfunction
A sacroiliac joint injury occurs when the joints that connect the lower (lumbar) region of the spine to the hip bones undergo abnormal structural changes – allowing the bones of the spine to rub against each other. In this case, the joint can stiffen and cause lower back and pelvic pain, as well as coordination problems. On the other hand, the ligaments in the joint can gradually loosen due to hormonal changes (e.g. pregnancy), causing pelvic or back pain during movement. However, it is also one of the most common causes of lower back pain that radiates to front pelvic area.
A hard fall on one side of the body can also lead to misalignment of the sacroiliac joint, resulting in persistent pain. This type of injury can cause inflammation that leads to constant pain in the lower back, pelvis, buttocks, or even upper thighs.
Pain associated with pelvic dysfunction may be felt while sitting, standing, or walking. It can also affect bladder control if not properly addressed. Over time, sacroiliac joint problems and pelvic dysfunction can alter core muscle activation, making it difficult to perform normal daily activities.
Physiological Changes During Pregnancy
The body goes through a whole series of physiological and postural changes during pregnancy. Hormonal changes primarily affect the beginning and course of pregnancy. Certain hormones can also cause the ligaments in the sacroiliac region to loosen.
This problem usually resolves after childbirth, but some women experience long-term discomfort caused by changes in the sacroiliac joint.
Weight gain during pregnancy can also strain the muscles in the lower back and hips, resulting in lower back pain that radiates towards the anterior pelvic area. Then there are uterine contractions – these can radiate through the back, pelvis and lower abdomen, especially if they are strong.
Generalized Lower Back Pain and Facet Joint Injuries
Low back pain that radiates to the front of the pelvis can have many underlying sources. If you are experiencing this type of pain, you probably have a hard time explaining exactly where the pain is coming from. Structural abnormalities may also be difficult to detect with scans or X-rays. Heavy exercise, poor posture, or improper activation of the core muscles can also affect the nerve root joints that extend toward the anterior pelvic region, causing chronic discomfort.
Degenerative (age-related) changes that develop in the facet joints are another common problem associated with generalized lower back and pelvic pain. Facet joints are small bony structures that help stabilize the bones of the spine (vertebrae). These two small joints look like bony knobs located between the vertebrae.
Other Renal Causes of Lower Back Pain that Radiates to Front Pelvic Area
Kidney stones are formed by a build-up of minerals and salts that form a hard, stone ball in your kidney. When a kidney stone begins to move from the kidney to the bladder, it usually becomes painful. It causes severe back and side pain and radiating pain to the groin, as well as symptoms such as urine discoloration, pain when urinating, nausea and vomiting.
Kidney and Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections and kidney infections are another cause of lower back and groin pain in women. They cause fever, frequent urination and painful urination.
A hernia in the groin area is referred to as an inguinal hernia. It involves soft tissue, often part of the intestine, pushing through weak groin muscles. It causes pain in the abdomen, lower back or pelvis, especially when bending or lifting heavy objects.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. One of its symptoms is abdominal pain that radiates to the back. Pancreatitis pain is worse during and after eating. Other symptoms of pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Treatment of Referred Low Back Pain
In general, lower back pain that radiates to front pelvic area is treated with the same types of non-surgical care as axial back pain and often subsides once the lower back problem is resolved. Once a serious underlying medical condition has been ruled out as the cause of a patient’s low back pain, the recommended treatment for low back pain is non-surgical and may include one or a combination of the following:
- A short period of rest (e.g. one or two days)
- Physical therapy, active exercise and stretching
- Ice packs and/or hot pads
- Appropriate medications for pain relief
If the above treatments do not successfully reduce the patient’s pain to a manageable level. However, Laminectomy and discectomy are often unsuccessful in the treatment of back pain in richardson.