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Chronic Pelvic and Lower Back Pain: Causes and Solutions

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy - Progressive Mobility


Pelvic and lower back pain are common symptoms that can arise from various causes, affecting quality of life and daily functioning. Issues can range from chronic conditions to acute episodes, with individuals experiencing discomfort and pain in the lower back and pelvic area, and in structures such as the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joints, pelvic floor muscles, and even the upper body due to compensatory movement patterns.

Inflammation or dysfunction in the joints, such as the facet joints or those of the sacroiliac area, often contributes to pain in these regions. Pelvic pain specifically can be associated with gynecological issues, like ovarian cysts or conditions affecting the fallopian tubes, and is a frequent complaint during menstrual cycles, leading to painful or heavy periods. Moreover, abdominal pain can have overlapping characteristics with pelvic pain.

Spinal stenosis, a condition where the spinal canal narrows, can lead to severe lower back pain, characterized at times by a sharp sensation extending through the lower body. Meanwhile, muscular problems such as pelvic muscle or joint dysfunction can result in chronic pain, necessitating the need for a range of treatment options which include physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments to manage symptoms effectively.

Causes of Chronic Pelvic and Lower Back Pain

Chronic pelvic and lower back pain can stem from a variety of root causes, each contributing to the discomfort experienced by individuals in different ways. If you are wondering what causes pelvic pain and lower back pain, these conditions can be broadly categorized into musculoskeletal, neurological, reproductive, gastrointestinal, urinary, and psychological factors.

Diagnosing Chronic Pelvic and Lower Back Pain

Diagnosing chronic pelvic and lower back pain typically involves a comprehensive approach due to the complex nature of these conditions. Healthcare providers usually start with a thorough medical history and a physical examination, focusing on the pelvic area, lower back, and any related systems that might be causing pain.

Often, a physical therapist will assess movement patterns to identify issues with the sacroiliac joints or lumbar spine that could be contributing to discomfort. Joint dysfunction, such as problems with the facet joints, is evaluated alongside muscle tenderness, which can implicate the pelvic floor muscles or other regional muscular components.

Various diagnostic tests may be utilized, including:

  • Imaging tests (e.g., MRI or CT scans) to detect conditions like spinal stenosis or abnormalities in the spinal canal.
  • Ultrasound examinations, especially in women, to identify reproductive issues like ovarian cysts or problems with the fallopian tubes.
  • Blood tests to rule out inflammatory diseases or infections.

Occasionally, healthcare professionals may recommend diagnostic laparoscopy, particularly when the cause of pelvic pain remains unclear. This minimally invasive procedure allows direct visualization of the pelvic organs.

Throughout the diagnostic process, the goal is to pinpoint the cause of pain accurately to personalize treatment plans and improve the individual’s quality of life.

Treatment Solutions for Chronic Pelvic and Lower Back Pain

Treatment Solutions for Chronic Pelvic and Lower Back Pain

Dealing with chronic pelvic and lower back pain can be difficult, but a variety of treatment solutions are available to help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. These treatments can range from non-pharmacological measures to surgery, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the pain. Here are some ways on how to relieve lower back and pelvic pain:

A. Non-Pharmacological Treatments

Non-pharmacological treatments are often the first line of therapy, primarily focusing on relieving pain without medication.

  • Physical therapy involves personalized exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve the function of the sacroiliac and lumbar spine joints. A physical therapist may also use modalities such as heat or ice packs and ultrasound to alleviate symptoms.
  • Chiropractic care can provide relief, especially for those suffering from joint dysfunction. Adjustments and manipulations of the spine may help in restoring alignment and reducing pain.
  • Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that employs needles to stimulate specific points on the body, potentially releasing muscle tightness and mitigating pain.

B. Pharmacological Treatments

When non-pharmacological treatments are not enough, medication may be prescribed:

  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs can reduce inflammation and pain. For severe pain, prescription opioids may be used, although cautiously because of their potential for dependence and side effects.
  • Muscle relaxants may be helpful if muscle spasms are contributing to discomfort.
  • Antidepressants are not just for depression; certain types can also be effective in treating nerve pain associated with conditions like spinal stenosis.

C. Surgical Interventions

Surgery may be considered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief or when structural problems require correction:

  • Spinal fusion surgery can be an option if there is significant instability in the lumbar spine.
  • Laparoscopy may be necessary for conditions such as endometriosis, where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it, often involving pelvic areas.

D. Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

For chronic conditions, adapting lifestyle choices might go a long way:

  • Diet modifications can help to manage weight, reduce inflammation, and decrease symptoms in some individuals.
  • Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can be beneficial in managing pain as stress often exacerbates chronic pain conditions.

Making informed decisions about the various treatment solutions available can significantly influence one’s quality of life and ability to manage chronic pelvic and lower back pain effectively.

Prevention and Management of Chronic Pain

Prevention and Management of Chronic Pain

Prevention and Management of Chronic Pain Chronic pain can often be prevented or managed through proactive lifestyle choices. Consider these essential strategies:

  1. Regular Exercise and Healthy Weight Maintenance
    • Engage in activities like walking, swimming, or yoga to keep muscles strong and flexible.
    • Aim to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the strain on your joints and spine.
  2. Posture Correction and Ergonomic Adjustments
    • Correct posture reduces stress on the pelvic and lower back regions.
    • Make ergonomic adjustments to your work and living spaces to support proper body mechanics.
  3. Regular Medical Check-ups and Screening
    • Regular check-ups help to catch and manage potential issues early.
    • Screen for conditions that may cause or exacerbate pain, such as ovarian cysts or inflammatory diseases.

By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can significantly diminish the risk of developing chronic pain and improve your overall health.


Pelvic and lower back pain can drastically affect the quality of life, but understanding the myriad of treatment options and management strategies available is essential. Physical therapy often plays a significant role in alleviating pain associated with the sacroiliac joints, lumbar spine, and pelvic muscles. For joint pain and dysfunction, a specialized physical therapist can guide you toward exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve joint stability.

At Progressive Mobility, we understand the challenges and impact that pelvic and lower back pain can have on your quality of life. That’s why our expert healthcare professionals specialize in assessing and treating pelvic dysfunction using a combination of manual therapy, muscle and nerve release strategies, and therapeutic exercises, tailored towards providing progressive women’s health to our clients. By choosing Progressive Mobility Physical Therapy, you can regain strength, and mobility, and ultimately improve your overall well-being.


What helps pelvic and lower back pain?

To help alleviate pelvic and lower back pain, incorporating regular low-impact exercise, tailored physical therapy, and pain management techniques such as over-the-counter medications, hot and cold therapy, acupuncture, and massage can be effective. Additionally, dietary adjustments to include anti-inflammatory foods can also support overall health and reduce pain. These combined approaches can significantly improve discomfort and enhance the quality of life for those suffering from these conditions.

How can I cure chronic pelvic pain?

Curing chronic pelvic pain often requires identifying and treating any underlying conditions, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, through a combination of medication, surgery, or other targeted therapies. A multidisciplinary approach, involving specialists to address physical, emotional, and psychological aspects, alongside lifestyle and alternative therapies like stress reduction and acupuncture, can effectively manage pain. This comprehensive strategy, tailored to the individual’s specific needs, aims to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

When should you worry about pelvic pain?

You should seek immediate medical attention for sudden, severe pelvic pain, especially if it’s accompanied by fever or nausea, as it could indicate a serious condition. Chronic pain lasting six months or more, worsening symptoms, or pain accompanied by abnormal bleeding, unusual discharge, fever, bloating, or unexplained weight loss also warrants prompt evaluation. Additionally, if pelvic pain significantly affects your quality of life, emotional well-being, or daily functioning, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate treatment.

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Jenn Wallace

Progressive Mobility

"We help active adults and athletes in the Spartanburg area get back to sports and activities that they love, while avoiding surgery, injections & medications"