Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a horrible but common complaint in pregnancy, affecting 1 in 5 women. The good news is that most women see a resolution of their symptoms after birth. For some it can also persist after birth, this is around 1 in 10 women. The earlier women access to support the better the outcome, especially for those with severe pain and disability.
Do I have PGP or just normal pregnancy aches?
The majority of women do feel aches in pregnancy, but if the level of pain you are experiencing is causing you to limit or avoid any of your usual activities then you would be classified as having PGP.
Women with PGP have pain in one or more of these areas:
- At the front of your pubic bone
- In your lower back, either on one side, both or centrally
- At the sides of your hips
- In your perineum between your vagina and anus
- In your groin spreading down into your legs
The pain may worsen with certain activities, for example:
- Standing on one leg e.g. when dressing or climbing stairs
- Moving legs wider e.g. getting in and out of the car
- Difficulty lying on the side or rolling over in bed
Why is this happening to me?
The exact cause of all PGP is unknown. Previously it was thought that the pelvic joints were becoming unstable in preparation for labour, and this caused strain through the joints. The latest research doesn’t support this. The main risk factor for developing PGP is women who have previously experienced low back or pelvic pain, or previous trauma to the area. This suggests that a pelvic area that is already highly sensitive is more likely to be triggered by pregnancy. There is also some evidence that poor muscle function can contribute to the severity of the condition. We are definitely in need of more research to understand this troublesome condition.
What treatment is available?
It is important to find what factors are driving your PGP, they will be unique to you. With a detailed assessment by a Mummy MOT practitioner, we can find the root causes. The treatment then follows the findings of the assessment.
- Education and advice – We can help you understand what is happening in your body, give you strategies to manage pain levels, and help you address lifestyle factors that might be contributing.
- Manual therapy – Hands-on treatment such as massage and mobilisations can help to relieve muscular tension and reduce sensitivity levels.
- Exercise – The body loves movement and so creating a plan specific to you, to improve the performance of the pelvic muscles is key to treating this condition. Exercise will focus on your breathing, pelvic floor and supporting pelvic muscles. By working with us we can help you modify exercise and gradually build strength in the key areas.