Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a common condition that affects about 1 in 5 pregnancies. It can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. Let's explore what pelvic girdle pain is, its causes, and how physiotherapy can offer relief and long-term improvement.

What is Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain?
Pelvic girdle pain refers to pain experienced in the pelvic region, which can include the front and back of the pelvis, hips, and lower back. 

Symptoms of Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain

  • Pain in the Pelvic Area: Discomfort in the front or back of the pelvis, hips, and/or lower back.
  • Difficulty Moving: Pain while walking, climbing stairs, standing on one leg (e.g. to put on clothes) or changing positions (often when turning in bed).
  • Reduced Mobility: Limited range of motion and stiffness in the pelvic area.

Causes of Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain
Experts are not 100% certain on the exact cause of pregnancy-related PGP, but we know there are contributing factors such as: 

  • Hormonal changes: The combination of estrogen and relaxin hormones in pregnancy can increase the mobility of tissues, as well as the sensitivity of tissues. 
  • Weight: The growing weight of the baby can place additional stress on the pelvic joints and well as the increase in overall body-weight. 
  • Lifestyle: Things like smoking, high stress, or a job that requires a lot of strenuous activity are linked to higher rates of pelvic girdle pain. 
  • Having had PGP in a previous pregnancy: This can increase the risk of having it again in a future pregnancy. 
  • Previous trauma: trauma to the pelvis can increase the risk of developing PGP in pregnancy. 

How Physiotherapy Can Help Improve Pelvic Girdle Pain

Physiotherapy is an effective approach to managing pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain. A physiotherapist can create a personalized treatment plan to address the specific needs of each patient, focusing on pain relief, improved mobility, and long-term health.

  1. Comprehensive Assessment and Diagnosis

    A thorough assessment by a physiotherapist helps identify the underlying causes of pelvic girdle pain. This includes evaluating the pelvic joints, muscles, and overall posture to create an accurate diagnosis.

  2. Personalized Exercise Programs

    a. Physiotherapists design individualized exercise programs to strengthen and stabilize the pelvic area. These programs may include:
    b. Strengthening Exercises: Targeting the core, pelvic floor, and hip muscles to improve support and stability.
    c. Stretching Exercises: Reducing muscle tightness and improving flexibility in the pelvic and hip regions.
    d. Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises: Enhancing overall fitness and wellbeing without placing additional stress on the pelvic joints.

  3. Manual Therapy

    Manual therapy techniques, such as massage and joint mobilization, can help relieve pain and improve mobility. These hands-on techniques are tailored to reduce muscle tension and enhance joint function.

  4. Postural and Movement Training

    Correcting posture and body mechanics is crucial for managing pelvic girdle pain. Physiotherapists teach proper posture and movement patterns to minimize strain on the pelvic area during daily activities.

  5. Pain Management Techniques

    Physiotherapists use various pain management techniques to reduce pain and inflammation.

  6. Education and Lifestyle Modifications

    Educating patients about their condition and providing advice on lifestyle modifications can significantly improve outcomes. This includes guidance on exercise, ergonomic adjustments, and self-care strategies to manage pain effectively.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Pelvic Girdle Pain

  • Pain Relief: Effective management of pain and discomfort in the pelvic area.
  • Improved Mobility: Enhanced range of motion and flexibility, allowing for easier movement.
  • Strength and Stability: Increased muscle strength and joint stability, reducing the risk of further injury.
  • Better Posture: Improved posture and body mechanics to alleviate strain on the pelvis.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Overall improvement in daily functioning and quality of life.

So, what do you need to do for a painfree pregnancy?
Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain can be a debilitating condition, but with the right interventions, significant improvements can be achieved. Physiotherapy offers a comprehensive approach to managing pelvic girdle pain, focusing on pain relief, improved mobility, and long-term symptom improvement. 

At Hollyburn Physiotherapy Clinic we have therapists that provide pelvic health physiotherapy and have successfully helped hundreds of patients with pelvic girdle pain. If you are experiencing pelvic girdle pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Schedule an appointment today and take the first step towards a pain-free and active life.

Francesca Ruddick

Francesca Ruddick

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