Managing pelvic girdle pain (PGP), by Kirsty Gallacher

Although this condition is common, affecting up to one in five pregnant women, it doesn't mean it's 'normal' and nor does it mean that you have to just accept and put up with it!

This condition CAN be helped and, even if not eliminated completely, it can at least be managed and prevented from worsening.

 

What is it?

In a nutshell, it's pain in the joints of the pelvis, specifically:

 

- in the Symphysis Pubis (the join in the front base of the pelvis, often referred to as SPD or PSD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or Pubis Symphysis Dysfunction 

- in the Sacro-iliac joints (the 2 joints at the back which connect the sacrum and the pelvis)

 

Some other conditions, slightly less common are: twisted hips, pelvic relaxation, pelvic arthropathy, osteitiis pubis.

 

What causes it?

There is a view that the hormone relaxin (which softs ligaments, and is needed to help the opening required for birthing your baby) has something to do with PGP. The ligaments become too elastic and instead of holding the pelvic joints fixed and immobile, the too soft ligaments allow a degree of movement. 

There is another view that PGP is a mechanical joint problem and not a hormonal one, usually caused by an asymmetry or change of normal movement or alignment in your pelvic joints.

 

What can you if you suffer from it?

Whether it's caused by hormones or it's a mechanical joint problem, pelvic girdle pain is experienced most commonly doing the following everyday activities: walking, going up and down stairs, turning over in bed, getting in and out of a car, on and off bus or tube, and standing on one leg to do things like putting on leggings, socks, underwear etc. So here's how you can help it:

 

Get treatment as soon as you get symptoms. Treatment for pelvic girdle pain involves assessing the joints and muscles in and around the pelvis and returning them to normal function, usually using manual therapy techniques. So first stop is to go to your GP and ask for a referral to a physiotherapist. Homerton run clinics but it can take a while to get into a session.

If you're not at Homerton or have to wait to be seen, or just get no joy with your GP, try Osteopathy, Craneo-sacral osteophathy, Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Shiatsu - all of these can help and yogahome in fact have practitioners/therapists with experience in treating this condition.

Try slowing down and as a general guide keep knees together as much as possible (and practical) - small steps, slowly up and down the stairs, and when rolling over at night as well as knees together draw in the pelvic floor.

Wear a girdle, or tie a sarong around the pelvis to limit the amount of movement.

Check out pelvicpartnership.org.uk - it's full of info and guidance ranging from how to get in and out of a car, to birthing your baby.

 

Go well - Kirsty


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