PGP: Pelvic Girdle Pain during Pregnancy

By
By Lakeview Physio
Julie Tschofen
,
MScPT, Acupuncture, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
on
Pelvic Health
December 18, 2020

It is common for women to experience pain or discomfort in the pelvis during pregnancy.

What is PGP and SPD?

It is common for women to experience pain or discomfort in the pelvis during pregnancy. Discomfort can range from mild and transient to very severe and may limit ability to complete daily activities. Pain is felt between the top of the pelvis (posterior iliac crest) down to the bottom of the gluteal fold, but particularly along the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). Pain may also be present in the pubic bone on the front of the pelvis (sometimes called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)). It is common for pain during pregnancy to shift sides or location. Prognosis is generally good, with very few women experiencing symptoms more than 2 years post partum. It is important to note that your pelvis is not unstable and to remember your body is strong. Pain is coming from irritated structures usually from changes in alignment, muscle length and muscle tension. 

Why see a physiotherapist when you have pain?

While it is common to experience PGP during pregnancy there are other conditions that may be contributing to the pain you are experiencing. Other conditions that can present like PGP are lumbar disc issues, spondylolisthesis, labral tear or neurological conditions. A Physiotherapist is able to determine what structures are responsible for your pain and treat them accordingly. 

What to expect during treatment of Pelvic Girdle Pain?

For many patients, simple changes in alignment and movement techniques can significantly reduce pain. Depending on what structures are irritated your physical therapist might do gentle joint mobilization, connective tissue release or active release. Sometimes kinesio tape, a belly band or SIJ belt are can be used for extra support. At Lakeview Physiotherapy we carry several types of pregnancy support bands. Specific home movement programs, such as pelvic symmetry exercises or strengthening of the posterior muscles, can provide relief between physiotherapy sessions. 

Suggestions for Moms with Pelvic Girdle Pain

  • Try to be as active as possible, within the limits of pain
  • Do not push through movements that continually cause pain
  • Wear flat supportive foot ware
  • Try sleeping with a pillow between your legs


Sources:

Rost, C.Cet al. prognosis of women with pelvic pain during pregnancy: a long term follow up study. Acta Obstet. Gynecology (2006) nr.85:pp771-7

Rost, Cecile. Relieving Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy. Hunter House INC. 1999 

Barker PJ, Hapuarachchi KS et al. Anatomy and biomechanics of gluteus maximus and the thoracolumbar fascia at the sacroiliac joint. Clinical Anatomy 2013 August 20 doi:10.1002/ca22233 2013

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