Symptoms and treatment for pelvic girdle pain

Pelvic Girdle Pain In Pregnancy

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy is very common and can affects 1 in 4 pregnant women and comes with a wide array of symptoms that vary from woman to woman.

This pain is called “Pelvic Girdle Pain” [PGP] or formerly known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction [SPD]. This condition is treatable in most cases and can safely be treated during pregnancy. It can be treated at any point and time whether during or after your pregnancy.

If you notice pelvic pain, it is good to contact your doctor and ask for treatment. It is mostly recognized as a mechanical joint issue that should be treated as early as possible, and it can occur at any stage during your pregnancy. Pelvic Girdle Pain can come on suddenly or gradually and will occasionally get better after a couple days of rest, however the pain will generally come back and treatment is highly suggested.

Symptoms of PGP

The main symptom of PGP is pain and can target any of the joints in the pelvis.

It can also cause instability making daily activities such as walking and minor chores around the house a grueling task.

Main symptoms are

  • Pain in the front of pelvis at the center where symphysis pubis is present
  • Back pain across one or both sides
  • Perineal pain – pain in the area between your vagina and anus
  • Catching or sharp pain in groin
  • Radiating pain to thigh and lower legs
  • Clicking or grinding noice in pelvic.
Most common pain points in PGP

Most common pain points in PGP

Even though pain is constant, it can cause mobility problems like:

  • Difficulty in Walking
  • Difficulty rising from sitting to standing
  • Climbing stairs
  • Turning over in bed
  • Difficulties with every aspect of your daily life.

Emotional symptoms

Emotional symptoms can also be caused by Pelvic Girdle Pain due to having to cope with the physical challenges of your day to day routine, making you feel isolated and low.

According to Charted society of physiotherapy, 1 in 5 women get affected by PGP and for some women the emotional effects of PGP may lead to psychological problems before or after the birth.

Women have also described a feeling of being cheated, since it is common belief that pregnancy should be an enjoyable experience.

However since there is no cast or way for others to physically see the pain that women with Pelvic Girdle Pain go through every day, they are left feeling as though their body is cheating them out of a wondrous experience and the disbelief others show when the pain is discussed.

Treatment

Pelvic Girdle Pain is very treatable and can be treated safely during your pregnancy as well as after.

Who Can Treat

  • Physiotherapists – who have extra special training in treating pelvic pain,
  • Chiropractors and osteopaths,
  • Occupational therapist -who can provide equipment and advice to help with the activities of daily living
  • GP, midwife or gynecologist

The goal of treatment is to assess the positions of the joints as well as the symmetry of movement, especially the sacroiliac joints positioned at the back of your pelvis. Once the joint that is causing the problem is found, treatment can begin.

Treatment of Pelvic Girdle Pain is not usually painful, so you won’t have to be concerned, however after each treatment you should feel some relief from the pain. You will want to continue treatment postnatal as well, this can help prevent Pelvic Girdle Pain in your next pregnancy or at least minimize the severity of it.

Physiotherapy for PGP

Treatment of Pelvic Girdle Pain involves a combination of joint realignment, joint mobilization, soft tissue treatment, and muscle treatment since pregnancy can cause muscles to tighten to compensate for your growing baby. Pain can cause extra tightness in your muscles adding extra strain on your joints and causing Pelvic Girdle Pain to become more severe without treatment.

Physiotherapy treatment may include

Manual therapy

Your physiotherapist will look and feel your back and pelvic joints when you move [eg. standing on your leg or bending forward] and check whether they are symmetrical in alignment.

Treatment includes manual realignment of joints so that they move symmetrically. This can be done in multiple visits until your muscles become stronger enough to hold the joints in place without treatment.

  • Stabilisation Exercises – to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back and hip muscles.
  • Pain relief – such as acupuncture or TENS
  • Stabilization tools such as orthotics and sacro-iliac joint belts

Serola Sacroiliac Belt

serola sacroiliac belt for pregnancySince Pelvic Girdle Pain affects the joints, purchasing a Serola Sacroiliac Belt will help you by compressing the joints and creating stability allowing you to move around more easily with less pain.

It is designed to give gentle but firm support to the Sacroiliac Joints. Serola belts are super light, easy to wear and even look good too.

  • Instant support & welcome relief for pregnancy back pain
  • Lightweight, cool and breathable for day long comfort

Where to BuyIts available on Amazon

This product is specially designed to help people with joint problems and it comes in many different sizes so it will fit you at any time when you need it most. It is also less bulky than other belts and can be worn either over clothing or on your skin and still be secure.

Many people have said that this product has helped them manage with Pelvic Girdle Pain as well as back injuries while undergoing treatment. It is highly recommended by physical therapists for use between treatments and lessen the amount of joint damage while recuperating.

Facts and Myths

Just like any other health condition, Pelvic Girdle Pain has its own facts and myths that have been proven and disproven over the course of time.

Some of the facts that have been proven are

  • Pelvic Girdle Pain is a mechanical condition that can be treated with manual therapy
  • It can occur at any stage of your pregnancy and can affect any woman
  • The condition may continue for months and maybe years postnatal
  • However if properly managed doesn’t need to be serious in subsequent pregnancies
  • Breastfeeding makes no difference in this condition, however it is what is best for both Mommy and Baby

The myths of Pelvic Girdle Pain include

  • It being described as a hormonal condition that is untreatable and occurs only in late pregnancy
  • It has been said that it only occurs in women who are not active enough and corrects itself once the baby is born, however these are not true.
  • It has also been said that the condition worsens with each pregnancy and that it will stop once you have stopped breastfeeding, which again are untrue.

How To Cope With Pain

There are a few helpful suggestions from ACPWH that will help you cope with Pelvic Girdle Pain before and during treatment. Since Pelvic Girdle Pain causes many obstacles that make caring for yourself, your family, and your home difficult, as well as managing work and leisure time almost impossible.

These are suggestions that were given by women who are already coping with Pelvic Girdle Pain, which they wish to share with those who may need it themselves.

When at home either alone or with your spouse, there are a few things that can be done to make Pelvic Girdle Pain a little more manageable.

  • The first suggestion is to accept help from your spouse as well as others who offer it. This can be difficult at first since most people prefer to be self-sufficient but if you look at Pelvic Girdle Pain like a short term disability, rest makes all the difference in recovering.
  • Use a backpack to carry things, use crutches when possible, keep a stool in the kitchen to minimize standing, and ask your spouse to carry things for you or move things whenever possible.
  • Rest when you can – you may need to rest and sit down more often. Sit down to get dressed and undressed.
  • Wear flat supportive shoes
  • Sleep in comfortable positions like lie on your side with a pillow between your legs or use pregnancy pillow
  • Roll in and out of bed keeping your knees together
  • Avoid standing on one leg, bending or twisting to lift, crossings your legs, sitting on floor
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights, pushing heavy objects like supermarket trolley or doing vacuuming

Remember that Pelvic pain or back pain is very common in pregnancy, but is a treatable and manageable condition. Every women is different, so its advisable that you seek professional help.

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