Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic is now part of the
Response Physio & Sports Therapy group

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Do you know what Pelvic Girdle Pain is? Pregnant women often get back, hip, leg and pelvic, pain- this is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)!. It used to be called SPD but that didn’t quite explain things properly. May is Pelvic Pain month so we wanted to tell you a little more about the pains you may experience during your pregnancy.

I’m pregnant, can you rub my back?

We often get women requesting a massage for their aches and pains. Sometimes this is the right treatment and a general relaxation of the muscles, pamper time to yourself to help with any mental stress is all you might need. Pregnancy related aches and pains are common and in most cases treatable. These can include lower back pain, postural tension, especially around neck and shoulders and pelvic girdle pain (PGP). Pregnancy massage gives you and bump that all important bonding time and enables you to fully un-wind, giving short-term relief to muscular tension. At the point of booking we will ask you a few questions about your pregnancy and general health to make sure we are booking you for the right treatment.  

When a massage is not the right treatment to have:

If you have any pain in your pelvis, hips, lower back we will suggest you have a Pregnancy Physiotherapy appointment in order to assess your problems in much more detail and provide you with the correct treatment to help reduce the pain. Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) affects approximately 1 in 5 women and can often be misdiagnosed as SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction). This was an old term only describing pain at the very front of the pubic bone, which does not necessarily occur in all women with PGP.  

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?

PGP can happen at any stage in your pregnancy. It can give you pain and a feeling of instability anywhere within the pelvis, front (around your pubic bone), lower back/ bottom or at the side (around the bony bits of your hips). The pelvis itself is made up of three joints and often the reason PGP occurs is because of stiffness in one of these joints. This stiffness in turn causes irritation and pain in the other parts of the pelvis and tightness in muscles. You may have difficulty walking, especially up and down stairs/ on and off curbs, getting on and off chairs/ in and out the car and turning over in bed. If you have any of these symptoms a Pregnancy Physiotherapy appointment would be best for you. If your PGP has been misdiagnosed or not treated during your pregnancy your may still experience problems post-natal. Physiotherapy is still able to help you at this stage. We recommend you book a Mummy MOT  

What is Pregnancy Physiotherapy?

At Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic, we will take time to listen to you, which in turn helps us understand what is happening and therefore diagnose the problem accurately. We will look at and feel how the joints at the back and front of your pelvis move when you move e.g standing on one leg, bending forwards/ backwards. Then in lying (on your back and/ or side) we will feel how symmetrical the joints are and how they move, as often one side of your pelvis is stiffer than the other. We will check the muscles of your back, hips and pelvis to see if any are tight or weak. Once we have looked and felt all the necessary areas we will discuss the findings and agree a plan of treatment with you, explaining what we are going to do. We won’t just simply give you a belt and tell you there’s nothing else that can be done until after pregnancy!  

How can PGP be treated?

This is likely to include realigning joints which have moved slightly, so that they move symmetrically again. This is called manual therapy. These are adapted especially for the pregnant woman and it is often a pain free treatment. We may also do some massage techniques on the tight muscles. Acupuncture can also be safely used in pregnant women to treat PGP. You will normally be given gentle exercises to help your pelvic stability. As you recover, your exercise programme will be adapted to suit your individual needs until you get back to normal. We will teach you how to breathe properly and how to activate and relax your pelvic floor. You may need to come back for a short course of treatment. *If needed and with your consent we will liaise with your GP, Midwife or Consultant throughout any stage of your treatment with us. You can find out more information about Pelvic Girdle Pain on The Pelvic Partnership– a great resource.   Contact us The female Physiotherapists at Sunderland Physiotherapy Clinic all have a special interest in Women’s Health and pregnancy. You can read more about them here. To find out more about how we can help, you can contact us on 0191 5483388 or email info@sunderlandphysiotherapyclinic.co.uk Alternatively you can book into our online diary.

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