Previously described as ‘pelvic instability’ pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a condition affecting more than half of all women during pregnancy to varying degrees. PGP refers to pregnancy related pain in the lumbosacral region, sacroiliac joints (SIJ) and symphysis pubis joint (SPJ). The change in terminology better reflects our current understanding of this condition where pain is likely due to increased sensitivity in these joints rather than true instability.
PGP may be due to changes in biomechanics with advancing pregnancy, or hormonally induced pain in the pelvic girdle region and sometimes even by the position of the baby. Identifiable risk factors include previous history of low back/pelvic girdle or hip joint pain or trauma to these areas, previous episodes of PGP, multiparity, heavy workload, high body mass index and pre-pregnancy weight and general joint hypermobility. PGP may also develop insidiously without any history of obvious risk factors.
Common signs and symptoms of PGP include:
- Pain and difficulty walking (waddling gait)
- Poor tolerance of standing and walking
- Pain when standing on one leg eg. to get dressed, climbing stairs
- Pain turning over in bed, getting in/out of car or other changes in posture
We know that PGP is better managed if diagnosed early and whilst there are generally better outcomes if Physiotherapy is commenced early treatment can be commenced at any stage of pregnancy and/or in the post-natal period. Treatment involves local release of muscles contributing to postural or mechanical imbalance, taping or bracing for improved proprioceptive support and dry needling or manual therapy to relieve pain.
Assessment of Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) function is also vital to assess for hypertonic muscles which may contribute to pain or weakened muscles which fail to provide pelvic support. Our women’s health physiotherapist can assess your PFM using the real time ultrasound and assist with management of PFM dysfunction.
Clinical exercise/Clinical Pilates classes supervised by our experienced Physiotherapists are another important component of PGP management to keep women active, improve posture and alignment and increase muscle strength for reduction of symptoms.
To book an appointment with Dandenong Ranges Physio please call our reception on 9751 0400.