Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain

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Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain


One of the most common conditions we see in our pregnant patients here at Lifespan Osteopathy is pelvic girdle pain. 


In simple terms, this means pain anywhere in the area of the pelvis, which is ring of bones at the base of your spine. 


Some of you may know it as sacroiliac pain, or symphysis pubis dysfunction, which is otherwise known as SPD. 


So apart from being a little confusing because it can be known by so many different names, it can be really awful for those who are affected by it, because for some people it can reach the point where it really interferes with their ability to carry out their lives normally.  


To keep it simple, I’ll be referring to pelvic girdle pain as PGP.  


PGP is quite common, affecting around 20% of women during their pregnancies. 


Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re being affected by it right now, or maybe you’ve suffered it in a previous pregnancy, and you’re thinking about whether you can face the thought of battling through another pregnancy with it. 


You may have pain with walking, going up stairs, getting in and out of the car, lifting or bending. 


For some of you it may be mild and just at the ‘annoying’ stage where you just wish it wasn’t there, whereas for others of you, the pain can be quite debilitating and really stop you from being able to do the things you want and need to do in your life.  


The good news is, that no matter how severe your PGP is, there are some things that can be done to help you. 


There are a tonne of self-help strategies you can put in place, and treatment by a Lifespan Osteopath can help to remove strain from the lower back and pelvis. 


I myself have had two children, and I know first hand what it’s like to suffer the discomforts of pregnancy.  I also know how effective Osteopathic treatment was in helping me to manage them.  


When pregnant patients present to our clinic with pelvic girdle pain, we’ll take the time to go through a full case history- making sure we note down things like:


  • exactly where the pain is,
  • what type of pain they have,
  • how and when it started,
  • the intensity of the pain,
  • any radiations or referrals (for example pain that runs down the back of the leg),
  • aggravating and relieving factors, and
  • any other associated symptoms. 


We’ll ask about whether this is your first pregnancy, and if it’s not, we’ll want to know about whether you suffered this pain in any previous pregnancies, and when that started.  We’ll also want to know about your medical history, as this may have some relevance to your current symptoms.  


Once we’ve got your history down, we’ll leave the room to allow you to get changed into a robe, so that when we examine you, we can actually see your lower back. 


Our examination may include things like:

  • asking you to perform specific movements,
  • Orthopaedic tests, and
  • neurological testing where appropriate. 


All of these are done in the consultation room. 


The examination is ultimately performed so we can piece our findings together with your case history, to arrive at a working diagnosis, because we need to be 100% certain that what you have is indeed PGP. 


Once we’ve reached this, we’ll discuss what we’ve found with you, and work with you to devise a management plan.  You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, set treatment goals, and make sure you understand your condition fully before going ahead.  


We pride ourselves on individualising each patient’s care, so it’s difficult to say exactly how many treatments each patient will need.  What we can say, however, is that we’ll always make it clear to you at the beginning how many treatments we expect you will need, and what the indicators will be if that doesn’t seem to be working out for any reason.  


If you’d like to read more, we’ve got other blog posts to help you understand and manage your pelvic pain here and here.


If you’re ready to take the next step and get some treatment for your PGP now, please give us a call on (03) 9372 7714, or book online. We look forward to hearing from you!