Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Pelvic girdle pain is pain in the region of the pelvis, and is a very common condition associated

Julie Cai

November 15, 2022

Pelvic girdle pain is pain in the region of the pelvis, and is a very common condition associated with pregnancy - up to 84% of pregnant women experience some degree of PGP or low back pain during pregnancy!

Role of the pelvis

The pelvis is a ring of three bones rigidly held together by bony congruity, ligaments and muscles, and sits at the base of your spine. It acts as an anchoring site for many stabilising structures, such as your abdominals, gluteal group and pelvic floor muscles. It also links the lower limbs to the spine via the hip joints. There are three pelvic joints: the pubic symphysis located at the front and centre of your pelvis, and two sacroiliac joints (SIJs) at the back of the pelvis, each located on either side of the base of the spine (sacrum).

What is pelvic girdle pain exactly

PGP is defined as pain between the posterior iliac crest & gluteal fold, particularly in the region of the SIJs that may or may not be associated with pubic symphysis pain. The pain may be local or diffuse, and refer elsewhere such as into the glutes and thighs.

Common symptoms of pelvic girdle pain can include:

  • Pain at the front and/or back of pelvis, and pain at the gluteal or thigh region
  • Reduced endurance capacity for standing, walking & sitting
  • Pronounced difficulty during asymmetrical movements, such as turning over in bed, walking up the stairs, walking, prolonged sitting/standing
  • ‘Catching’ of the leg whilst walking

Why is PGP common during pregnancy?

As hormonal changes occur, the pelvic ligaments increase in laxity to prepare the body for birth. This means that there is increased movement between the joint surfaces of the pelvis as it becomes ‘looser’, resulting in instability, irritation and inflammation of the joints. Muscle spasm may also occur as there is now an increased demand on active stabilisers (core) to maintain a stable pelvis. There may also be a movement of one component of the pelvis into a rotation, slip or torsion which can lead to compression of the joint.

Is PGP the same as lower back pain?

Although PGP may refer pain into your lower back, it is different from the pain that originates from the lumbar spine, and tends to gradually increase in intensity as pregnancy progresses. However, common risk factors for PGP include:

  • Previous pelvic or low back pain
  • Previous trauma to the area
  • Increased body mass index (BMI)
  • Multiparity (multiple pregnancies)
  • Emotional distress
  • Smoking

Early diagnosis and treatment is key to relieving pain, stopping symptoms from progressing, and to allow you to continue your normal everyday activities. A detailed history and physical examination is key in accurate and timely diagnosis, and to exclude other significant pathologies and obstetric complications.

Management of pelvic girdle pain

Management aims to optimise the biomechanics of the pelvis during this stage through manual therapy, specific exercise and activity modifications. Pelvic belts or kinesio-taping to increase stability of the pelvis may also be beneficial.

PGP is one of our special interest areas to treat at Hyper Health, by either our chiropractor or physiotherapist! We love treating this condition, and have been able to achieve great results with our pregnant patients. If you or anyone you know is suffering from pelvic girdle pain, we would love to be able to help!

Here at Hyper Health, our Chiropractors, Massage therapist, Podiatrist and Physiotherapists can help you with treating pelvic girdle and hip pain. Our clinic is located in Marrickville, servicing the Inner West suburbs of Sydney.If you have any further questions about how we can help with tight muscle and soreness, head over to our Contact Us page, or book in now to make an appointment.

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