Pelvic Girdle Pain

What is pelvic girdle pain?

The pelvic girdle is made up of the two sacroiliac joints, the pubic joint, coccyx, sacrum and the two hip joints.  Any joint or muscle dysfunction within or next to one of these joints can result in pain in that joint and/or the surrounding joints. The pain is usually located in the front or back of the pelvis.

What causes PGP?

The hormone relaxin relaxes the ligaments that provide passive stability for these joints and can easily result in the active supportive musculature to become overworked trying to make up for the lack of passive stability.  These over worked muscle will respond by going into a protective spasm. This spasm will cause further dysfunction of the joint and lead to even more pain and guarding. The positioning of the baby can also magnify these affects.

What are the symptoms of PGP?

The pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating. It can happen at any point during or even after the pregnancy.

Most often, the discomfort occurs over the pubic bone in the front, below your stomach, or across one or both sides of your lower back. There can also be pain in the perineum, the area between your vagina and anus. Some women experience pain in their thighs. Sometimes a pregnant woman can feel or hear clicking or grinding in the pelvic area. 

Being in an unbalanced position can make the pain more noticeable such as when:

  • Standing on one leg (such as when getting dressed)
  • Walking
  • Going upstairs
  • Turning over in bed
  • Moving your legs apart such as when getting out of a car.

Who is at risk of developing PGP?

The majority of people with PGP are women, and up to one of every five women, will experience some form of discomfort in the pelvic girdle during pregnancy. If you have had PGP during a previous pregnancy or a history of lower back pain, you are more likely to experience PGP. Other risk factors include:

  • A hard physical job
  • Poor posture at a work station or awkward or inappropriate working conditions
  • Increased body mass index (BMI) and body weight before or during pregnancy

Even if you don’t have one of these risk factors, you can still experience PGP.

Home Care Options

  • Icing
  • Stretches: sitting and lying down, partner assisted
  • Orthotics, proper footwear
  • Sleep position with extra pillow, sitting position, driving car
  • Sacroiliac belt
  • Rehabilitative exercises

Office Care Options

  • HPRT
  • Active Release Techniques
  • Graston
  • PNF
  • Massage
  • mid and low back and sacroiliac chiropractic joint manipulation
  • Rehabilitative strengthening exercises
  • Custom-molded Biomechanical Orthotics