When you have pain in your low back, hips, buttocks, and even down into your thighs it's often hard to tell exactly where the pain is really originating. The catch-all diagnosis that most people find when they google their symptoms is "sciatica". Unfortunately, when the pain is actually coming from the pelvic girdle the course of action and the best ways to get relief are much different.
What is pelvic girdle pain?
Pelvic girdle pain (often abbreviated to PGP)is a term to describe discomfort originating in the pelvis. This could be where the pelvis meets in the front at what's called the symphysis pubis or in the back at the sacroiliac joint.
The pain can actually be felt at times in the low back, abdomen, or down the front or back of the thigh. The discomfort can range from a mild ache to more severe pain that limits the ability to even walk.
Sometimes the pain is a result of trauma to the pelvis but most often is related to pregnancy. We see this commonly in women both during pregnancy, after delivery, or even years later when the body wasn't able to properly heal.
The weight of carrying a baby and changes in the body's posture can cause misalignment of the pelvis. The pregnancy hormone "relaxin" actually relaxes or softens the ligaments around the pelvis to allow it to expand to accommodate a baby. Unfortunately, this presses uncomfortably on nearby structures and many women get "stuck" in this position even after childbirth.
What symptoms do we hear most often?
- difficulty walking or feeling like they are waddling
- pain on one leg (like when walking up stairs)
- difficulty with straddle movements (like getting in and out of the tub)
- clicking or grinding in the pelvic area
- difficulty lying in some positions (usually on the side)
- pain during sexual intercourse.
What can be done about it?
During pregnancy, many women only find relief from pain when lying down. They put a pillow between their knees in side-lying or under there knees if propped on their back in order to get the back and pelvis in better alignment.
For lasting relief, the pelvis must be put back into proper alignment by a manual therapist. Then, the muscles around the pelvis must be strengthened in order to keep it in the correct position.
For women who didn't experience much pain during pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain can rear its ugly head when they return to more physical activities such as boot camp or running. The added impact worsens the already existing problem.
Unfortunately, we often see women decades after childbirth who have ignored mild discomfort that they hoped would just go away. When hormones at menopause go awry or when the pelvic muscles start to weaken with age the pain then becomes unbearable.
The good news is that at any age or stage, pelvic girdle pain can be successfully treated. But why wait another day if discomfort in your low back or pelvis is keeping you from the active lifestyle you love?
Although not often talked about, it is something we see nearly every day. So, if you think pelvic girdle pain may be the reason for your back pain as a mom or even grandmom, inquire about a No-Cost to you Discovery Visit.
In this 20-minute session, we can quickly see if pelvic girdle pain is, in fact, the reason for your discomfort and what you can do to get some quick relief. Click the link below to reserve your time with one of our specialists . . .