Pelvic Girdle Pain – Symptoms, why you get it and how to aid5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Pelvic girdle pain is a pregnancy discomfort that many women experience. It’s the result of a pregnancy and physiological phenomenon where the pelvic joints soften and get unstable due to an influx of the hormone relaxin.
Symptoms are e.g lumbar pain, hip pain, pubic bone pain and difficulty twisting and bending your body.
Pelvic girdle pain can hurt, but it is not dangerous. It is simply the body’s way of preparing for childbirth.
You can allievate the pain by taking short and controlled steps when walking, avoid twisting your upper body and sleeping with the support of pillows. See the full list for maximum help below.
What is pelvic girdle pain?
Pelvic girdle pain is a pregnancy discomfort that some women experience during a part of their pregnancy. This pain is a result of the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which causes instability, limitation of mobility and functioning in some or all of the three pelvic joints. Relaxin’s purpose is to prepare the pelvis to widen during childbirth.
How to relieve pelvic girdle pain?
Acupuncture has been shown to have a good effect, it can be helped by a physiotherapist. Some midwives also provide acupuncture. Also physiotherapy that activates the muscles that help stabilize the pelvis can work. Heat can soothe, stand in the shower, lie in the bathtub or have a warming pillow. Massage over the areas of pain causes the tense muscles to relax. The important thing is that you listen to you body.
How common is it?
Pelvic girdle pain is a major problem for many expectant mothers. About 60% of all pregnant women experience pain from the back or pelvis at some point during pregnancy. The pain can occur at any time during pregnancy.
After giving birth the pelvic girdle pain tends to go away within a few weeks. However, about 4 out of ten women will sontinue feeling pelvic girdle pain up to six months after pregnancy.
• Built up of the sacrum and two hip bones, the bones form a ring that protects, among other things, the bladder and parts of the intestine.
• In the front, the two hip bones are joined by a joint called the symphysis.
• At the back, the hip and the crossbones are joined in the two pelvic joints.
• The hip bones, in turn, are made up of three bones: the intestinal bone, sitting bone and pubic bone.
• Thanks to the pelvic structure, body weight is transferred from the spine via the sacrum, sacroiliac joints and hip bones to the legs.
• When sitting, the body weight falls on the two leg bones.
• The woman’s pelvis is wider than the man’s pelvis.
Pelvic girdle pain
• The pelvis becomes less stable as the abdominal muscles expand as the stomach grows.
• When the center of gravity shifts during pregnancy it’s common that the pelvis tilts forward and the posture changes. The interaction between the abdominal and back muscles are affected and the result is often a sway-back.
• When joints become more mobile, which they do due to the pregnancy hormone relaxin, it can be difficult to compensate that with the muscles. It can lead to pain in the ligaments and joints.
• Many pregnant women are able to compensate for changes in the pelvis, abdomen and back by unconsciously activating the deep muscles of the abdomen and back.
• You can get hurt if you have difficulty activating the deep muscles. This is because you tend to tighten the larger, less enduring and superficial muscles.
• Lumbar pain.
• Pain in buttocks, sometimes the pain moves from side to side.
• Hip pain.
• Pain in pubic bone.
• Pain that radiates down to the groin or back of the thighs.
• A sudden stiffness in one leg, which makes it difficult to walk.
• Difficulty lifting things and bending, twisting the body.
• You feel pain if you e.g. walk on stairs or sit, lie down on the floor
• The pain is usually mild in the morning, worsens during the day and is worst at night, especially if you have been active during the day.
• How much it hurts varies greatly from person to person. Some pregnant women have hardly any problems at all. A few get so bad that they have to use crutches to get ahead.
When it comes to pelvic girdle pain, it’s hard to give exact advice. It depends on how many symptoms you have. The best way for you is to try to figure out on your own what works for you. It is a matter of creating body awareness. Stabilizing exercises usually helps though. Also girdles such as belts that hold the pelvis together and lift up the stomach might help.
Some training tips for you with pelvic girdle pain
• Exercising while sitting on a pilates ball, just make sure not to sway-back. You can do shoulder presses (one-arm or two arms at the same time), shoulder lifts to the side, biceps curls, dumbell boxing.
• Lying exercises such as french presses, flyes, hip-lift with mini bands etc.
• Breathing exercises for stomach training sitting on a pilates ball and/or chair or standing on all fours.
Back training with TRX might be a good workout too, but keep your legs still. If you are in the gym, do lat-pulls in the lat-pull- machine with different grips and row in the row-machine.
How often you should exercise
It’s all about being attentive and aware of your body, so try to exercise every two or three days to get some space for reflection if the exercise routine works for you. Strive for 2-3 sessions per week. It’s not about muscle building but about staying active and strong despite the hassle.
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