The expert physiotherapy team at Spire Dunedin Hospital in Reading is now offering a new kind of treatment for mums-to-be with pelvic pain, also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Symptoms of PGP include pain at the front and or back of the pelvis, pain when walking, climbing stairs or turning over in bed.
Women expecting a child in Berkshire will now be able to access this previously unavailable course of treatment, which treats pain in the pelvic joints related to pregnancy. This type of pain is unfortunately very common with up to one in five (20 per cent) of women experiencing it at some point during or after pregnancy. The treatment is also good for mums who were pain free during their pregnancy, but then experience pain due to a difficult or traumatic delivery.
Women with PGP can find it difficult to get help, as the discomfort is often put down to the normal aches and pains of pregnancy and is left untreated. It can however become very debilitating, with women using crutches and unable to walk or climb stairs in the most severe cases.
The treatment course at Spire Dunedin starts with an initial physical assessment which involves examining posture, movements of the spine and looking at and feeling the different bones that make up the pelvis and the surrounding muscles. The hands on stage of the treatment involves some soft tissue release or massage, muscle energy techniques and gentle joint mobilisations. All women are sent home with advice and if appropriate some exercises to help bring the pelvic floor, abdominal and gluteal muscles back ‘online’ to help support the pelvis and spine.
Kerri Cripps, Joint Physiotherapy Manager, runs the course at Spire Dunedin: “The main aim of the treatment is to correct the mechanical dysfunction or the ‘bone that is out of place’ around the pelvis and restore normal movement to the joints of the pelvis and spine. This can take as little as one session if the woman hasn’t had the pain for too long, or it can take several months if the condition has been ‘left to brew’ and the body has started to make adaptations.
“The best advice we give women to avoid the pain altogether or minimise it, is to try to stay fit and active before falling pregnant and if able, try to continue to do some sort of exercise throughout the pregnancy to keep all the muscles which support the spine and pelvis toned and strong.”
Sarah Fishburn from the Pelvic Partnership, a charity which aims to pass on information about pelvic girdle pain based on research evidence and on other women’s experience, worked with the hospital in setting up the treatment offering: “PGP during or after pregnancy is common but not normal so we encourage women not to put up with it. The more access they have to expert treatment like that offered at Spire Dunedin the better because without treatment the pain doesn’t just go away and if untreated, women can be left with pain for years which is really not necessary.”