What to expect from treatment

The aim of manual therapy treatment for Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is to assess the position and the symmetry of movement of your pelvic joints, especially the sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis. A thorough assessment will help your manual therapist to identify which joint/s is causing the problem and then treat it. You should expect to feel an improvement or some relief of your symptoms after each treatment. Keep going until you are completely pain-free and back to moving normally after you have had your baby. 

Gentle hands-on techniques are used to treat PGP and these focus on making sure that the pelvic joints are moving symmetrically and normally. Treatment involves a combination of joint mobilisation and soft-tissue or muscle treatment including myofascial release, muscle energy techniques and trigger point release, with or without the use of dry needling. Joints will need to be mobilised if they are stiff or 'stuck' and are not working symmetrically. Muscles supporting the pelvis are also likely to become tight or go into spasm if they are trying to compensate for pain and stiffness in one or more of your pelvic joints. This muscle tightness will often need to be released as part of the treatment to allow the joint/s to move normally and prevent the problem from recurring. This combination of getting the joints moving normally and releasing tight muscles will then reduce your pain.

This treatment is offered by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths with training and experience in treating PGP.

There are varying approaches to treating PGP, but the main things you should expect from your therapist are:
  • The therapist will ask you about your PGP and how it affects you.
  • They will ask you to undress down to your underwear.
  • They will look at and feel how the joints at the back and front of your pelvis move when you move (e.g. standing on one leg, bending forwards etc).
  • They will feel how symmetrically the joints move when you are lying down on your back and your front (or your side if you are very pregnant).
  • They will discuss their findings and agree on a plan of treatment with you, explaining what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.
  • Treatment is likely to include a combination of joint mobilisation and muscle release to restore normal movement to your pelvis. Some women find they need one or two treatments and others will need treatment throughout their pregnancy to keep the joints and muscles functioning normally.
  • You should leave each treatment session feeling better, with either improved function, such as being able to walk more easily or stand on one leg, or reduced pain (or both).
  • You may be given gentle exercises to help your recovery once the pain has reduced. As you recover, your exercise programme will be adapted to suit your individual needs until you get back to normal. For more information about exercise and PGP please click here.
  • If you are continuing to experience pain and problems following manual therapy treatment, please visit our ‘What to do if treatment is not helping’ page.

Content reviewed and updated in 2019.


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The Pelvic Partnership consists of volunteers who have had Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and wish to support other women. We aim to pass on information based on both research and the experience of other women with PGP. We are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice and the information we provide should not take the place of advice and guidance from your own health-care providers. Material on this site is provided for information and support purposes only.

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