The main symptom that women report when they have PGP is pain while walking, bending, climbing stairs and turning over in bed. This means that it affects virtually everything you do in a day, which has a major impact on your life. This pain can be an ache, a sharp shooting pain or a deep muscle pain. You may also have a clicking or grinding feeling in your pelvic joints or in your hips.
PGP is usually a mechanical joint problem
Your pelvis is made up of three joints which work together in a ring-type system. In PGP these joints are not working normally. Often, one joint becomes stiff or stuck and this causes irritation in the other joints (you may not even feel pain in the stiff joint). By treating the stiff joint, a manual therapist can help the joints to function normally again, and allow the irritation at the painful joint to settle.
PGP used to be known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) but this title implies that it affects only the symphysis pubis joint at the front, which is not true, as any or all of the three pelvic joints can be affected, and commonly the two sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis are the cause.For information about how to treat PGP, please click here.
It is recognised that PGP can also have a big impact on how you feel emotionally, because coping with the physical challenges of day-to-day life can be difficult and leave you feeling low and isolated. One of the problems is that there is nothing to ‘see’ with PGP – you aren’t wearing a plaster cast and pain is not visible to others. Often, women feel cheated because they expect to be blooming and enjoying their pregnancy but, in fact, are struggling because they are experiencing pain that no-one can see. This can be compounded if you have other children at home already, and you are struggling to care for them too. See our Emotional impact of PGP section for more information.
For tips about how to manage day-to-day life, please click here.
For information on pain relief, please click here .
It is common to experience depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder during and/or after having PGP. Please do not be afraid to ask for help from your GP or family and friends, to help you get through this difficult time. You are not alone and there is support available, so just ask! For information on where you can find support, please click here.
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Content reviewed and updated in 2016