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What to expect from treatment

When you see a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor they will give you a thorough assessment will help them 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 usually involves a combination of:

  • joint mobilisation
  • soft-tissue or muscle treatment including myofascial release, muscle energy techniques and trigger point release,
  • dry needling (similar to acupuncture).

Joints will need to be treated in this way if they are stiff or ‘stuck’ and aren’t 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.

What will happen?

Each practitioner will have slightly different techniques for treating PGP. The main things to expect are that the therapist will:

  • ask you about your PGP and how it affects you
  • ask you to undress down to your underwear
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • discuss their findings and agree on a plan of treatment with you
  • explain what they are going to do and how they are going to do it
  • include a combination of joint mobilisation and muscle release to restore normal movement to your pelvis

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.

Exercise and PGP

Each woman’s experience of pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) differs slightly, so different exercises will suit different women.

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.

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).

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