My story: ‘About PGP’ helped me to get the treatment I needed
I first started to get the symptoms of PGP at about 14 weeks. This was my first pregnancy and I had a stabbing pain at the back of my pelvis and walking anywhere was beginning to be a challenge.
During my lunch break at work, I had started to look for more information online about pelvic pain and I also started to ask all my girlfriends if they had experienced anything similar. Within a very short time, I got the message that pelvic pain is quite common in pregnancy but it isn’t something you should see as ‘natural’ and it wasn’t to be tolerated. I think my next lunchtime surf of the internet brought up the Pelvic Partnership website and I felt a very profound sense of relief that such a charity exists!
A couple of days later I sat in my car at lunchtime and rang Sarah at the Pelvic Partnership. We discussed some of my symptoms and she confirmed that it did sound like PGP but emphasised the need to find a physio, osteopath or chiropractor who could provide a proper assessment and a diagnosis. She said she would send a booklet that would help me know what to expect.
By the end of that week, I got a booklet through the post from the Pelvic Partnership and that weekend, I settled down on the sofa to read ‘About PGP’. Now I do admit that I am one of those women who likes to feel well informed and I want to know the worst and then to deal with it – no hiding my head in the sand or hoping that symptoms will just go away.
Talking to Sarah and reading the booklet really made me feel much better about the whole situation. I felt more confident knowing something about what it was, how the symptoms might be recognised and how to get it treated. I think that with being more informed about PGP also meant that I felt much bolder about speaking out and getting help. I’m not particularly shy but I think having some information in my hand made me much more forward and demanding. Just as Sarah had explained on the phone, the booklet outlined the facts I needed and the steps I had to take to get the right help.
I read that it was important to get help as soon as the symptoms started. So within a few days, I had booked an appointment with my GP. I like my GP and I knew she could give me a referral to a physio which made me feel comfortable with asking outright for one. I was pleased that she recognised the pain and immobility were probably due to PGP even though she said that it was a hormonal problem and would go when the baby arrived.
I didn’t exactly argue with her but I knew from the booklet that it was actually a biomechanical problem and that I needed to see an experienced manual therapist.
My GP did refer me and the appointment for a session with a physiotherapist came through a few weeks later. When I saw the physio, Lizzie, for the first time I knew that she needed to see me in my undies to assess me properly and it was reassuring to know that what she asked me to do married up with the description in the booklet. She diagnosed a faulty pelvic joint at the back of the pelvis and showed how the pelvis was higher on one side than the other. I had three sessions and I had no pain and could walk properly again. As the pregnancy advanced I saw her again at 20 and 22 weeks but after that there were no further twinges.
I was probably lucky with getting a referral quickly and to someone who knew about PGP and could treat it with manual therapy. However, I think that the really important point was nothing to do with luck but more about being well informed about the symptoms and what to do about them. It gave me the confidence and the understanding to assess what was being offered and to know how to ask for what I needed.
Thanks Lesley for sharing your story. We are really pleased that you found the booklet so helpful. Certainly, ‘forewarned is forearmed’ and I think knowing what to expect and what manual therapy can do, can help you to be both more confident and more selective about the care you receive.