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Philippa’s story

Read Philippa's story about how she was able to access treatment for her PGP.

“Journeys to recovery”

I have worked for the Pelvic Partnership as a Trustee for 19 years. Without this wonderful supportive organisation it’s unlikely I would have WON two dance competitions!!!

This is my PGP Story & Treatment: It was 2003, I was 34 years old and 12 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child Toby. My youngest son Oli wasn’t confident going up the stairs and I was carrying him up and suddenly something went and I could hardly move without pain. I went to the midwife and she said it was either a torn stomach muscle or it was PGP. I was given a tubigrip and sent home. She directed me to be assessed for torn stomach muscles, which I was told it wasn’t. I then was referred to a physiotherapists at my local hospital and it took ages about 8 weeks to get the appointment.

The local NHS physio, checked me over in very a basic way and then gave me a support belt and told not bend down, pick anything heavy up (like my toddler), avoid going up stairs and generally sit as much as possible. She said to come back to her if it got worse and she would give me crutches. She also told me don’t worry the pain will go as soon as you give birth.

I was given the Pelvic Partnership details, I looked at the website which didn’t really give me enough detailed advice (very old website) but I contacted them and asked for their latest information pack, which was much more helpful.

At 16 weeks I was struggling with walking and went back to the NHS physio who gave me crutches and told me I could get a wheel chair from the red cross, which I did.

My husband met a pregnant lady that had PGP and swore that a chiropractor in the next town had cured her. I then went for treatment there and was gentle manipulated with wedges underneath me. This didn’t really seem to make much difference and cost a lot of money. But knowing that another women with SPD had been ‘cured’, I persevered for months.

Toby was not keen on coming out so 10 days after my due date I went into hospital to be induced. I managed to self induce with a footbath and wet towel of my belly with Clarisage and rose aromatherapy oils. The contractions came hard and fast and it was a lot worse than my 1st birth. The pain was very bad and I opted for an epidural. Sadly it only worked on one side!! The anaesthetist came back and jiggled it and then it worked both sides. This really helped me and gave my husband some time to sleep!! As the epidural wore off I started to go into labour, as I was lying on my back and he was a big boy I didn’t have any gravity to help me. I then managed to turn round and lean over a bean bag and squatted and my husband delivered our 9lbs baby boy.

I was very lucky and got relocated to my local maternity unit . But as I was on very strong pain I didn’t realise that my PGP was still bad and was pushing around the cot and walking around. As the drugs wore off I realised the PGP hadn’t gone as I had expected it to and in fact I was even worse; I was fat, couldn’t walk, had a new baby and a toddler – how was I going to cope!!

This is when I called Sarah at the Pelvic Partnership and asked her why hadn’t my PGP gone and do I need an operation. She recommended that I go and see a sports physio called Lucy Townsend who wasn’t too far away. I saw Lucy twice a week for 3 weeks, she referred me to see another physio Gordon Bosworth who was more local. Both Gordon and Lucy treated me with hand’s on therapy and within 6 weeks Gordon had got me off the crutches and feeling a lot more confident. I saw Gordon twice a month for a while, then every month, and slowly going to every 2 months, for 14-16 months. As I started to become more stable I started doing pilates on a reformer in a small group. This helped strengthen core and kept my pelvis in place after treatment. I did the intensive studio class for a year and now I just do a mat class once a week (16 years on now).

Over the next few years when ever I had twinges I would go and get realigned or had the muscles released that had tightened due usually to stress.

I also saw Maeve Beland twice who specialises in ‘Pelvic physiotherapy’ and she really made a huge difference when my pelvis went out of alignment as I realised that my pelvis floor would tighten up and pull on my pelvic joints when I got stressed. She then trained up my husband so that he could treat me when ever my pelvis floor went into spasms.

In all it took about 5 years before I felt completely sorted but that was probably because I didn’t act soon enough, didn’t look after myself, put everyone else first and had high levels of stress. If had to do it again, I would get hand on manual treatment straight away, stop trying to do ‘everything’, ask for help from my partner, friends and family, learn about mediation and breathing techniques and not stress about the little things.

Now I am 100% better, I have been on skiing holidays, walking trips and for the past 12 years I have been addicted to dancing modern Jive/ceroc and west coast swing, I try to dance for at least 6 hours a week.

I have been involved and a trustee of the Pelvic Partnership now for 19 years, helping with anything to do with design, I’ve designed website, logos, booklets and a range of literature over the years. I’ve also been involved with fund raising events and running conferences.

I love being part of this selfless group of inspirational women who give their time for free for the benefit of others.


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