Pelvic Girdle Pain
Pelvic Girdle Pain is a set of very commonly occurring symptoms in pregnancy and includes the conditions of sacroiliac joint (SIJ) dysfunction, sacroiliac joint instability, pubic symphysis (pubic bone) pain and dysfunction. It is often misdiagnosed as sciatic pain, which only occurs in about 1% of women during their pregnancy term.
What are the causes of Pelvic Girdle Pain:
The anatomy of the female pelvis is like a ‘bowl’ with all of the bones connected in a circle. If one of the joints is affected or dysfunctional, the other joints are also likely to be affected and cannot function normally.
We are not sure of the exact reason for pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy, but the combination of the hormone relaxin (released by the placenta during pregnancy) and the change in posture (anterior pelvic tilt) due to the weight on the front of the tummy are the reasons thought to be at fault. It is also believed that a pre-existing history of pelvic dysfunction and lower back pain could be a cause and can be predictors of pelvic girdle pain.
When does it occur?
About 20% of pregnant women can suffer from pelvic girdle pain and it can happen as early as the first trimester, and as late as the last few days before the end of term. If you experience pelvic girdle pain in one pregnancy, it is more likely to recur earlier in your next pregnancy, and without treatment, may be more severe. Health professionals advise letting the symptoms from one pregnancy settle before trying for another baby.
What are the symptoms that I should look out for?
The majority of the time females tend to feel the pain more on one side, however it can be felt on both sides, in the lower back and down the legs (mimicking sciatica). It also has a tendency to jump from one side to the other as the body compensates due to the change in posture as the pelvis begins to tilt forward as the pregnancy progresses.
Why does it mimic sciatica?
Pregnant women often experience shooting pain down their legs along with weakness in their gluteal (buttock) muscles. The SIJ (the “pregnancy joint”) can refer into the groin, and down the lateral (side) of leg when it is inflamed. The weakness in the gluteal region is usually due to the inhibition of the gluteal musculature due to pain as opposed to true neurogenic (nerve) weakness. Therefore these symptoms can mimic sciatica and can be misdiagnosed and mistreated.
What are the triggers?
Lying flat on your back.
Standing or sitting for long periods.
Increase in intra-abdominal pressure when lifting.
Turning over in bed at night.
For more advice and treatment in regards to this condition or any related symptoms, come in and see the team at APSS.