Harris & Ross Senior Physio, Stef Hurst provides advice on how to ease pains brought on during pregnancy…
Are you currently pregnant and enduring any of the below symptoms?
• Sharp groin pains or back ache.
• Finding it difficult when walking, climbing the stairs, dressing or getting in and out of the car.
• Limited hip movements
• Do you feel a clicking within the pelvic joint?
If so, then it is likely you are suffering from pregnancy related pain.
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is very common and around 1 in 5 women while pregnant, experience some level of pelvic pain, either at the front or back of the pelvis. The reasons caused for this type of pain is firstly due to hormonal changes. ‘Relaxin’ is the hormone released during pregnancy which prepares us for childbirth, by allowing the ligaments in the pelvic area to relax and loosen. The loosening of this ligament can cause instability within your spine or pelvis and it can be painful if the muscles surrounding the area are not strong enough.
Another cause of lower back pain during pregnancy may also be due to the stretch of the muscle “rectus abdominis”, a muscle which runs from your rib cage to the pubic bone. This muscle stretches with the growth of the belly to accommodate the developing baby and can sometimes separate again causing discomfort.
If you try to follow the simple guidelines below, your symptoms may improve:
• Continue to be as active as possible, but rest when your body tells you to.
• Try to avoid the activities that cause pain or seek advice on how you can make modifications.
• Avoid activities which require prolonged standing.
• When standing, make sure your legs are straight and weight is distributed evenly.
• Walk with a shorter stride and keep legs together when getting in/out of a car or rolling over in bed.
• Don’t go straight into a sitting position from a horizontal position.
• Hold the railings when using the stairs and progress one foot at a time if needed.
Nearly two years ago I gave birth to my boy Freddie, around 21 weeks pregnant I started getting severe groin pain (pain which was worse than labour!) I went to see the doctor twice, informed by my midwife it was likely I was suffering from PGP and there wasn’t much help they could provide.
I had some knowledge about PGP being a physiotherapist and undertook all the advice. I was still going along with daily life, getting to work and treating patients, teaching Pilates classes unable to stand straight; each step I walked was painful and all the while thinking I cannot cope another 19 weeks of pain like this.
Lucky for me, I saw a consultant who referred me for a scan at 25 weeks and they actually found three Deep Vein Thombrosis’ (DVT) in my groin. I had to inject myself twice daily which wasn’t pleasant, but after a few days the pain started to settle. It felt amazing to have no pain again, in fact I continued to teach Pilates until I was 38 weeks pregnant, labour went well and I had little pain post pregnancy as well.
Though my experience wasn’t actually PGP related, I had all the signs and symptoms which has really encouraged me as a physiotherapist to study pregnancy related pains further to help a lot of women, as most just deal with the pain or are informed there is nothing available to help them!
I know that my core strength from Pilates-based exercises really helped me through the pregnancy process prior and post, therefore that is why I still encourage strengthening exercises for my female patients today.
So I would advise if you continue to suffer with pain it is important to get advice from a chartered physiotherapist, at Harris & Ross we can help with manual therapy, posture, exercises and advice.
Stef is our Senior Physio, based in Wigan on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
To enquire or arrange a consultation with Stef, you can send through a message via the ‘Request an Appointment’ tab or speak to us over the phone.