Hi, my name is Jo Day, and I am a women’s health specialist osteopath, treating women through pregnancy, postnatally and beyond. My particular specialism is working with women with PGP, and have been recognised as a PGP practitioner with The Pelvic Partnership, which is an awesome charity providing real information and support to women suffering with PGP.
So, what is it?
PGP is an acronym for Pelvic Girdle Pain, and it can include any pain around the pelvis, bones and muscles. This means
your pubic bones, around your hips to your tail bone (cocccyx), and the lower spine where it attaches to the coccyx, called the lumbar spine, and sacrum. We have many muscles and ligaments in this area which can also become implicated in PGP, and can also cause sciatica.
How I look at pelvic pain is from a whole body perspective. Every structure in our body is connected by our skin, and fascial system. Every injury, surgery, fall, gynae issues, previous births etc etc all keep their mark on your body, and will change how our body moves. For example any scar will produce a new restriction and therefore a new fulcrum to move around. So we look specifically at why have you got it, and not your sister/ friend/ person sitting next to you? So I take a very individual look on every single person who comes to see me, and treatment and rehab is never the same for anyone… In fact, no appointment is ever the same. Whether you are newly pregnant, due any day, or ten years postnatal…. There is always a reason, and my job is to delve into your medical history, past birth and pregnancy history, and do a thorough assessment from head to toe, of why you are experiencing PGP. And guess what? It is VERY RARE for it to be only specific to something in your pelvis! The pelvis becomes highly sensitised, there is a huge emotional component to pain, and often the pelvis stores all of this. Plus, EVERYTHING attaches to the pelvis… Every joint in the whole body, has a relationship to the pelvis, from the big toe, to the jaw joint. So it can quite often be the ‘fall guy’, or ‘fall girl’ in this case!
Pelvic Pain is NOT NORMAL.
It is common, yes, but absolutely not normal. And should never be accepted as something you have to live with. Your body is desperately trying to tell you something, and you really have to listen. It is not acceptable to just be given crutches, or even a wheelchair, and painkillers, and told that it will get better of its own accord, or that it will go away once baby is born. It is not acceptable to be offered antidepressants for the depression and upset that the pain has caused because it is ruining your life, and every waking second. And yes, these things have all been said to women who have then come to see me, in tears, saying I am their last hope. And we’ve done it. They have finished pain free with me, and they have gone on to have the birth they wanted. So please do not accept that this pain is OK.
So, pelvic pain is also telling you something else…. In fact, any pain in pregnancy is your body telling you something… Whether it is rib pain, headaches, lower back pain, PGP, foot pain, sciatica… You name it, there’s a reason for it. And this is mostly your body letting you know that it is not quite adapting to the pregnancy how it should. Our bodies need to be fluid and adaptive, no restrictions or compensations getting in the way of the body changing to make room for the growing uterus. Every injury you have had in your life, your body has very cleverly made small compensations and changes for it. However, when you get pregnant, your body gives up compensating for old injuries, and tries to adapt to the pregnancy. This is when old injuries can actually show themselves again if they haven’t been treated and rehabbed properly in the past. But also, the restrictions and compensatory patterns in your body, may well be getting in the way of your body’s fluid and naturally adaptive ability. I assess you, to see from head to toe, which parts of your body aren’t capable of this, and then help get them to move more freely and adjust well, so that as the uterus grows, the body can adapt with it.
This can often be reasons why the baby sits itself into the wrong position; for example transverse, back to back and breech babies are often in these positions due to the mechanics of the Mum getting in the way. So I often see women around 35 weeks pregnant who come to me as baby is not quite in the right position. We have managed to help turn many of these babies, not by hands on turning the baby, but by giving them the room they need, and by getting Mum balanced well so that the pelvis and lower back can move well, but it is MUCH easier if I have a bit more time!! Most mums who I treat throughout pregnancy end up with babies in a much better position, and there is lots of fab research which backs up that Osteopathic treatments through pregnancy can significantly reduce length of labour and amount of intervention required. We have a specific video all about Osteopathy and PGP on our website so feel free to take a look: https://hertsosteopathy.co.uk/pregnancy-and-pgp
So, to sum up….
PGP is NOT NORMAL. No pain in pregnancy is normal. You don’t have to live in pain, either through your pregnancy or postnatally. You can enjoy your pregnancy, and Osteopathy can definitely help you work towards an easier birth, and a better recovery. We offer PGP specialist Pregnancy Osteopathy appointments, and Specialist Postnatal Osteopathy Appointments too. So it is never too late.
Thank you so much for reading,
Jo Day, Owner and Founder of Herts Osteopathy.
Principal Osteopath specialising in Women’s health, Pregnancy and Postnatal.
Please head to our website for more information. https://hertsosteopathy.co.uk
I have written a PGP help sheet which you can find in the pregnancy and PGP section of our website. There are also a number of other useful blogs, videos and resources on the website too, and a whole postnatal section in case you are reading this with postnatal PGP. Don’t worry, we can still help.
Please also feel free to email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about PGP, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/hertsosteopathy and Instagram www.instagram.com/hertsosteopathy as I have a number of posts and videos to help.
Extra advice on PGP if you are not local, or to find a practitioner more locally to you, please head to https://pelvicpartnership.org.uk