Pelvic girdle pain is a common yet poorly understood condition that affects women during pregnancy, childbirth, and/or the postpartum period. It is known by multiple different names, which adds to the confusion in the literature and in research. It may be called pelvic arthropathy, oteitis pubis, pelvic insufficiency, pelvic relaxation pain, pelvic instability, symphysis pubis dysfunction, or pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain. It is sometimes lumped together, I believe inappropriately, with lumbopelvic dysfunction or even lower back pain.
No matter what it is called, pelvic girdle pain is a major source of pain and disability during a time when women’s bodies and minds are maximally stressed. Finding help for this condition is extremely difficult because no one discipline is taking ownership of it. Ob-gyns, orthopedic doctors and physical therapists frequently are not aware of it; if they are, they may not know how to treat it effectively, due to lack of experience. Treatment of pelvic girdle pain often requires a team approach to get the best results, including a physical therapist who can treat both the orthopedic and biomechanical aspects of the condition as well as the internal pelvic floor components.
Pelvic girdle pain is a condition I suffered with during and after both of my pregnancies. My initial struggle to find help and my subsequent prolonged rehabilitation sparked my interest in treating patients with this condition and in pelvic health in general. I recently shared my story and information about pelvic girdle pain with the amazing Hannah Matluck at The V Hive.