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What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Pelvic girdle pain, also known as Pelvic Instability, refers to discomfort experienced in the pelvic region. It most often occurs during pregnancy but can become an ongoing issue for a lot of people. This can manifest in various areas, including the front (pubic symphysis), back (sacroiliac joints), or sides (hip joints) of the pelvis.

For some individuals, the pain may be mild, allowing them to function normally during pregnancy. However, for others, it can be debilitating, turning an otherwise special and magical time into an unpleasant experience.

You are not alone if you're experiencing this, as one in four pregnant women suffer from pelvic girdle pain (PGP) at some stage of their pregnancy, and 7% continue to experience it after childbirth.

What causes it?

The cause of pelvic girdle pain varies for each person.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes in a short period of time.. To adapt to the changes in size and weight, your body has a huge surge in hormones, which softens and stretches ligaments throughout the body, helping our posture adjust to the growing baby and changing center of gravity.

When the pelvic ligaments become more relaxed, the muscles have to work harder to provide support for the pelvic joints. If your body adapts well to these changes, you are likely to experience minimal pain and discomfort.

Every body is different! It’s important to know that pelvic girdle pain…. Just tells us that you have pain in your pelvis! We need to understand the root cause. Factors like previous trauma, posture (alignment), movement patterns, and muscle weakness can impact your body's ability to accommodate these changes, leading to strain in the pelvic ligaments, joints, and muscles, causing pain in different areas.

What are the symptoms of pelvic girdle pain or pelvic instability?

Pelvic Girdle Pain symptoms include pain in the pelvis (front, back, or sides) as well as referred pain in the lower back, hips, groin, thighs, and sometimes even knees.

The pain is often aggravated by activities such as:

  • Walking

  • Getting in and out of the car

  • Climbing stairs

  • Standing on one leg

  • Rolling over in bed

  • Sitting

  • Getting dressed

  • Painful sexual intercourse

PGP can be mild or severe and can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but it is more common in the second and third trimesters.

What can you do to help?

Try the following tips:

  • Maintain good posture while standing and sitting

  • Place a pillow between your legs while sleeping

  • Keep your legs together when getting in and out of a car

  • Sit to get dressed

  • Apply ice to the painful area in your pelvis


  • Prolonged periods of sitting

  • High heels

  • Heavy lifting

  • Carrying uneven loads, e.g., shoulder bags or a toddler on your hip

How can an Osteopath help with pelvic girdle pain?

At The Osteopathic Pelvic Hub, we have highly experienced osteopaths specializing in pelvic girdle pain treatment. As Osteopaths, we consider the whole body, not just the site of pain, to identify the root cause of your PGP. Our osteopaths have received additional training in treating pregnancy and postpartum, ensuring they are skilled in caring for women throughout their pregnancy.

PGP can be treated at any stage of pregnancy, and seeking osteopathic care promptly can lead to quicker resolution of symptoms.

Even during pregnancy, joint restrictions in the pelvis may contribute to pain, and osteopaths use gentle techniques to improve overall balance and alignment, reducing stress on ligaments and muscles. We also offer advice on strengthening exercises and stretches to support the treatment.

Pelvic girdle pain is not something you must endure until your baby is born. Early diagnosis and treatment can alleviate symptoms, allowing you to continue with your everyday activities and enjoy this exciting time in your life.

It's important to note that although pelvic girdle pain is common during or after pregnancy, it can also affect people who have never had children. 1 in 12 men may experience PGP at some point in their lifetime due to various factors, including physical trauma or surgery.


What is pelvic girdle pain blog
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