Patient: 21-year-old female
Chief Complaint: Painful intercourse with first encounter
Past Medical/Surgical History: Crohn’s disease, managed with diet; removal of gallbladder 2 years ago
Physical Therapy Treatment: Posture education; breathing exercises; pelvic and hip stretches; manual therapy for pelvic floor and review of techniques with partner; progressive vaginal dilator stretching
Results: 0 pain with intercourse in 14 visits!
In 548 Dutch working women, almost half reported pelvic girdle pain at 12 weeks postpartum. Pregnancy-related predictors for pain included: history of low back pain, elevated somatization, 8 or more hours of sleep/rest per day, and uncomfortable postures at work. Pregnancy and postpartum-related predictors for pain included: disability and pelvic girdle pain at 6 weeks, elevated somatization, higher birth weight of the baby, uncomfortable postures at work, and number of days on bed rest. The authors discussed that a woman with PPGP should be cared for to prevent more serious postpartum disability (Stomp-van den Berg et al, 2012).
Another study looked at the type of delivery and pelvic girdle pain in 10,400 women with singleton pregnancies. A planned cesarean section was associated with 2-3x the rate of pelvic girdle pain at 6 months postpartum. The authors recommended vaginal birth for women with PPGP, unless there is a serious medical reason (Bjelland et al, 2013). In a study done by the same lead author, postpartum women had high recovery rates from pelvic girdle pain, but those who reported significant emotional stress during pregnancy had an independent correlation with continued pelvic girdle pain (Bjelland et al, 2013).
A final study looked at the relationship between exercise and PPGP. Pregnant women who exercised more than 2x per week reported a lower rate of pelvic girdle pain, and those who exercised 1-2x per week reported less low back pain and depression. The authors concluded that exercise during pregnancy could lower the risk for pelvic and low back pain (Gjestland et al, 2013).
Bjelland EK1, Stuge B, Engdahl B, Eberhard-Gran M. The effect of emotional distress on persistent pelvic girdle pain after delivery: a longitudinal population study. BJOG. 2013 Jan;120(1):32-40.
Bjelland EK1, Stuge B, Vangen S, Stray-Pedersen B, Eberhard-Gran M. Mode of delivery and persistence of pelvic girdle syndrome 6 months postpartum. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Apr;208(4):298.e1-7.
Gjestland K1, Bø K, Owe KM, Eberhard-Gran M. Do pregnant women follow exercise guidelines? Prevalence data among 3482 women, and prediction of low-back pain, pelvic girdle pain and depression. Br J Sports Med. 2013 May;47(8):515-20.
Stomp-van den Berg SG1, Hendriksen IJ, Bruinvels DJ, Twisk JW, van Mechelen W, van Poppel MN. Predictors for postpartum pelvic girdle pain in working women: the Mom@Work cohort study. Pain. 2012 Dec;153(12):2370-9.