pregnancy related pain & joint issues

Physiotherapy for Pregnancy-related Pain & Joint Issues

Pregnancy is hard on the body. Most women experience some degree of muscle and/or joint issues during and after pregnancy.

Pelvic girdle pain is the most common. Symptoms range from mild to severe, vary from person to person and often worsen with straining, lifting, twisting, or changing positions. Pain can be felt:

  • At the back of the pelvis over the sacrum
  • At the front of the pelvis over the pubis bone
  • Into the groin, perineum and buttocks

Pain can start anytime during pregnancy or labor and can last well after delivery. Aside from pelvic pain, some women also suffer dyspareunia (painful intercourse).

Causes of pelvic girdle pain

In the past women were told stretched ligaments, pinched nerves or altered hormones were to blame, and pain would go away as soon as the baby is born.  Many experts recognize this is not true. While causes of pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain are not well understood, the possibilities include:

  • Lax ligaments due to hormonal changes in pregnancy
  • Overactive or under-active pelvic and abdominal muscles
  • Stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments during and after pregnancy
  • Trauma to the pelvis and pelvic muscles during labor
  • Genetically lax or loose joints

How physiotherapy can help

While all physiotherapists can help women with pregnancy-related pelvic pain, there are physiotherapists experienced in women’s/pelvic health and pregnancy-related pelvic issues.

The treatment approach will vary depending on the cause but individualized supervised treatment is preferable to more general pelvic pain therapies. Treatment may include one or all of the following:

  • Education about postures, positioning and lifting during or after pregnancy
  • Use of sacral belts or tape to support the pelvic girdle
  • Manual therapy to restore normal joint and soft tissue movement
  • Targeted pelvic or core muscle exercises to improve the control, endurance and strength to the core pelvic muscles
  • Breathing techniques and targeted exercises to relax pelvic muscles that may be overactive
  • Modalities (e.g., acupuncture, electrical stimulation) for pain control or muscle relaxation

What to expect at your appointment

Your physiotherapist will take a detailed history, including a screen for medical conditions which may warrant medical follow-up.
They will perform a detailed examination of joints and muscles affecting the pelvis, this may include watching how you walk, sit, stand, bend, and move.
At Leduc Physio, physiotherapy assessments include education about found issues and problems, discussed treatment options and treatment plan, as well as a treatment session.

For more information about pelvic health physiotherapy at Leduc Physio, call us at (780) 980-5443 or email us at

To book your pelvic health assessment, go to