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Treatment for post-pregnancy pelvic pain
Treatment options for Pelvic Pain after Childbirth
Pelvic pain is a common problem that many women have after giving birth. It is amazing how frequently we receive phone calls and emails from new mothers reporting hip/pelvic pain after childbirth that just doesn’t seem to go away. But there is good news for moms – help is available for you!
Causes of post-pregnancy pelvic pain
Hormones, pregnancy and lifestyle:The heavy load that mothers’ bodies have carried throughout their pregnancy has stretched the ligaments in the pelvic area causing them to become lax or loose. During pregnancy a woman’s body secretes a hormone called Relaxin which also causes ligaments to loosen so the baby will be able to pass through the birth canal. All of this, combined with the position of the baby in the pelvic region during pregnancy helps you see where the potential for pelvic pain to develop is increased. Ligaments have poor blood supply so the healing process may not happen quickly, if at all, for many of these new moms. On top of this situation, many new moms carry their babies on their hips while juggling other tasks like cooking, answering the phone, or throwing in the laundry. It’s the perfect place to “set” the baby while they try to multi-task! Unfortunately, this further injures these already lax ligaments, worsening the condition even further. This is why we and others recommend using a baby carrier/sling when carrying your child(ren).
Carriers such as this one can help reduce pressure on the hips/pelvis
Pelvic floor dysfunction:Pelvic floor dysfunction also causes pelvic pain and is very disabling. The pelvic floor goes from the pubic symphysis in the front to the ischial tuberoisty in the back. All the musculature in between these two areas is the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor dysfunction is usually caused by pelvic instability. Pelvic instability is caused by lax or loose ligaments. If you have pelvic instability it is likely that you have an injury to the ligamentous supporting structures.
When your pelvic floor muscles are trying to contract and your pubis is unstable you are going to have muscle spasms in this area. Muscle spasms can cause excruciating pain. Anything you do that puts pressure on the ligaments (lunges, running, intercourse, crunches, etc.) is going to make the symptoms worse. Many people who have pelvic floor dysfunction or pelvic pain are hypermobile. This means that you have more flexibility than the average person – which could be hereditary or a result of the pregnancy hormones discussed above. Most likely you have a ligament injury in your pelvic area. If you have pelvic instability, we feel that you need to stabilize it in order to get rid of the pain. We use Prolotherapy to stabilize these structures.
Traditional treatment options for post-pregnancy pelvic pain typically don’t work
Many new moms will go back to their OB/GYNE doctor after recovering from their pregnancy for a few months and discuss the fact that they still have pelvic pain. The doctor usually sends them to physical therapy or may prescribe NSAIDs to help dull or cover up the pain. In some chronic cases the doctor may recommend pelvic fusion. None of these solutions typically fully addresses the root of the problem – lax ligaments! Therefore, often these solutions don’t work and these types of patients end up in our office. Many of the women we have seen seek Prolotherapy because they are having problems caring for their child, resuming sexual activity, and have fears of being able to carry another baby all due to their pelvic pain. The good news is that Prolotherapy is a great option for these women!
Prolotherapy: An alternative treatment option for post-pregnancy pelvic pain
Ligament laxity is easily treated with Prolotherapy because there are multiple ligaments that can grow lax and cause pelvic, hip, and groin pain. The pubic symphysis is one of the ligaments that can become lax. It is the front joint of the pelvic bone. The back joint of the pelvic bone is the sacroiliac joint. If one of these is lax or loose, it is a good indication that the other is lax or loose as well. Dr. Hauser typically treats both of these areas to ensure the strength and the integrity of the pelvis. He will perform a structural exam to determine all of the areas that may be involved in your pain problem.