Physical Therapy Can Help With Pelvic Pain
Renee Dole, Bainbridge Island
When Renee was pregnant with her second son in 2015, she began to experience intense pain when she tried to walk distances, had to sit for more than 30 minutes, or attempted to lie on her back in bed. She thought it was probably due to the pregnancy, but after her son was born the pain did not go away.
“I had to sit on a donut [pillow] in the car and at the dining room table,” she said. “I had to sleep on my side.”
It wasn’t long before it got to the point that she was in tears. Renee explained, “It was a day when I had to be in a meeting and I just couldn’t sit through it, so I knew I had to go see a doctor.”
Dr. Amity Marriott, MD – Kitsap OBGYN
As an experienced physician who has helped many women with overcoming pelvic pain, Dr.Marriott elaborates on this condition and shares her recommendations for treatment. She advises that pelvic pain is common in women who are pregnant or postpartum – this is often referred to as ‘Pelvic Girdle Pain’, and Sciatica is one of the known causes. Moreover, Dr. Marriott explains “Pelvic pain in pregnancy is often due to Pubic Symphysis Diestasis (separation of the pubic ramus from the pubic symphysis).” In other words, the pelvic bones loosen to allow space for the baby to be delivered, which can be very painful for some women. Another condition that is common during pregnancy and after childbirth is incontinence.
“Previous pregnancies, genetics, heavy or frequent lifting, and body habits all contribute to this type of urinary incontinence,” Dr. Marriott describes.
The symptoms take place most often during coughing, sneezing or jumping. This condition usually lessens after delivery, but many women are continually affected as they resume normal activity. It is difficult to determine whether a woman will be prone to pelvic or hip pain during pregnancy. “I try to have an open dialogue with patients as they progress through pregnancy,” says Dr. Marriott. When her patients express that pelvic pain is becoming a problem, Dr. Marriott recommends using a pelvic support belt and refers the patient to physical therapy. Incontinence can also be treated with physical therapy during and after pregnancy.
“Physical therapy is often the most helpful for pelvic pain, whether pregnant or not,” says Dr.Marriott. “Medications that are safe in pregnancy do not treat the cause of the pain.” Furthermore, she explains that pharmaceuticals do not prevent symptom progression – nor do they provide long-term improvement. Dr. Marriott remarks that physical therapy can serve as the solution in all three of these areas. In conclusion she states:
“Physical therapy is one of the best options for management; many patients see a marked improvement in day-to-day function with physical therapy.”
Hayley Siegenthaler, PT – Kitsap Physical Therapy and Sports Clinics
In order to address the pelvic pain Renee was referred to Hayley Siegenthaler, a Certified Pelvic Health Specialist.
“We did a lot of patient education about the bones and muscles in the area where she was having pain,” Hayley said.
After a functional mobilization technique, Renee’s pain began to get better. Hayley also taught Renee pelvic floor stretches and breathing exercises. She was seen eight times in the KPT office on Bainbridge Island and continued to do her stretches and exercises at home.
“The minute that Hayley did the mobilization, the pain decreased,” said Renee. “That was when I knew things were going to be OK.”
Renee is now on a maintenance plan and does her stretching and breathing when needed to stay free of pelvic pain. In addition, Renee is now expecting child number three.
“What I want women to know is that pain isn’t something that should happen,” she said.
“I thought ‘Oh, I’ve had kids. This is the way it’s going to be from now on.’ I just wish everyone who experiences pain like I did, knew they could get better.” Hayley says she couldn’t agree more.
“Pain and incontinence is not normal after childbirth,” Hayley stated. “It takes a lot of displacement to have that level of pain. Physical therapy can help with pelvic pain. There are answers.”
Kitsap Physical Therapy offers an array of physical therapy and specialty programs as well as preventive-care services. Women’s health specialists are available at KPT’s offices in Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Poulsbo and on Bainbridge Island. For more information, go to kitsappt.com
Kitsap OBGYN is dedicated to women’s care, including diagnosis, treatment and preventive health. Offices are located in Silverdale and Poulsbo. To learn more, go to kitsapobgyn.com.