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Spotlight on

pelvic girdle pain

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Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is pain which is felt around the pelvis, lower back, hips and thighs. 

It can vary from mild to severe. The symptoms can be different for each woman.


The symptoms of PGP can vary for different people, both in terms of severity and presentation. The most commonly experienced symptoms are:

pain in the front centre of your pubic bone
pain in your lower back on one or both sides
pain in your perineum, the area between the anus and vagina

The pain sometimes travels to your thighs, and you might also hear or feel a grinding or clicking sound in your pelvis.

The pain is often more obvious when you’re:

  • walking
  • using stairs
  • putting your weight on one leg
  • turning over in your bed

It might also be challenging to widen your legs. This can make daily tasks such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, or getting in and out of a car difficult.


The most common cause of pelvic girdle pain is pregnancy. It’s thought that PGP affects up to 1 in 4 pregnant women to some extent.

During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin are released to loosen the ligaments and muscles in your:

  • hips
  • stomach
  • pelvic floor
  • pelvis

This loosening is intended to increase your range of motion in order to help you give birth, but it also means that your joints can become unbalanced and more mobile than they usually would be. This can cause discomfort or pain.

Although this slackening is intended to help with birth, sometimes you can start producing these hormones in early pregnancy. You may experience the symptoms of PGP long before it’s time to give birth.

The baby’s weight and position are also thought to affect pelvic pain. The symptoms of PGP tend to worsen as the pregnancy progresses.

It’s much less common for PGP to occur outside of pregnancy, but it does happen. Other causes of pelvic girdle pain range from pelvic injuries to conditions like osteoarthritis. In some cases, there’s no known cause.


Early diagnosis can be really helpful in managing PGP. The diagnosis is mainly made through taking a history and physical examination. Imaging is often not required and frequently does not show anything. Our Specialist MSK and Women’s Health Physiotherapists are well placed to assess and identify the source of your PGP.

Can it lead to pregnancy complications?

Pelvic girdle pain isn’t medically harmful to your baby and there are lots of things that can be done to minimise your pain. That’s why it’s important to seek help from a specialist physiotherapist.

The Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy group from the U.K. suggests that you try to avoid the following activities if you’re experiencing PGP:

  • putting your weight on only one leg
  • twisting and bending while lifting
  • carrying a child on your hip
  • crossing your legs
  • sitting on the floor
  • sitting in a twisted position
  • standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • lifting heavy loads, such as wet laundry, shopping bags, or a toddler
  • vacuuming
  • pushing heavy objects, such as a shopping cart
  • carrying anything in only one hand

How can physiotherapy help me?

Physiotherapy is the first line of treatment for PGP. We can advise and help you to:

  • minimise your pain
  • improve your muscle function
  • improve your pelvic joint stability and position

It can be good to see someone who has specialises in women’s health, however all MSK physiotherapists will be able to give help and advice.

What are the therapies available and how can they help?

Manual therapies include ‘hands-on’ treatments such as soft-tissue massage and joint mobilisation, which are highly effective for Pelvic Girdle Pain.

Hydrotherapy may be recommended, where you do the exercises in the water. Being in the water can take the stress off your joints and allow you to move more easily.

Education, advice and suggestions on comfortable positions for sex, labour, and birth can help with your overall management and reduce anxiety and pain.

In some cases of PGP, a course of acupuncture or electroacupuncture with our women’s health acupuncturist, Angela, may be prescribed.

You may also be provided with supportive equipment such as crutches or pelvic support belts.

For more information or to book an appointment please call on 02392 215 050 or email at [email protected]

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Send a message to us, and we’ll get right back to you

Sue Wooster

Lead Receptionist

Susan (Sue), Receptionist; welcomes clients and co-ordinates appointments.

Sue has been with The Physiotherapy Centre team for a year now, previously 14 years with Portsmouth City Council as Business Support Officer.

In her spare time Sue loves to walk and has completed marathons: Moonlight Walk and Blenheim Palace, Abseiled Spinnaker Tower and did a Tandem 10,000 ft parachute jump; all for good causes.

She works on the adage ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to physical health.

Every day is different, and meeting so many people and sharing their experiences is a privilege and inspiration.

Prof. Elizabeth Barley


I am a Health Psychologist, Practitioner Psychologist and Registered General Nurse, working in private practice. I am a trained listener, therapist, mindfulness teacher and mentor.

I am a specialist in:

  • Helping people to cope with anxiety, depression, illness and with other life stresses.
  • Helping people to make lasting lifestyle changes.
  • Helping people to live well with illness.

I can help you to:

  • manage troublesome emotions such as depression, anxiety or stress
  • explore the emotional impact of life changes such as illness, disability or loss
  • cope with difficult symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, breathlessness, palpitations, menopause
  • adjust to living with illness, including cancer, long term conditions or health conditions without a clear medical diagnosis
  • make, and stick with, healthy life choices such as eating healthily, exercising and reducing alcohol intake
  • manage your time, work or studies better
  • explore what matters and how to change things for the better

Jeannette Small

MSK & Adolescent Practitioner

Jeannette graduated from Brunel University in 2003. She worked in the NHS for nearly 20 years before joining the team at The Physiotherapy Centre in January 2023. She has experience of assessing and treating a wide variety of MSK conditions in both adults and adolescents (12-18 year olds). She is a member of The Health and Care Professions Council (PH64711), The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (069415).

Jeannette was a very keen gymnast growing up, she coached for many years and she still loves to throw herself upside down when she gets the chance. She has had physiotherapy treatment following injuries of her own so is very aware of how debilitating it is physically and mentally. She is very aware that activity in childhood is extremely important to ensure good health into adulthood therefore Jeannette is passionate about supporting and guiding her patients back to activity in the safest way possible.

Jeannette has 2 young children so when she’s not working most of her time is spent running around after them. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she is willing to try her hand at any activities.

Laura Holdway

Community & Home Practitioner

Laura, Community and Orthopaedic Physiotherapist, visits clients in their homes to provide rehabilitation at an early stage and specialises in treating Orthopaedic conditions.

Laura, who graduated from the University of Brighton in 2006, is delighted to return to The Physiotherapy Centre after spending the past 15 years within NHS acute hospitals. Prior to this current role, Laura was a Trauma and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Team Leader managing a team of 12 people and leading with trauma management for the Trust.

Laura has a long-standing interest in the rehabilitation of those who have suffered a fractured hip as this type of debilitating injury can have such a negative effect on individuals’ lives. She enjoys the challenge of ensuring each client can achieve their optimal outcome and empowering them to take control over their recovery.

Outside of work, Laura enjoys spending time with her family; playing games, baking and going for walks with their cocker spaniel, Teddy. She likes to keep herself fit with different exercise classes and enjoys gardening to relax.

Cameron Hawley

Sports Therapist

Cameron, Sports Therapist, works with injury diagnosis, management and rehabilitation, with sport and non sports based injuries.  Cameron has only just started working with us, before joining us he worked in multiple private clinics, and working as a massage therapist most recently. Alongside this Cameron spent time in the NHS working at Petersfield community Hospital.

Cameron graduated from the University of Chichester with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy, outside of sports therapy Cameron volunteered in the NHS as a non clinical vaccinator and helped with providing covid vaccinations.

Cameron is a keen sports player, playing football in his spare time on the weekend along with other sports like tennis and occasionally golf, alongside training regularly Cam understands the injuries that occur with an active lifestyle and understands how to work around and with these injuries.

Cameron believes in working to make a client happy and healthy within their body and helping teach to develop an understanding of their body and help develop confidence and knowledge to go about life without fear of injury or settling for pain.

hannah gray

Practice Manager

Hannah oversees the day to day running of the Practice with the help of the amazing admin team.

Hannah has been with the company for 7 months and prior to this she spent 5 year as a practice manager in the dental industry. Hannah has completed various courses in customer service and administration and is keen on streamlining business processes.

In Hannah’s spare time she is a Mother of 4 Children and loves days out and trips away with the family.

Hannah enjoys seeing the clients make progress in the centre and believes this is all down to the fantastic therapists we have who put their heart and soul into giving the best possible care.

Patrick sanford

Marketing & Sales Director

Patrick handles all the pretty stuff and things that make people notice us.  He has been with the company for around 10 years now. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as marketing manager at a bakery in Brighton – not putting the holes in the doughnuts! 

To his great surprise Patrick graduated from Luton University with a B.A. in Business & Marketing.  In his spare time, Patrick is a keen mountain biker and enjoys listening to great music (so he says).  He believes that challenges make life interesting, but overcoming those challenges makes life meaningful.

As a final word, Patrick is obsessed with ensuring that all our awesome clients receive the highest level of service and care and safest possible environment.