Hip Pain During Pregnancy

It can be typical to experience joint pain during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to just “deal with it”.  Hip pain can occur during pregnancy, and may be managed with physical therapy and implementing a Home Exercise Program.  

There are a few possible causes of hip pain during pregnancy to consider.  We’ll address the hormones first.  There are hormones secreted during pregnancy which cause increased laxity in your ligaments.  This is done in order to prepare the pelvis for improved flexibility during the birthing process.  However, in the mean ti secreted during pregnancy which cause increased laxity in your ligaments. This is done in order to prepare the pelvis for improve flexibility during the birthing process. However in the meantime it can cause increased laxity, in other joints as well, in this case your hips.  This increased la it can cause increased forces across the hip joint which can produce pain and dysfunction in the hip.

Our second consideration is weight gain.  It’s no secret that women gain weight throughout pregnancy, and during the third trimester, some women will gain up to one-third of their pre-pregnancy weight.  That is a lot of increased stress on the joints, and the hip is no exception.

The final potential cause of hip pain may be sciatica or more commonly, trigger points.  True sciatica is actually quite rare during pregnancy, but trigger points are quite common.  True trigger points can be diagnosed by a physical therapist, and are typically quite easy to address and manage given the right tools.

Now, we know what can cause hip pain, so – what do we do about it?  There are a few steps you can take toward decreasing your hip pain.  First is exercise, by strengthening the hip musculature and ensuring the proper muscles are conducting certain movements properly (ie. sitting/standing/walking).  Through strengthening, we can begin to decrease the stress placed on the hip joints and allow them to work in the most mechanically advantageous way possible.

It is also worth considering how best to decrease painful activities.  During the initial phases of healing, it is not always beneficial to “push through the pain”, in fact that can sometimes worsen the problem.  It is probably best to avoid those aggravating activities, until you are able to see a physical therapist to get the “go ahead”.

Stretching can also be beneficial for alleviating symptoms, so long as those muscles need to be stretched and it is being done in a safe manner.  Begin pregnant and attempting to stretch may bring some challenges, so it can be beneficial to see a physical therapist who can help you find safe and effective ways to stretch the muscles in need.

Having a massage can also be helpful.  There are plenty of massage therapists who specialise in massage for the pregnant client.  However you should always check with your OBGYN prior to seeing a massage therapist.

It is important to remember that if you are having pain during pregnancy, you should first discuss with your physician before attempting any exercise, massage or ancillary medical services.

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