Pelvic Pain?

Don’t let it limit your summer activities

By Katie Piraino, PT, PRC

Summer is on its way, and many of us are excited to get out and enjoy our wonderful Alaskan outdoors. But for some of us pelvic pain (often known as pelvic girdle pain) can limit our ability to do the things we love.

What is pelvic pain?

Misalignment during pregnancy can cause pain in the front or back of the pelvis (symphysis pubis and SI joints), also the low back, hips, legs, even in the pelvic floor. This can be anywhere from mild and annoying to completely debilitating.

It is relatively common but not normal. Contrary to myth, women do not need to suffer or wait until they have their baby to get relief.

Activities that can be painful include walking, stairs, turning in bed or getting in or out of a car or chair.

Who gets pelvic pain?

About 20 percent of pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain. It can persist for more than three months after delivery, occasionally much longer. Research has found that the degree of asymmetry between the right and left sides of the pelvis is a factor.

What can I do at about it?

Home tips:

Additional resources.

Physical therapists that specialize in women’s health have advanced training in this area. Just a few appointments can be enough to learn which precise exercises you can do on your own to stabilize your pelvis and relieve pain.

To find a women’s health physical therapist near you go to:

In Alaska, physical therapists have what is known as ‘direct access’ which means that patients can legally see them without a referral. Contact your health insurance, as there are a few insurances that require a referral.

What other problems do women’s health physical therapists see?

Urinary incontinence: It is not normal to leak when you laugh, cough or even jump on a trampoline. The latest approaches include treating the body as a whole system, not solely doing kegels.

Pelvic organ prolapse: When the muscles that hold up the pelvic organs get weak or overstretched they can drop from their normal position. A common symptom is pressure in the pelvic floor. Talk to your medical provider if you have symptoms.

Separation of the abdominal muscles (diastasis recti): Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess and treat this condition. They will also be able to give you an exercise program and tell you what activities you should and shouldn’t do, or when to get back to running/sports.

Pelvic pain: There are many possible causes, make sure you talk to your doctor. They may refer you to a women’s health physical therapist.

Katie Piraino, PT, PRC, has 29 years of physical therapy experience in women’s health and orthopedics. Visit