Delivering Helpful Strategies for Pelvic Pain after PregnancyHalf or more of all women who are pregnant have low back and pelvic pain sometime during the nine months. For some women, pain continues after the pregnancy ends. Doctors aren't sure if these are two different problems or just a continuation of the first painful episode.
This pain syndrome isn't understood very well. Does it have a specific cause? Is it muscle weakness or loss of muscle bulk? In many patients, pain occurs when the hip muscles are tensed. It would be helpful if the painful symptoms could be described or measured in the same way from patient to patient. Tests to measure the severity of the problem are being studied.
One test checks the strength of the hip muscles. The hip adductors are the muscles that bring the legs together. The strength of these muscles goes down as back and pelvic pain go up. According to a study in the Netherlands, hip adduction strength can be used to measure the severity of pelvic pain after pregnancy.
From this study, it is clear that muscle weakness is not the cause of the back and pelvic pain. Instead, weakness of the hip adductor muscles is caused by less ability to use the muscles. The strength of the muscles is a gauge of the severity of the disease. As the patient gets better, the muscles get stronger.
Using muscle strength as a guide to disease status is helpful to doctors. This gives a measure that can be used instead of the patient's opinion or the doctor's overall impression. This is a good starting point for future research about the cause of pain after pregnancy.
Jan M. A. Mens, MD, PhD, et al. Reliability and Validity of Hip Adduction Strength to Measure Disease Severity in Posterior Pelvic Pain Since Pregnancy. In Spine. August 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 15. Pp. 1674-1679.
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