You have had an uneventful pregnancy and are getting excited as your due date nears. Surprisingly, at about 36 weeks, you start experiencing this pain in your inner thigh. It doesn’t keep you from moving initially, but as the days go by, you notice it more and more. You think that maybe it’s how the baby is positioned or maybe you pulled something, but how?
You inform your OB and are instructed to ice and rest and call back in a few days. That doesn’t help, and when you call back you are given a referral to physical therapy? How are they going to help? You go ahead and call to schedule your appointment a few days later, because at this point you are in so much pain, anything is worth a try!
At your first appointment, the physical therapist watches you walk as you enter the room. She asks you about your pain level, how it began and if anything makes it better or worse (if you knew that you wouldn’t be there, but you answer her questions politely). She then continues the evaluation by looking at your posture, range of motion of your legs and back, checks your strength and does a few other tests to see if she can reproduce your symptoms and confirm what is causing your pain. What may be most surprising is how tender and painful the muscle is along the inner thigh!
By the end of the session, she explains that the muscles along the inner thigh have developed trigger points because of how you are walking. In addition, there are other areas of concern, that you may not be aware of. Your alignment is off, and that can happen during pregnancy because of ligamentous laxity. Your posture has been greatly affected as a result of the pregnancy, as expected, and now some of muscles are tight and need to be stretched. Patients benefit from manual techniques to correct their alignment, work out trigger points, learn stretches and exercises to do at home, and learn about ways to position yourself or perform activities to better cope with the pregnancy-related changes to your body.
By Effie Koustas, MSPT