Pelvic Girdle Pain is a very common condition in pregnancy and there is lots that can be done to treat it. Seeing a specialist osteopath can be really helpful and doing Pilates can help support your pelvis better to reduce and even get rid of the pain it causes. For many women, the pain eases once their baby has arrived but unfortunately sometimes pelvic girdle pain continues after pregnancy, which can be very frustrating.
Pelvic Girdle Pain is usually a mechanical issue and is usually caused by a misalignment in the pelvis or elsewhere in the body. From the way that our feet function and support us all the way up to the way our head sits on top of our neck, everything is linked and it is important to address any pain as a full body issue. The hormonal changes of pregnancy, alongside the weight of the growing baby and the way the body needs to accommodate for this, can make it worse but by addressing the imbalances and creating more space and strength throughout the body you can make huge steps to easing the pain.
If it continues after your baby has been born the same thing applies – your body continues to accommodate huge shifts and changes alongside lack of sleep, the physical demands of caring for a new born and the stress that being a new parent can create…it’s a lot!
While Pilates can make a HUGE difference to pain like this, it is really important to do this alongside a healthcare professional and with this condition my go-to would always be an osteopath. You can find a list of recommended professionals who work with this condition at the Pelvic Partnership, which is also an excellent resource for PGP in general.
Looking at the balance throughout your body can really help and here are some top tips for rehabilitating your body when you have PGP postnatally.
1. Look at the way you carry your baby (and especially older children if you have them) – try to avoid hip carrying or throwing your pelvis into positions that cause any torsion. Trying to keep your weight equal between your legs can help your pelvis to balance better.
2. Be aware of your pelvis when you are sitting – try not to sit with your legs crossed or at funny angles and this can aggravate any pain you are experiencing.
3. Start to build strength – obviously in the early days postnatally you shouldn’t be doing any formal exercise but doing pelvic floor exercises and breathing to engage your core is a great way to start switching on the muscles you need to support you in the long term. When you are feeling better, gentle pelvic rocks and bridges on two feet, again being aware of having equal weight in the legs will help to build your glut strength which will stabilise your pelvis.
4. Find balance in your body – don’t open the legs too wide in a thoughtless way but do keep the inner thighs mobile with gentle stretches to help avoid pulls in the pelvis. If it causes any pain then don’t do it but gentle inner thigh stretches that don’t cause pain are a good way to release muscles that could be pulling on your pubic bone. Gentle side bends are also a good way to release muscles that could be pulling on your pelvis but always avoid any movement that causes pain.
5. Ice the areas of pain – as mentioned above, PGP can cause inflammation and icing can help to reduce this and ease the discomfort.
6. Address inflammation in your body – look at whether you are eating inflammatory food in your diet and research non-inflammatory food such as turmeric and omega 3 fatty acids.
Despite the mystery that often shrouds PGP, there is so much you can do to help make the pain or discomfort much more manageable. Some one to one Pilates can work wonders, especially alongside osteopathy. You may like to look into our Postnatal Package for more assistance with this.
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