17 Tips for managing Pelvic Girdle Pain.
Recently I was working 1:1 with a mum on postnatal rehabilitation, especially to help with pelvic girdle pain.
This mama had been struggling with debilitating pelvic pain for three whole years since the birth of her baby and actually for a long time before then too. Half way through our first class together she exclaimed with excitement, ‘it’s like doing a tricep dip for my pelvis!’
She was learning how to connect with the muscles inside her pelvis that help to support it from the inside. If these muscles aren’t coordinating effectively together then sometimes pelvic pain is the result.
Pelvic girdle pain is an umbrella term describing pain felt anywhere in the pelvis and is very often associated with pain in the sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis, or the pubic symphysis at the front.
The way we move our bodies affects how they work, how they feel and how you feel.
After my first baby was born. I had severe and debilitating pelvic pain that lasted for two years.
It hurt to walk. To sit down. It hurt to lie down. My pelvis hurt all the time.
And yes I saw practitioners. Sooooo many practitioners. But the treatments only ever lasted a couple of days and then I’d be in pain again until the next treatment.
“Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) during pregnancy occurs in approximately 70% of females and 38% of women continue to suffer PGP symptoms beyond 12 weeks following delivery.”https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02648607
That’s a lot of women.
At the time I thought my experience was rare. But now I know it’s common.
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is so common it’s considered by many health care providers to be a normal part of pregnancy and postpartum.
But what if it wasn’t normal, or usual? What if it’s just that as a culture we don’t understand or care for the specific needs of the mother body?
I remember the day I started to get better.
Two years postpartum and seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (WHP), I was in so much pain she suggested I wear a pelvic support belt. I was desperately sad because the pelvic pain seemed to be getting worse, not better. This Physio also recommended Pilates. Which I wasn’t doing at the time because I was deep in motherlife overwhelm and did. not. have. the. time. So whilst I was teaching pilates to others, I wasn’t doing it for my own body. And my body was falling apart.
So I committed to a weekly class with a teacher experienced in working with pelvic girdle pain and six months later was recovered. No more pelvic pain. Then I became pregnant again. Still no more pelvic pain. I’ve never had it since.
And that’s one of the reasons why I’m committed to offering women quality movement training appropriate to their specific needs during pregnancy and postpartum. Because I know what it’s like to live with chronic pain, whilst mothering a very young child. It’s really really lonely. I also know how to get better, and what it feels like to get better. And I know what it’s like to go through another pregnancy and not get any pelvic pain. I know that yes you can resolve the pain, and yes you can recover.
I love teaching both pre and postnatal Pilates with this particular focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation. Because it is possible to profoundly care for your body using movement. It’s not just about getting fit or more toned, it’s about how you feel inside your body, how it works, and how safe you feel inside your own skin. Whether or not you feel your body has failed you, or if you can trust your own body.
I want to support you to nurture and nourish your incredible mama body so that you’re pain free, and mobile, and strong enough to do all the things in your life that you want to do.
17 Tips for managing pelvic pain:
- Be kind and gentle with yourself.
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs.
- Use a heat pack or a cold pack (whichever works best for you) on the sore bit.
- Take pain relief appropriate for whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Wear a support belt around your pelvis if it helps.
- Stop doing whatever aggravates it. So stop doing lunges, or holding your child on one hip, or wearing your baby in a carrier that puts pressure on your pelvis, or taking walks that aggravate it, so walk slower and don’t walk so far, take smaller steps.
- Gather emotional support around you, PGP is associated with depression, anxiety, lack of support, feelings of overwhelm and stress.
- Get some bodywork from a practitioner trained in women’s health like a womens health physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor.
- Use a spiky ball to massage and release your glute muscles.
- To help support the pelvic joints, learn how to connect with and coordinate the muscles inside your pelvis such as your pelvic floor and deep abdominals.
- And also learn how to balance and activate the muscles outside the pelvis such as you glutes, hamstrings and adductors
- Ask for help. Ask your child to climb into their pram or car seat, ask your partner to carry your child, get someone else to do the vacuuming.
- Learn about how to lift heavy things safely for when there’s no one there to help you.
- Be kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself. Ongoing pain is exhausting and wears you down.
- Speak up, no one knows you’re in pain if you don’t tell them because you’re not wearing a bandage or cast and no one can see the injury.
- Yes, you can and will get better. It might take a while, but you absolutely can recover.
Pelvic Girdle pain most often responds to a multimodality treatment approach. That means, it’s unlikely that one particular thing will make you better, it’ll be a combination of things you try. So if you find something that makes your pelvis feel better, do more of it. And if you notice something makes your pelvis feel worse, don’t do it!
Look after yourself mama! Our bodies respond to love, kindness, care, nourishment, rest, and healthy movement patterns.
I offer 1:1 in home appointments for mothers in and around Melbourne’s Inner North, and online appointments of those of you further afield.
Please feel welcome to get in touch via this contact form here.