Easing back and pelvic pain
Back pain and pelvic pain are synonymous with pregnancy, ranging from the odd twinge or ache to full on pain.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) describes pain in the joints of your pelvis. These joints include the symphysis pubis joint (SPJ) at the very front of your pelvis (ie your pubic bone) and/or the sacro-iliac joints (SIJ) at the back (pain at the sacrum, where the back of your pelvis joins on to your spine).
Massage can ease back pain as it promotes healthy blood flow and releases feel good endorphins and hormones that work as natural painkilers. Make sure you choose a specialist pregnancy or postnatal massage, I offer both as part of my practice.
If you have PGP, you’ll feel pain across the front or back of the pelvis, which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. If you’re experiencing any pelvic/lower back pain, I’d strongly suggest you be referred to an Ante/Postnatal trained Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Osteopath who will assess the position and symmetry of movement of your pelvic joints.
Speak to your midwife as soon as possible to get a referral.
The muscles that need to be strengthened to improve stability are the core muscles, and the pelvic floor, and in some cases, it’s your glutes/hip stabilising muscles which need attention too. There are some simple, safe exercises that you can do to help strengthen your pelvis and ease these pains.
Here are some tips:
- Be as active as possible within pain limits and avoid activities that make the pain worse
- Ask for help! Many household chores and everyday activities may be difficult or painful – ask for and accept help wherever you can get it
- Sit down to get dressed/undressed
- Wear flat supportive shoes, ideally 'barefoot shoes' with no heel
- Try to keep your knees together when moving out of the car. A plastic bag on the seat may help you to swivel
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs
- Try different ways of turning in bed e.g. turning under or turning over with your knees together
- Roll in/out of bed keeping your knees together
- Take the stairs one at a time
- Use a small rucksack to carry your stuff around – this leaves your hands free to support you and will keep the weight of what you're carrying more evenly distributed.
- Move with awareness.
- Standing on one leg
- Bending and twisting to lift something
- Carrying an object on one hip
- Sitting with your legs crossed
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Lifting heavy objects (shopping bags, wet washing, vacuum cleaners)
- Carrying anything in only one hand
- Single shouldered bags - get a rucksack.
Of course not all of these activities CAN realistically be avoided – especially if you have older kids! But just try to get as much help as you can, go slowly and most importantly, think before you move.