5 LIFE HACKS TO AVOID PELVIC GIRDLE PAIN
Pelvic Girdle Pain goes by a variety of names these days (to find out exactly what it is, and understand the lingo in this post, read this blog here: http://stableandstrong.com.au/pelvic-girdle-pain-effects/
Despite the name changes and tweaks in research in regards to expected causation, one thing remains the same – it’s largely a problem of instability. So, the logic follows that stability would be a big part of prevention and cure.
Here are 5 things that contribute to that instability during pregnancy that you may not have known about and are easy to avoid (that you may not have thought about) –
1 – Moving objects with your feet
I know what it’s like beyond 30 weeks pregnant – it seems far easier to kick an object along the floor rather than attempt bending down in order to pick it up. If the object is heavier than a soft toy though – you’re at risk of destabilising that pelvis when 1 leg attempts to take the weight. If it’s too hard to reach get someone else to pick it up/move the object in question. Or leave it there.
2 – Walking on unstable surfaces
A romantic walk on the beach sounds like the ultimate relaxation remedy when you’re pregnant doesn’t it? Walking on sand that moves beneath you with every step increases the risk of both SIJ and PS instability. Walk next to the beach on the footpath instead. In good, flat, spongy shoes.
3 – Getting dressed and undressed standing up
Putting trousers on involves standing on 1 leg to balance, and generally some side movement and rotation too. Sit down so that the pelvis is square and you can put one foot in at a time when getting dressed – the stand up with both feet flat on the floor in order to finish getting dressed. Same goes with getting in and out the car -sit down sideways, then move both legs into the car together to face the front. Do the reverse when getting out.
4 – Repetitive leg movements against resistance
Think of the constant scissor-like movement of the legs during walking, swimming and cycling as repetitions on those pelvic girdle joints in question. That’s A LOT of reps. If you add resistance (going uphill, pushing a heavy trolley or carrying bags, moving through water) there’s additional pressure put on the pelvis to stabilise your spine literally every time you load a leg. Avoid making it harder than it needs to be while you’re pregnant. Once the baby comes you’ll have plenty of opportunities to walk up hill, pushing heavy loads and carry a wriggling toddler – usually all at the same time.
5 – Leg stretching
You’re pregnant. You have a ton of relaxin and other hormones rushing through your body ready to soften every ligament and tendon you have (unfortunately this physiological process is not selective about which joints). Now is not the time to be stretching those hammies (back of thigh) or adductors (inner thighs). Muscles keep joints in position. Lengthen them through stretching, add a hormonal cocktail, and it’s pretty easy to displace a joint. Try some stabilisation exercises instead – they can be every bit as effective at pain and tension relief as stretches – without the associated risk of PGP.
Now, this can be controversial because I know that so many women love to wear heels and while nothing else from our wardrobe fits during pregnancy, pretty shoes can make us feel awesome. I get the logic – Beyonce rocked killer heels during her pregnancy – surely I can too.
Wearing heels tips our pelvis into anterior tilt (forward – so belly button goes towards the ground). This excessively arches the lower back, locks the knees out into hyper extension, and de-stabilises the sacroiliac joint (which is most secure when the pelvis is in the exact opposite position). Pregnancy is a teeny tiny window in the grand scheme of things – the shoes will still be there once bub is out. Once you get PGP during pregnancy it’s really hard to reverse until after birth – and can sometimes require weeks of rehabilitation to make sure it never returns. Embrace flat shoes for this short time and stay pain free.
That’s it! 5 quick things (and you didn’t have to do a single exercise).
Now obviously – everyone is different – and sometimes, through no action on our part, we develop conditions during pregnancy simply because of the physiological changes of growing a baby.
SO – if you do have pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy it’s a good idea to see a qualified therapist in your area to have your individual needs assessed.