20 May Exercise, pregnancy and sacroilliac joint pain
Although women have been giving birth since, forever, research now is only just beginning to fully understand the huge physiological and biomechanical changes that occur in a women’s body during pregnancy.
And whilst the joys (read as: pains) of pregnancy are usually blamed on the ‘pregnancy’ itself and the release of hormones – however the culprit of pelvic pain is now thought to be due to the changes in posture during pregnancy.
As many as 75% of pregnant women experience pelvic pain at some point, most often the pain appears in the second or third trimester. This pain is at the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) – which is at the junction between your sacrum (tail bone) and iliac crest of the pelvis. This pain can extend down into the buttock and back of the thighs, but does not usually radiate below the knees. The pain doesn’t resolve quickly with rest, and morning stiffness may also be present.
BUT, there is help for this common pregnancy aliment, that researchers are now showing that exercise can be the best preventative and treatment for pregnancy sacro-illiac joint pain.
Tips to help ease pregnancy sacro-illiac joint pain
- #exerciseismedicine guys! So instead of resting – we need to stretch and strengthen around this joint, to help stay mobile for the reminder of your pregnancy and birth. We also need to take a look at some of our daily habits and posture while walking, sitting and sleeping.
- Look at your standing posture. Are you leaning into one side of your hip? How are you carrying your shopping/bags/children? Try instead to keep your weight even between both feet.
- Look at your sitting posture. Do you sit crossed legged at work? Are you crossing one leg right now reading this article? Or even tucking one leg up to sit on at your desk? Do you slouch on the couch? Try to keep both feet on the ground -and keeping your bottom behind you!
- Do you sleep with one leg crossed over the other? Or do you end up curled up in a corner? Sleeping with a pillow between your legs, to keep your knees and hips supported can help as well.
- Try to incorporate some stretches into your day – stretching your hip flexors, lower back and glutes.
If you have SIJ pain, or want to avoid SIJ pain during pregnancy, the best thing is to see a heath care professional like an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to help you modify your current activity, improve your posture and develop a plan to improve your pain.