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Bone Building Exercise for Osteoporosis

Bone Building Exercise for Osteoporosis

Building Bone – the foundations

Osteoporosis is a common disease in Australia. Osteoporosis affects over one million Australians, and is more common among women than men. It is a condition where the bones become weak, fragile and brittle. When bones lose minerals (such as calcium) faster than the body can replace them, this leads to a loss of bone density, which in turn, leads to an increased risk of fractures. Even a small bump or fall can cause a fracture. The most common sites for these fractures are the wrist, hip and spine (Osteoporosis Australia, 2014). Bone building exercise for osteoporosis is essential for optimising bone health.

Osteoporosis is likely under-reported, as many people typically have no symptoms at all until they experience a bone fracture, usually after a fall. Osteoporosis can be diagnosed with a simple and painless scan, known as a bone density test.

WHO is most at risk?

Factors that increase risk of developing Osteoporosis are:
(Osteoporosis Australia, 2014)

  • Your gender, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men
  • Increasing age. The older you get, the higher the risk
  • Race – you are at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re of Caucasion or Asian descent
  • Peri and post-menopausal women, due to the rapid decline in oestrogen levels during menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Medical history
    • Prolonged corticosteroid use
    • Thyroid conditions
    • Coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disorder, due to malabsorption
    • Eating disorders,  severely restricted food intake and being underweight can weaken bone
    • Some medications for breast/prostate cancer, epilepsy and some antidepressants
  • Lifestyle factors
    • Smoking
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Dietary factors
    • Little or no physical activity
    • Weight – both ends of the spectrum (thin body build or excessive weight)

WHAT can we do about it?

There are several interventions for osteoporosis management and prevention (outlined below).

We will focus mainly on bone building exercise for osteoporosis and the three important Bs – body, bones and balance.

Body, BONES & Balance – WHY exercise is important for bone density

Exercise is vital for both the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Regular, ongoing, physical activity and exercise has been shown to help maintain and improve bone mineral density (Osteoporosis Australia, 2014) (Sözen, T et al., 2017).

Bone is living tissue and this means it responds to exercise by getting stronger, as muscles do (NIH, 2019). Even when we are young, the exercise we do contributes to peak bone mass and therefore the more active we are, the higher the peak bone mass (NIH, 2019), (Sözen, T et al., 2017). Sometime during our 30s, this bone mass peaks and then we can begin to lose bone (NIH, 2019). Regular weightbearing exercise can help build your bone stock in your youth and prevent bone loss and maintain muscle strength and balance throughout your life. Exercise is especially important for someone diagnosed with osteoporosis.

There are specific exercises that are better bone building exercise for osteoporosis . These are called osteogenic exercises. These exercises help to improve bone strength due to a certain amount of impact or strain placed on them. Generally these exercises include resistance based or weight bearing exercises – exercises where your feet are on the ground and gravity is adding to the load through your bones. Swimming for example, would not be the best choice as an exercise to improve bone density, as there is very little gravitation loading or weight placed on your bones. Your bones react to the weight on them by building themselves up and getting stronger. Exercise examples include, but are not limited to, weighted squats and lunges, jumping, landing and stamping (Montgomery, G., et al., 2019). Impact loading can be tailored to the individual and gradually progressed from simple, safe landing techniques, to more challenging tasks once good skill and confidence in early tasks has been achieved.

It’s never too late to start a bone-building exercise program, even if you already have osteoporosis. You may worry that a bone building program may cause or aggravate a problem you may have, like back or knee pain. A professionally designed exercise program, customised to your individual circumstances, will allow you to strengthen your bones and muscles and improve your balance and coordination while minimising risks of aggravating pre-existing pain or injuries. In most cases, a customised program will have the added benefit of assisting you with these additional musculoskeletal problems.

So, no time like the present! Time to move that body and build those bones!

 

PhysioTec provides a unique and specialised group program based on the most current research available. It is designed to increase bone health and density through weight training. Our program incorporates posture and body awareness training along with balance and proprioceptive exercise aimed at reducing the risk of falls, joint overload and injury. Body – Bones – Balance (Body integration – Bone strength – Balance control) incorporates a group warm up followed by a targeted station-based exercise program that stimulates the whole body, with a special focus on improving health and strength of bones, muscles and tendons and optimising dynamic balance. Before entry into the program, you will have a detailed assessment with a physiotherapist who will individualise your starting program.

Read more information about our class here.

What exercises can I do at home after having a baby?

What exercises can I do at home after having a baby?

The experience of bringing a new baby home is exciting and wonderful. But this period can also be terrifying for a new mother, and at times, isolating. It’s a word we have been hearing so much of lately, but for other reasons – “Stay at home. Self-isolate. Social distance”. The concept of this is hard for anyone, more so for a new mother. As new mothers, we rely on getting out of the house and being social with our family, close friends and mother’s groups for support. We rely on access to our medical and allied health professionals so that we can look after ourselves and in doing so, care for the new baby we have brought into this world. Even though Covid restrictions are now easing,  it can still be challenging to leave the house with a new baby in those first weeks or months, for reasons other than the essentials. Looking after yourself and getting into some regular exercise might be low on your list of priorities.

 

Exercising from home

While the recent Covid crisis has been challenging, especially for new mums, this crisis has produced a tremendous surge in online exercises and exercise programs. We are lucky to have technology and the online platform to access exercise programs from home, however new mothers wanting to start exercising need to be cautious in selecting exercises. Some exercises place extra load on the abdominal muscles or pelvic floor which new mums need to avoid soon after having a baby, as these can have adverse results. Getting professional guidance before embarking on an online exercise program is vital.

At PhysioTec, we have two Women’s Health physiotherapists, Megan Power and Irene Li, who can assist you through this uncertain time. If you can’t make it to the clinic in person, we are able to provide an online ‘Telehealth’ video consultation. We will take a thorough history inclusive of your pregnancy and birth experience. We will also look at your posture and a variety of movements. From this we will give evidence-based advice and, if appropriate, recommend a personalised exercise program you can do safely at home.

We can address any of the following during a consultation:

  • Pelvic floor muscle and function
  • Abdominal separation
  • Safe exercise options/exercises to avoid
  • Pelvic pain

We also offer an App for your exercise program and this includes video, audio and text description. It also allows in-app messaging to stay in touch with your physiotherapist.

 

The Importance of the Pelvic Floor Muscles

Like any other muscle in our body, the pelvic floor muscles may be weak, too active, a source of pain and can also be different side to side. These muscles, along with connective tissue, support the pelvic organs. In women, these are the bladder, uterus and bowel. The pelvic floor is important for prevention and management of prolapse, management of urinary incontinence and also for its role in sexual function. Following childbirth, the pelvic floor needs time to recover and then we can start to gradually build up strength and coordination of these muscles again.

The main recommendation of the most current guidelines state that pelvic floor muscle training is associated with a reduction in prenatal and postnatal urinary incontinence (Mottola MF, et al., 2018). These exercises can be performed daily HOWEVER, it is crucial that women seek instruction from a knowledgeable health professional  to ensure proper technique in order to obtain the best outcomes/benefits from performing these exercises. This is especially the case for women who have never trained these muscles.

 

What about running?

In March 2019, three highly experienced physiotherapists – Tom Goom, Gráinne Donnelly & Emma Brockwell combined their areas of expertise to release a paper on returning to running after childbirth and the guidelines for this population. The main findings were that women in the post-natal period benefit from an individualised assessment and guided pelvic floor rehabilitation in order to prevent and manage pelvic organ prolapse (Hagen, S et al., 2014), manage urinary continence (Bø, 2003) (Dumoulin, C et al., 2018) (Price, N et al., 2010) and improve sexual function.

 

Based on expert opinion, the following suggestions were made:

  • Return to running is NOT recommended at all prior to 3 months post-childbirth OR beyond this time point if any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are identified before or after attempting a return to running
  • Pelvic health, load management and strength testing should be assessed in order to establish if a patient is ready to return to running in the post-natal period
  • Additional factors that should be considered in the postnatal evaluation are weight, fitness, breathing, psychological wellbeing/status, abdominal separation, breast support and feeding, running with a buggy and relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S)

 

How can a Physiotherapist help me?

At PhysioTec, our physiotherapists who specialise in Women’s Health can address your postnatal concerns and advise you on the safest exercises, individually tailored to your symptoms and current capacity. If you are wishing to return to a level of activity similar to pre pregnancy, your physiotherapist is able to guide you on load and intensity and how to graduate safely back to full activity. We are passionate about what we do and our continuity of care. We are here (in person at Tarragindi or online via TeleHealth) to help and provide you with the best advice and support!

Book Online or call us on 3342 4284 to speak to us today!

 

References

Bø, K. (2003). Is there still a place for physiotherapy in the treatment of female incontinence? EAU , 145-153.

Dumoulin, C et al. (2018). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(10).

Hagen, S et al. (2014). Individualised pelvic floor muscle training in women with pelvic organ prolapse: a multicenter randomised controlled trial. 282(9919), 796-806.

Mottola MF, et al. (2018). 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52, 1339-1346.

Price, N et al. (2010). Pelvic floor exercise for urinary incontinence: A systematic literature review. Maturitas, 67(4), 309-315.

 

Pregnancy, pelvic pain & safely returning to running

Pregnancy, pelvic pain & safely returning to running

Pregnancy is an exciting and special time but it can also come with a lot of questions. Whilst Google gives us access to a wonderful world of information, it can lead to more questions and sometimes concerns. This article will discuss the effect of pregnancy on the mother in terms of pelvic pain and the pelvic floor and returning to running after pregnancy, backed up by evidence and research. It is important to remember that not any one pregnancy is exactly the same!

Pelvic Pain & Exercise during Pregnancy

Based on various studies, approximately 50% of women experience low back pain or pelvic girdle pain (pubic, buttock, tailbone, pelvic floor regions) during pregnancy and 25% continue to have this pain 12 months after delivery (Davenport MH, et. al., 2019).

A panel of experts looked at 32 studies, which included a total of 52,297 women without absolute or relative contraindications to exercise (Davenport MH, et. al., 2019). For the absolute and relative contraindications, please click here. From this, it was found that physical activity during pregnancy decreased the severity of low back, pelvic and lumbopelvic pain. (Davenport MH, et. al., 2019). This is both during the pregnancy and in the early postpartum period. The exercise components of these studies included yoga, aerobic exercise, general muscle strengthening and a combination of resistance and aerobic training (Davenport MH, et. al., 2019).

Another study by Owe et. Al (2016) looked at 39, 184 pregnant women who had not previously given birth. This study found that exercising up to five times weekly prior to pregnancy was protective against pelvic girdle pain and also those women who reported participating in high impact exercises prior to pregnancy had the lowest risk of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. (Owe KM, et. al, 2016).

The most current guidelines state that an accumulation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week is recommended in order to achieve the health benefits and reduce risks of pregnancy complications (Mottola MF, et al., 2018).

Pregnancy & the Pelvic Floor

In relation to the pelvic floor, the main recommendation part of the most current guidelines state that pelvic floor muscle training is associated with a reduction in prenatal and postnatal urinary incontinence (Mottola MF, et al., 2018). These exercises can be performed daily HOWEVER, it is crucial that women seek instruction from a trained health professional (such as a women’s health physiotherapist) to ensure proper technique in order to obtain the best outcomes/benefits from performing these exercises. This is especially the case for women who have never trained these muscles.

Returning to Running after Pregnancy
More recently (March 2019), three highly experienced physiotherapists – Tom Goom, Gráinne Donnelly & Emma Brockwell combined their areas of expertise to release a paper on returning to running postnatal and the guidelines for this population. The main findings that were included in the paper were that women in the post-natal period benefit from an individualised assessment and guided pelvic floor rehabilitation in order to prevent and manage pelvic organ prolapse (bladder, bowel or uterus descending into the vagina) (Hagen, S et al., 2014), manage urinary continence (Bø, 2003) (Dumoulin, C et al., 2018) (Price, N et al., 2010) and improve sexual function.

Based on expert opinion only, the following suggestions were made:

• Return to running is NOT recommended at all prior to 3 months post-natal OR beyond this time point if any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are identified before or after attempting return to running
• Pelvic health, load impact management and strength testing should be assessed in order to establish if a patient is ready to return to running in the post-natal period
• Additional factors that should be considered in the postnatal evaluation are weight, fitness, breathing, psychological wellbeing/status, abdominal separation, breast support and feeding, running with a buggy and relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S)

How we can help you at Physiotec:

It is imperative to see your physiotherapist before commencing physical activity, especially if planning a pregnancy, already pregnant or in the post-natal period.

Here at Physiotec, your women’s health physiotherapist can:
1. assess your pelvic floor muscles to ensure you are using them correctly
2. assess and address other areas of concern such as low back pain or pelvic pain
3. advise you on the safest exercises during pregnancy as well as into the post-natal period
4. perform a physical assessment to determine whether you are ready to return to running or other exercise after pregnancy 
5. perform a running assessment to ensure that your technique places minimal loads on your pelvic floor and joints following pregnancy

You might also like to join one of our Pilates classes to stay strong or build strength and control before, during or after your pregnancy.

Bibliography

Bø, K. (2003). Is there still a place for physiotherapy in the treatment of female incontinence? EAU , 145-153.
Davenport MH, et. al. (2019). Exercise for the prevention and treatment of low back, pelvic girdle and lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53, 90-98.
Dumoulin, C., Cacciari, L. and Hay-Smith, EC. (2018). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(10).
Hagen, S., Stark, D., Glazener, C., Dickson, S., Barry, S., Elders, A., Frawley, H, Galea, MP, Logan, J., McDonald, A., McPherson G., Moore KH, Norrie, J., Walker, A., Wilson, D. (2014). Individualised pelvic floor muscle training in women with pelvic organ prolapse: a multicenter randomised controlled trial. 282(9919), 796-806.
Mottola MF, et al. (2018). 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52, 1339-1346.
Owe KM, et. al. (2016). Exercise level before pregnancy and engaging in high-impact sports reduce the risk of pelvic girdle pain: a population-based cohort study of 39 184 women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50, 817-822.
Price, N., Dawood, R. and Jackson SR. (2010). Pelvic floor exercise for urinary incontinence: A systematic literature review. Maturitas, 67(4), 309-315.

Physical Activity & Pregnancy

Physical Activity & Pregnancy

Physical Activity & Pregnancy

The Facts, the Figures & the False Conceptions

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and you are unsure about the current guidelines for physical activity and what is safe, this is a must read! An excellent team of experts have appraised over 27,000 manuscripts and abstracts (Davies G & Artal R., 2019) in order to bring us the most up to date information and guidelines on physical activity during pregnancy.

THE FACTS:

Physical activity during pregnancy:

  • DOES NOT increase the risks of structural or functional birth defects which stem from in the womb (Davenport MH, et al., 2019)
  • Has a significant effect on reducing the severity of low back pain, pelvic girdle pain and lumbopelvic pain. (Davenport MH, et al., 2019)
  • Decreases the chances of using instruments during delivery (Davenport MH, et al., 2019)
  • Reduces the chances of depression during pregnancy as well as the severity of symptoms. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the post-natal period. (Davenport MH, et al., 2018)
  • Reduces the risk of excessive weight gain during pregnancy as well as weight retention postpartum. (Ruchat S, et al., 2018)
  • Results in a small increase in the mother’s body temperature which is safe for the baby. (Davenport MH, et al, 2019)
  • Effectively reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia. (Davenport MH, et al., 2018)
  • Reduces the odds of having abnormally large babies (Davenport MH, et al., 2018)

Additionally…

  • There is no association between physical activity during pregnancy and increased risk of miscarriage or perinatal mortality (stillbirth or deaths in the first week of life) (Davenport MH, et al., 2019)
  • There is not enough evidence to inform us if lying on our back to exercise is safe or if it should be avoided altogether during pregnancy (Mottola MF, et al., 2019)
  • There was no association found between exercise during pregnancy and complications with the newborn baby or harmful childhood outcomes (Davenport MH, et al., 2018)

THE FIGURES & RECOMMENDATIONS

(Mottola MF, et al., 2018)

  • An accumulation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week is recommended in order to achieve the health benefits and reduce risks of pregnancy complications
  • Exercise over a minimum of 3 days per week, however daily exercise is encouraged
  • Variety is key in order to achieve greater benefits
  • Pelvic floor muscle training can be performed daily in order to reduce risk of urinary incontinence
  • Exercising flat on the back should be modified if the pregnant women is experiencing light headedness, nausea or feeling unwell
  • TAKE HOME MESSAGE: All women WITHOUT contraindications should be participating in physical activity during pregnancy

THE FALSE CONCEPTIONS

  • Exercise will harm the baby. The evidence has shown that there are no increased risks of miscarriage or a small baby when undertaking physical activity during pregnancy
  • Heart rate should be below 140 beats per minute. This is an outdated guideline from the 80s and there was no evidence to even support this guideline, it was based on expert opinion.
  • Exercise needs to be at a gym or with group fitness. Lots of studies that were looked at were walking programmes. Additionally, moderate intensity physical activity can include gardening, mowing the lawns and some household chores.

Other considerations for physical activity & pregnancy

There are other considerations specific to the mother during pregnancy and physical activity. These include, but are not limited to, the pelvic floor and risk of overload/prolapse as well as pelvic pain. If you are planning a pregnancy/already pregnant and have a history of pelvic pain or pelvic floor concerns, it is important to see your physiotherapist before commencing physical activity. Here at Physiotec, your women’s health physiotherapist can assess your pelvic floor muscles to ensure you are using them correctly, assess and address other areas of concern such as low back pain or pelvic pain and advise you on the safest exercises during pregnancy as well as into the post-natal period. You might also like to join one of our Pilates classes to stay strong or build strength and control before, during or after your pregnancy.

Download more information on Physical Activity during Pregnancy here

Physiotec Updates

Physiotec Updates

END OF YEAR ROUNDUP!

2015 in Review

2015 was a year of exciting change and growth for Physiotec. The clinic expanded physically, new staff came on board, our technology advanced, our physiotherapists further expanded their already high level of knowledge and we reached out to the community with involvement in sporting events, teaching locally and abroad and with social media.

The clinic expanded upstairs this year providing another large gym space, two more treatment rooms, a second waiting area, a meeting/teaching space for our staff and a second office. We have also taken on board a Patient Liaison Coordinator, Toni Corta. You may have heard from Toni who is responsible for helping track the progress of our patients with the aim of providing the best quality service possible. We pride ourselves on providing treatment that is up to date and informed by cutting edge scientific evidence. The information Toni collects will further help us determine which treatments provide the best outcomes in our patient population. Better outcomes achieved more rapidly for our clients continues to be our primary focus.

We also invest in technologies that can help us achieve this goal. Physiotec invested in an additional real time ultrasound machine used for muscle and tendon assessment, rehabilitation and biofeedback. Our ViMove system (wireless accelerometers for assessing movement) has undergone considerable advances with new programmes to assess and improve ‘core control’ and neck movement as well as advances in the knee and running modules. Our second gym has been equipped with a new reformer with a tower attachment and we also added a ladder barrel allowing a host of new exercise challenges. A spine corrector, two TWS sliders, a ballet bar, balance equipment, band stations, a weights station and much more can also be found in our new exercise area.

pilates gym new

Our physiotherapists are passionate about continually increasing their expertise. Our staff have been involved as treating physiotherapists in university research trials and have attended national Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine conferences and many workshops and lectures on topics such as Hip Pain, Hamstring Injuries, Bone Health, Women’s & Men’s Health (pelvic pain and pelvic floor function), Hypermobility, Dance Medicine, Running Injuries & Rehabilitation and Tendon Pain & Rehabilitation.

Our principal physiotherapist, Dr Alison Grimaldi has also contributed to the knowledge of other physiotherapists and health professionals in Australia and overseas through multiple presentations at the recent Australian Physiotherapy Association Biennial Conference at the Gold Coast and lectures and workshops presented at Pure Sports Medicine(London), PhysioUK (London), Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, William Harvey Research Institute (London), Neath Port Talbot Hospital (Wales, UK), the Sports Surgery Clinic (Dublin, UK) and the Australian Institute of Sport (Canberra).

Dublin lecture 2

Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin

Alison also presented weekend courses for physiotherapists in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. She has continued her research involvement into management of gluteal tendon pain and hip joint pain through the University of Queensland and University of Melbourne and has co-authored three papers in peer reviewed scientific journals such as Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical TherapyMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and Sports Medicine Journal.

Physiotec has been more connected to the world in 2015, with increased activity on Twitter and Facebook. We aim to help keep our followers up to date with the latest research in physiotherapy by providing information on useful links, blogs and tips on injury prevention.  Not only are we active on social media, but we also launched a new and easy to navigate website where you can browse our services, get to know the staff, and read more news in physiotherapy. Here is link to our new website: Physiotec

As part of our goal to get our clients more fit and active throughout their recovery, Physiotec staff and patients participated in the International Women’s Day Fun Run which raises money for Breast Cancer.

international women's day

We have also worked hard to help our patients to achieve their own activity and work related goals. Staff physiotherapist, Eric Huang, who is the founder of Brisbane-based cycling group M.I.A, helped some of our clients earn cycling medals while managing to gain podium placings himself.

MIA

mia podium eric

We have helped clients achieve lifelong goals of overseas travel and returning to work after years of disability, but it is often the everyday things that have the most impact – walking upstairs painfree for the first time in months, being able to attend family or social gatherings, achieving a good night’s sleep. We always love to see our clients overcome their difficulties and reach their personal goals.

What’s up in 2016?

In this coming year, our physiotherapists will be attending conferences and courses around the world. Alison will be attending the Low Back & Pelvic Pain Congress in Singapore and lecturing and presenting at the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists in Glasgow, UK. She will also be teaching in London, Wales, Ireland, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand, as well as her regular Australian courses. Sharon will be attending the First International Ehler-Dhanlos and Hypermobility symposium in the USA. Kirsty, will once again be working with elite tennis players at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Eric will be continuing to further his knowledge and performance in all things cycling. Megan will be furthering her expertise in Women’s Health and Tony & Louise will be sharing their knowledge with some part time tutoring at the University of Queensland.

We will also be joined by visiting psychologist, Carolyn Uhlmann, who has a focus on providing support for patients coping with acute and chronic pain, chronic illness or caring for a loved one with health problems. She can also assist those who are learning to adjust and cope with changes in health, medical events, mobility and independence.

With the new staff members, new gym, new Pilates programs, running assessments and spinal assessments, you can expect that we will be offering more at Physiotec as we continue to grow.

 

Why should I exercise during and after Pregnancy

Why should I exercise during and after Pregnancy

For Mums and Mums to be…

Have you ever experienced some pain in the pelvis  or in the hips during or after pregnacy?

Poor pelvic control or instability is a condition more common in women and is most likely to occur during or post –pregnancy.  During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is released in the body to allow the ligaments to stretch to accommodate the fast growing baby. With another human being growing rapidly, the pelvis does undergo an increase in loading, which some women cope with a little better than others – this can be due to genetic factors such as natural pelvic and ligamentous structure, or the background muscle conditioning you had prior to the pregnancy.

DON’T WORRY THOUGH…. remember that “instability” does not mean your pelvis is physically out of place but rather your muscles around the pelvis are not providing adequate’ force closure’ or mechanical compression or support around the pelvis while the ligaments are lax.

Who is more at risk of developing Pelvic pain due to pelvic instability?

Research has shown that  women who are involved in strenous work, or have a previous history of low back pain and a history of lumbo-pelvic (lower back and pelvis) pain during previous pregnancies are at risk. Although, direct trauma to the pelvis such as a fall can also result in pelvic instability.

How can Physiotherapy Help?

Use of Physical Aids

Physiotherapy can help by identifying the cause of the pain around the pelvis, whether it is originating from the lumbar spine or from pelvic instability. Off loading the pelvis may be important in reducing the symptoms such as using crutches or walking sticks. Tape or pelvic/abdominal belts  can also provide some compression around the pelvis, assisting with stability in the shorter term.

Postural and Movement Education

Being aware of movements or postures that may overload the pelvis, and optimising muscles support around the lumbar spine and pelvis are the most  important factors in managing this condition. Some specific advice on what movements or positions you may need to avoid or adjust can make a big difference in avoiding pain aggravation.

Specific and Appropriate Strengthening Exercises

Improving activation of the deep supporting muscles around the pelvis is also extremely important for providing dynamic control, so

despite laxity in the ligaments, your muscles can assist in compensating for the reduced support that ligaments can give during your pregnancy. Using real time ultrasound to train deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles, and some of the deep hip/pelvic muscles are beneficial to someone who has pelvic instability. This is followed by a progressive strengthening program matched to the needs of the individual. Your physiotherapist can recommend appropriate Pilates and Pilates-based exercises as well as monitor your progress throughout your pregnancy and even after your pregnancy.

Transversus Abdominis Ultrasound At Rest
Ultrasound retraining of the abdominal wall – Transversus abdominis

If you are suffering from pelvic pain due to instability, see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and get some good advice on pain management, training in deep muscle activation and an appropriate exercise program.

Image Courtesy of keerati of freedigitalphotos.net

References:

Vleeming et al. (1992). An integrated therapy for peripartum pelvic instability. A study of the Biomechanical effects of Pelvic Belts. American Journal  of Obstetrics. 166 (4): 1243-1247

Wu et al. (2004). Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PPP)I: Terminology, Clinical Presentation and Prevalence. European Spine Journal. 13:575-589