See one of our Physiotec staff, Colm Coakley, demonstrating some perturbation training using the CorMax Torpedo. Half filled with water, the Torpedo becomes an unstable load which your muscles need to figure out how to control. Consequently, it provides a great dynamic stability challenge! Also, due to the ever-changing stimulus, it keeps the nervous system guessing. This requires the system to continually change the way muscles are stimulated to respond.
In response to pain, or sometimes due to excessive training in very rigid unvarying patterns eg like regularly holding a rigid plank for 2+minutes, the nervous system can begin to recruit muscles in very confined, ‘primitive’ patterns. This can lead to a loss of normal efficiency and load sharing-load sparing in muscle recruitment patterns. As a result, this can also potentially contribute to pain, injury and a loss of athletic performance. At Physiotec, we are always exploring and embracing strategies that can help our patients get the best out of their bodies and their lives. Come & join one of our highly qualified physio’s in an innovative and challenging workout.
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.
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
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
Have you been told that you are double jointed? You may have heard this term before to describe being more flexible than usual. Well, your joints are not “ double” but passive structures such as ligaments and connective tissue allow more stretch than normal. Continue reading →