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Pelvic joint pain—physiotherapy hints to relieve pain

The following hints will help you to decrease the strain on your pelvic joints and keep your pelvis and spine aligned. Remember to keep symmetrical, move smoothly and always keep breathing.

Sitting posture

Use a small rolled towel in the curve of your lower back, a footstool and have your bottom as far back in the chair as possible.

Standing posture

Keep your weight even over both legs. Do not let your hips slide forward, over-arch your back or knees flick backwards.

Sit down or stand up from a chair

Keep equal weight on both legs, poke your bottom out and sit down, maintaining the curve in your back.

Sleeping

Use a large pillow to support knees in an open position. A pillow under your top arm can prevent twisting.

Getting into bed

Sit with your bottom as far back as you can on the bed, cross your ankles, keep your legs bent and your knees a little apart as you lie down on your side, bringing your feet up with you.

Getting out of bed

Roll all the way onto your side, then lift your head and push forwards and up through your hands into a sitting position.

 

Rolling over

Move your body to one side of the bed to allow room without twisting. With your legs bent up, roll bit by bit, keeping your knees and shoulders pointing in the same direction.

Avoid heavy lifting

Always bend your hips and knees, keeping the curve in your lower back. Keep loads close to your body, and move heavier objects in stages (e.g. floor to chair, then chair to shelf). Use these “stages” with awkward lifts e.g. getting up or down from the floor or picking up a toddler—rather than bending from the waist, push through your legs to stand back up.

Getting in and out of the car

Avoid opening your knees too far apart. Sit squarely on the seat, and then move your legs into the car in stages.

Support garments

Support garments may help stabilise your pelvis when you are standing and walking, and provide significant assistance for you in managing your pelvic joint pain. These garments are available at Mater Health and Wellness Clinic (07 3163 6000) and include:

  • SRC pregnancy shorts or leggings
  • elastic pelvic belt.

Other tips

  • You can use an ice pack over the pelvic joints (front and back “dimples”) to reduce pelvic joint pain and inflammation (packet of frozen peas, crushed iced cubes in plastic bag or gel pack). Wrap in a pillow slip to avoid an ice burn. Use for 10 to 15 minutes only, several times a day
  • You can use a heat pack over the back and bottom muscles to reduce muscle soreness and spasm. Wrap in a pillow slip or tea-towel to avoid a burn. Leave the heat pack on for 20 to 30 minutes for maximum benefit.
  • Sit down when putting on your clothes or shoes
  • When walking, take smaller steps, change directions gradually and wear supportive shoes
  • Minimise use of the stairs
  • Divide tasks up, take rests frequently and stop before your pain increases
  • Tasks like vacuuming and cleaning the bath/shower should only be done if you have no pain. If you do have pain, ask for help.

Remember:

  • If any activity causes your symptoms to worsen, you should first try to change how you are doing it using the ideas above. If it is still painful, stop and discuss with your physiotherapist.
  • Do not push through pain—this will make your symptoms worse now, and it will take them longer to settle, including after your delivery—listen to your body! Have patience, these strategies will help.

Further information

For further information, please phone Mater Mothers' Hospital’s Physiotherapy team (Allied Health reception) on 07 3163 6000.
 

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Last modified 19/11/2015.
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