- Avoid activities which cause pain and accept help from friends and family with household tasks.
- Avoid repetitive lifting or bending. If it is related to your work ask your employer for a work place assessment.
- Change positions frequently for example try not to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- Maintain a good posture and achieve a balance of exercise and rest.
- Avoid constipation by eating a balanced diet and drinking fluids.
- Use an ice pack for ten minutes over the painful area. Repeat regularly. Warm baths or heat packs will help with muscle relaxation, massage can also help.
- Your midwife can refer you to a physiotherapist who will assess you and give specific advice and exercises for your problem and a pelvic support belt if appropriate
- Your GP or midwife can advise on medication.
It is the activities that we do every day that can lead to pain and discomfort. Below is advice for different activities and postures.
Stand with your feet hip width apart facing forward. Check your weight is balanced between each foot with your knees straight not locked. Relax your shoulders down, gently drawing the shoulder blades down and towards each other. Stretch the back of your neck by thinking of lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Holding this posture, gently lift the pelvic floor, drawing your belly button to your spine (as if tightening your belt one notch tighter than usual). Try to maintain this tension when working in a standing position and avoid stooping when doing activities such as washing up. If you work in a standing position it may be useful to lean against a wall, bend your knees and gently tilt your pelvis backwards so your spine flattens to the wall.
It is important to take regular walks to maintain your fitness. If you have a lot of pain when walking, avoid uneven surfaces such as cobbles and the beach. Try to maintain the upright posture developed in standing, think about “walking tall”, maintaining gentle tension in your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles (belly button to spine) to hold your hips level. Walking up hill requires a stronger contraction through the abdominal muscles to maintain the best possible posture. Don’t allow yourself to “waddle” side to side. When your heel contacts the ground gently squeeze your buttock muscles to help you stay tall.
Bending and Stretching
When picking up objects or doing housework such as loading the washing machine bend the hips and knees not the spine. If you contract the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles as you are bending or reaching this supports the back. Take care not to over stretch and avoid squatting.
Carry things close to your body or split the load so it can be carried equally for example use two smaller shopping bags or a rucksack. Try to avoid carrying heavy handbags, the vacuum or toddlers. If you have to lift, get as close as possible to the load to be lifted. Use the strong muscles of the legs to push up with whilst keeping the back straight and drawing in the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Sit with your feet hip width apart, facing forward and heels positioned under knees. Try to position the hips at a right angle, with weight equal between left and right sit bones. Using a small rolled towel at waist height supports the natural curve of your lower back. Your shoulders should be relaxed with shoulder blades gently pulling back and down towards each other. Stretch the back of your neck by thinking of lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling and drawing the chin back. Whilst holding this posture, lift the pelvic floor and gently draw belly button to spine. Ensure you sit on seats that give you support; you may need to use cushions to support your spine when relaxing. Avoid sitting on low chairs, with the legs crossed or tucked up sideways on the sofa. Sitting in these positions can make your pain worse.
Getting out of a chair
Shuffle your weight to the front of the chair then lean to bring your nose over your toes before pushing up with the legs to stand. Avoid twisting whilst standing up, especially if holding any type of heavy load.