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Posts Tagged ‘pelvic pain’

Back in the day when I did ballet, I was exceptionally flexible. So much that I was told by professionals to avoid working on additional stretch, instead focusing on supportive muscles, so that I wouldn’t suffer long-term problems.

Well, at last I’m seeing some ramifications for what was a lovely blessing during my dancing days: After Aury was born (I didn’t notice during pregnancy at all), I suffered for 9+ months Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), also called pelvic instability or pelvic girdle pain. I didn’t realize what my problem was until this pregnancy when it started around week 26 and I recognized the feeling.* It has gotten progressively worse and is what (even minor) makes pregnant women “wobble” as they grow. Some women experience it more/less than others. It can potentially become a big issue, but not often.

Hoping to keep post-birth recovery more simple and shorter than after Aury’s birth, I’ve been doing a lot of research and bringing out some of the tools from my dancing days. Thanks to my sister who is a professional athletic physical therapist, I’ve been doing several exercises & implementing restrictions (below) to help, and have added kinesiology tape to my bag of tricks (it’s been a surprisingly wonderful thing!).  I also just got a supportive belt last week (and will wear it after birth, as necessary). Rather than support my growing BELLY or back, it just snugs up my whole pelvis to keep flexibility to a minimum. So far, so good. I’m feeling so encouraged after a couple of weeks of pretty intense discouragement!

The pain was slight at first, ramping up as I made errors in judgment.  The first time was when I was back-wearing Aury and slipping in the mud – flip flops on a rainy day to do chores?  Stupid fool.  It was the incident that made me ask for advice more aggressively.  Thanks to a referral from a friend (and then my midwife), I went to my first ever physical therapy appointment last week.  The PT was compassionate and empathetic.  She helped me with additional exercises at home (below) that I could use to support my pelvis.  I was in a good amount of pain on this visit, but by my follow up visit two days later, I already noted significant improvement.  They did some deep massage and had me working on some more exercises.  I had another set back late last week, but already am feeling encouraged by a decently quick recovery after a weekend of being doted on by my kids and husband.  And very, very little movement.

This gets me excited.  This flies in the face of the research I initially did on the internet.  Everything I read said there was no cure, other than waiting out hormone adjustments after birth.  Umm, I’d rather that not be an option.  I want to be more proactive with my body, even if I get their reasoning.  Surely there’s something one can do in the event that my SPD is not extreme!?

Here are a few immediate changes I made as soon as it started, and have noted has definitely kept things in check:

  • Less picking up the babe – This guy’s a snuggler, and has intuitively started needing me more as I’m nearing the due date of his little brother, so this is tricky.  But I stopped wearing him.  And I stopped loading him in and out of the car (thanks to big kids!).  I found alternatives, like snuggling on our over-sized bean bag in the living room.  A lot.  That’s been fabulous for both (all!) of us.
  • Keep knees together when rolling in bed at nighttime – This made a huge impact on nighttime pain.  In fact, I really can’t complain about SPD while sleeping at this point.
  • Sit while putting on bottoms – This was the worst part, trying to get un/dressed.  Lifting one leg at a time was a real doozy, and limiting that motion in general not only made the activity itself easier, it made the rest of the day so much better.
  • No crossing legs at knees –  sitting cross-legged has not been an issue since the pelvis stays level.  However, crossing at the knees (feet down) causes the pelvis to twist.  And twisting is b-a-d.
  • Fewer stairs – since our bedrooms are upstairs, this can’t be completely eliminated, but rather than head up for every little thing, the kids are really stepping up (see what I did there?) and helping me if something’s needed, including putting our little fella down for nap.** When necessary to climb stairs, use support.  Hold on to that railing, by gum!
  • Live like a mermaid – I’ve been taking this one more and more seriously as time goes on.  Here is The Tummy Team’s video on the matter, giving a great visual of what you want to avoid.  The Tummy Team is an excellent resource for SPD and Diastis Recti, and strengthing your core before/during/after pregnancy if you’re in the PNW!  I have many friends who have had wild success there with repairing and recovering and building.
  • SLOW DOWN – this has been the most important and most challenging one.  It’s time to just take it a bit easier.  No huge projects.  No big shopping days.  It’s time to just relax a bit.  And that’s okay.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

One last thing that I’m just now looking into is grapefruit seed extract.  I have a gal friend that just had baby #9, and has said using this particular blend (can be bought at Costco, etc – I’ve no affiliation to link) to keep cartilage and ligaments tight has been a huge asset in her pregnancies and general ladies health.  I’m on it!  It looks like it supports heart health, too.

This feels a lot like my Roy Family story (and subsequent songs of praise despite such a sensitive subject).  I’m a pretty self-sufficient gal, and sometimes I poo-poo “help,” often judging that it’s silly or a waste of time.  Yet I continually learn that there are resources out there that can literally be game-changers, despite my assumptions.  Why must I resist?!  It’s really embarrassing how I have to explain – in shock – to the PT’s that it’s working.  I guess they know that what they do works.  I’m thankful for their patience with me!  And I’m thankful that mobility and pain have been subsiding and improving immensely!  I guess I don’t have to “suffer” it out, but instead can enjoy pregnancy as much as I always have!

Closing in on the finish line in theory. In reality, we often go up to a couple weeks late. I’m just happy I can still see my toes. #aprilshowersbringmaybabies #ourfirstspringbaby #readyornothereyoucome

 

*I had a lot of struggles on our Alaska road trip last summer because of my pelvis hurting, especially as I lugged my big fat (healthy) baby around. I wasn’t about to let that stop us, tho’, so quietly endured (I’ll confess: there were tears some nights).  I was taking supplements (collagen, etc) thinking the pain was “just” depleted minerals from baby-birthing and age, and tho’ I’ve no doubt those were beneficial, now realize what I was actually dealing with – and am better prepared! Super thankful for this!

**Aury is a man of routine, similar to one of his big brothers.  This has been good for him as he learns to let his siblings nurture him as we make some transitions to a new babe joining the family.  He adores his siblings, but often resorts to me for sleepy comfort. He’s finding that he has loving nurturers all around him instead (we’re all learning and embracing this, more than usual).  It’s been a really special thing to experience.  And has been good for everyone here.  Thankful for this time of bonding and excess love in these last days before our family expands once again.

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