Crutches can be helpful to use alongside treatment especially if you have pain while walking that is limiting your mobility. Crutches can help to keep you as mobile, independent and pain-free as possible between treatments. Contact your physiotherapist or occupational therapist for a free pair of crutches to use. Crutches also signal your need for help from other people, which can be extremely useful (opening doors, carrying shopping etc). People will also accept that you are walking slowly and tend not to bump into you as much.
Support belts can be helpful to manage symptoms between treatments by keeping your pelvis supported in the correct position and helping to stabilise it. However, if you wear one without first having your pelvic joint alignment checked, it is likely to aggravate your pain. If your joints are not properly aligned, pushing them together with a belt can cause more irritation and pain at the joints. If you experience more pain when you put it on, take it off and contact your manual therapist for advice and treatment. You usually need to remove a belt when you sit down as it can dig into the top of your legs and bump – belts are most effective when you are walking.
Tubigrip™ is often given out, but is difficult to put on, is often not the correct size and, again, should only be used in conjunction with treatment, so ask for more information about your options if you are just offered Tubigrip™.
Often the most helpful support (once your pelvis is well aligned) is a sacroiliac support, such as a Serola belt: www.appliedbiomechanics.co.uk
If your PGP is severe, you may find it helpful to use a wheelchair if you are going out and about for any period of time. It can give you a real sense of freedom. The Red Cross has wheelchairs that you can borrow if your physiotherapist/occupational therapist cannot supply one. In addition, many major tourist attractions and shops have wheelchairs that you can use, although you may have to telephone and reserve one first. Most supermarkets have wheelchairs that you can use, and if staff are available they will go round the store with you.
These are not something most people will ever need to consider. However, some women with severe and long-term PGP have found this was something they needed to install. Sometimes stairlifts are available from social services, but you can also install them privately, or even rent one on a monthly basis with a company such as Spitfire Stairlifts. However, if you are considering this option, do get in touch through our helpline as it may be that you have treatment options available that you have not yet fully explored.
Some experiences from women who have contacted us:
“Some of my nicest experiences were when I was in a wheelchair because I was so happy to get out. People would approach after seeing my baby on my lap and strike up a conversation.”
“By the end of my pregnancy the weekly supermarket shop was about the only time I left the house – and I didn’t want to give it up! It gave me a sense of normality, of participating in family life. I could manage about ten minutes at a time on my crutches – so I’d choose my fruit and veg, fish and meat, etc, then go and rest on a bench for a while whilst my family got on with the boring stuff.”
“At first I felt guilty that I couldn’t do all the active stuff we used to do – playing football, going to the park, etc, but then we started to find things we could do together without too much effort. We spent hours playing imaginary games, like shops and post offices, and rediscovered all my old board games – my son is now an expert at snakes and ladders. I ended up really enjoying myself!”
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