Exercise generally works best once your pelvic joints have been assessed and treated by an experienced physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor using hands-on manual therapy and when you feel little pain.
If you have a lot of pain, it generally doesn’t matter how much exercise you do, your pain will inhibit your muscles from working properly and you may put in a great deal of effort for little or no reward. It is best to start with manual therapy to sort out the joint function, and then discuss with your manual therapist which type of exercise is most likely to be beneficial for you. For more information, please check out:
As a general rule, you should allow your pain to act as a guide to how much exercise you can do. It is helpful to keep as active as possible, within the limits of your pain. Before you start any general exercise, we suggest that you talk to your manual therapist.
It is likely that your physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor will give you exercises tailored to you and will update the exercises you need to do at each appointment. Often there are only a couple of strengthening and/or stretching exercises for you to focus on after each session.
If your pain is reducing, you’ll be able to move normally which is the best sort of exercise and means that you are effectively exercising every time you do anything. If you follow the specific exercises you are given and they are regularly updated and progressed, you’ll stand the best chance of making a full recovery.
Once your pelvis is moving normally and your pain has reduced you might like to ease back into exercise, such as:
A paced or graded walking programme can be beneficial, gradually building up the distances to be walked.
Pilates is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise. It can help to maintain and improve the condition of both abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, which in turn stabilises the joints of the pelvis. Many women who have PGP have found that Pilates can help to manage their pelvic instability and therefore keep ‘the niggles’ at bay. For more information and class locations
When your manual therapist suggests you are ready to return to exercising in water it can be helpful to follow a graded programme similar to walking, as the resistance of the water and the buoyancy can often mask how difficult the exercise is, so it is easy to overdo it. Front or back crawl are often less of a strain on the pelvic joints; breaststroke can be quite a strong stress across the pelvic joints, so take care when you go back to this style of swimming. Many women find hydrotherapy and aquanatal exercise helpful, click here for more information about which exercises can be helpful and what to avoid with PGP.
There’s no need to panic if you do overdo it! You won’t be back to square one but if you find your symptoms are worse after doing a particular exercise, it will be worth seeking advice from your manual therapist who may suggest further ‘hands on’ treatment and modify the exercises you are doing.
Until you have recovered it may be best for you to avoid sports that involve a lot of asymmetric movement, for example, some aerobic exercises which require you to move your legs beyond the pain-free gap. Swimming breaststroke, some gym machines and yoga movements also do this.