Bun In The Oven? Why Your Wrist Pain Is Pregnancy Related.

Ouch! My wrist has begun to hurt since pregnancy. Seriously, is this a symptom? 

Amid the joy of a new pregnancy follows the need to adapt to a vast array of side-effects. 

From morning sickness to stomach cramps, headaches, puffy ankles, mood swings and sleeplessness, pregnancy brings many well-known symptoms meaning – even for the strongest willed of women – being a mother-to-be can feel like a lengthy test of endurance.   

But what about wrist pain?  Did anyone at the family planning mention that wrist pain is a surprisingly common symptom of pregnancy too?  

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Yes, it’s true. Up to 40% of pregnant women experience wrist pain in the run-up to delivering their child and sometimes beyond in the post-natal phase.  

Irritating wrist pain during pregnancy usually develops thanks to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), with pain making itself known during either the second or third trimester of pregnancy.   

Seriously, what’s the connection between wrist pain and pregnancy and why does your wrist suddenly hurt so badly? 

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition that is caused by unusual pressure that affects the nerves running through the wrist.  CTS pain is experienced from the base of the hand and radiating up into thumb and index and middle fingers.   

The carpal tunnel is a protective passage in the wrist that contains several tendons as well as the median nerve. The tendons are responsible for moving your fingers whilst the median nerve controls sensitivity throughout the hand.  It is a compact area not too dissimilar from the wiring you find packed inside telephone wires. 

However, problems arise when either the carpal tunnel becomes narrowed due to injury or when the pressure around the median nerve increases.  When the highly sensitive median nerve is compressed, notable pain can be felt through the wrist and hand. This has the potential to disrupt sleep as well as interfering with the ability to grasp objects firmly. 

In most cases, particularly in pregnant women, CTS will usually affect both hands simultaneously. 

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  

Besides considerable discomfort spreading up and throughout most of your hand, CTS can also cause numbness or tingling sensations as well as pain that radiates from the wrist and up through the arm, elbow or shoulder.  

It is common for the wrist or fingers to also look and feel swollen as well as pain being more problematic overnight. You are more likely to experience worsened CTS symptoms within your dominant hand.  

In advanced CTS cases, use of the thumb can be difficult.  Your hand may feel weak or you may find yourself dropping items by accident and feeling clumsy when trying to pick items back up. 

What is the connection between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and pregnancy? 

CTS affects pregnant women far more than any other group in the general population, with almost half of mothers-to-be getting to know CTS as they prepare for motherhood.  Up to 10% of pregnant women experience CTS to the point of the condition impacting upon their day-to-day activities. Up to 50% of these women will feel CTS symptoms in both hands.   

Pregnancy is one of the strongest risk factors for developing CTS but why is this so? It’s all to do with pressure. As you move through pregnancy, hormonal changes are abound which lead to fluid retention and swelling.  In turn, the carpal tunnel and the median nerve housed within are under far more pressure than normal. If your hands, feet and ankles that look puffy during your pregnancy, you are highly likely to also develop CTS. 

As pregnancy continues to progress, compression within the wrist increases hence why CTS tends to strike in the latter trimesters. This is when the median nerve begins to radiate pain thanks to the tendons becoming irritated and inflamed. Consequently, thanks to these issues, overall functioning within the hand then tends to suffer.   

The hormone relaxin, released during pregnancy to help the body cope with the growing baby inside, can also contribute to CTS.  As relaxin is released throughout the body, it affects many different types of tissues, including ligaments within the wrist.  Relaxin loosens these ligaments and they can sometimes partly collapse and entrap the median nerve.   

In addition to fluid retention and swelling, the physical adjustment by the body to a growing stomach and enlarged breasts that are readying themselves for feeding a new-born also contributes to CTS. As extra weight pulls on the upper shoulders and neck, the shoulders begin to internally rotate and the head juts forward. This leads to a tense upper body and reduced blood flow into the arms, hands and wrists, further enhancing the possibility of CTS. 

Furthermore, as if struggling to sleep in the late stages of pregnancy wasn’t bad enough, all those awkward sleeping positions that are being tried out can also exacerbate the CTS symptoms.  

Pregnancy and Risk Factors for CTS 

There are several factors that can increase risk for developing CTS during pregnancy. These include being pregnant with more than one baby, excessive body weight, having hypertension or the mother being over 30 years old. 

Additionally, if CTS has been experienced within the family, there is a higher risk of developing the condition for CTS is somewhat hereditary in nature.  Similarly, if CTS has been experienced in a previous pregnancy, it is common for this niggle to reoccur in a new pregnancy. 

Post-Natal Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  

Although CTS is much more common in pregnant women, it is also a condition that can carry on into the post-natal stage too. Of those who experience CTS during pregnancy, 50% will still have a degree of CTS one year after giving birth. Three years after giving birth, 30% of mothers still experience a degree of CTS symptoms. 

Although these statistics may sound disheartening, pregnancy-induced CTS ceases more readily than CTS that results from any other factor.  Indeed, as hormones resort to their pre-pregnancy state, CTS should gradually resolve after childbirth. This usually occurs over a period of a few weeks.  

However, if other risk factors are present or a repetitive wrist injury occurs from holding and caring for the child afterward, CTS can persist for longer.   

As a general rule, if CTS symptoms begin early within a pregnancy, they will normally take longer to resolve. 

Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome via Osteopathy 

If you suspect CTS during pregnancy, consulting with an osteopath can provide an accurate diagnosis. To confirm the condition, your osteopath will first conduct an examination of your neck, shoulders, arms and hands.  This helps to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to CTS.  This is likely to be accompanied by grip, sensory and range-of-motion tests.  These will establish the strength and dexterity that you have in your hands as well as highlighting when symptoms occur during regular daily movement.   

Preeclampsia – An Important Consideration 

Upon presenting with symptoms of CTS, your osteopath will be keen to investigate the possibility of another potential condition known as preeclampsia.   

Preeclampsia is a complex condition that develops during pregnancy and involves high blood pressure in combination with either protein within the urine or low platelets in the blood.  Not only can preeclampsia contribute to pain in the wrists and hands, it can also cause persistent headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, weight gain, unusual swelling, blurry vision and a feeling of being short of breath.   

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy and Beyond – How Focus Osteopathy Can Help 

Unlike many doctors, we do not apply the ‘wait and see’ approach. After all, that only leaves you in the lurch.   

We understand that although CTS is usually only a temporary inconvenience – experienced during and shortly after pregnancy – it is also a highly irritating problem and one you’re likely to be glad of assistance with.  As if you didn’t already have enough pregnancy symptoms to handle without painful wrists in the mix too! 

When dealing with the niggling symptoms of CTS, consulting with an osteopath offers up numerous treatment options that are safe for you and your baby, both throughout your pregnancy and beyond.   

After providing an accurate diagnosis and establishing exactly how CTS is affecting you day-to-day, we will then narrow down what’s required to manage your symptoms and reduce your pain.   

Often the simplest solutions work best so we would usually begin with guidance on how to avoid any specific movements that are causing you significant pain. We would also look at your overall posture and day-to-day activities to see if there is anything that can be tweaked to reduce CTS symptoms.  This could include incorporating rest periods and stretch breaks into your day as well as potentially adjusting a desk or workstation set-up.  

Additionally, we can teach you gentle exercises that will improve flexibility in the wrist, hands and fingers. These will increase blood flow and reduce pain.  Alternating hot/cold treatments as well as stress reduction and fluid draining massage can also prove beneficial.  

Splinting is another option, most commonly used at night. This helps to reduce overall strain within the wrist. Your osteopath can provide and adjust the splint for maximum benefit. A good night’s sleep may just well follow! 

When your new-born arrives, your osteopath can remain on hand as your wrists are highly likely to be challenged by having a baby to regularly pick up and hold. Here, we can advise on how to hold your new-born without CTS continuing to trouble you, allowing you to move on from wrist pain and focus on simply enjoying these precious moments with your new child. 

A Quick Note About De Quervain’s Syndrome 

De Quervain’s Disease/Syndrome sounds exotic, but you don’t need to travel amid the jungles to develop the condition. 

The syndrome affects the tendons located on your thumb, that run in a tunnel (tendon sheath). The thickening of the ligamentous structure over this tunnel causes pain when the thumb is used or moved. 

For men, it can occur out of the blue. Yet, for women, it can often be linked to pregnancy. Besides ‘joining the wrist-pain party’, it can also occur in young mothers when picking up their baby.  

Symptoms may include swelling or soreness on the thumb side of your wrist, alongside pain when using the tendons around your thumb. 

It’s always worth speaking to your Osteopath about De Quervain’s Syndrome as, occasionally, it can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, and vice versa. 

Speak to us. We can help.

Coccyx Pain – My Tailbone Hurts to Sit

 Ouch! Has sitting down become uncomfortable? It could be your coccyx… 

To sit down, to take a seat, to make yourself comfortable, to take the weight off one’s feet – it all sounds so inviting and oh-so-good, until it actually hurts to do so.  If you’ve found yourself saying ‘I’d rather stand thanks’ just a little too often lately, it’s possible you’re dealing with an uncomfortable condition known as coccydynia.  

This term relates to a range of symptoms including tenderness, stiffness and pain, which all stem from the tailbone and have the potential to make sitting a day-to-day nightmare.   

Coccydynia usually manifests itself as a relentless ache within the lower back as well as sharp pains that radiate from the area as you try to stand upright from a seated position or bend forward.  

In some cases, shooting pains are also felt down through the legs as well as around the hips and anus or backside.  For women, the pain of coccydynia can be prominent during intercourse and menstruation. 

Tailbone pain typically lasts a few weeks but, when the issue is not addressed sufficiently, symptoms often last far longer. Coccydynia can therefore become a long-term condition with pain that peaks and troughs in correlation with what’s going on in your lifestyle. 

Despite how prevalent a condition tailbone pain is, many sufferers simply shuffle around in their seats and put up with the ongoing discomfort.  This is partly because of an assumption that lower back pain is an inevitable part of working long hours behind a desk or that aches and pains are simply part of getting older.   

However, if you’re prone to thinking that long-distance travel is only bearable with high-class, squidgy seats beneath you or, better still, you’d ‘rather stand thanks’, coccydynia may be the reason why sitting has become so noticeably uncomfortable. 

What Is The Coccyx And What Does It Do? 

Difference between male and female hips.

The coccyx is a triangular bony structure, composed of three to five small bones that are located together at the base of your spine.  Also known as the tailbone, the coccyx serves as a framework for several pelvic muscles and ligaments to attach themselves to.

In doing so, this provides much-needed stability and support for the contents of the pelvis, including the bowel and urogenital organs, which would otherwise weaken the pelvic floor.   

Additionally, the coccyx possesses the ability to move slightly. Albeit possessing a limited amount of flex, the coccyx can move when the nearby pelvis, hips and legs are in motion as well as during childbirth.   

Although the overall purpose of the coccyx is modest, if all is not well here, the repercussions can be painful for this area is generously populated with nerves.  It is unlikely you will fail to notice an injury to the coccyx. This is particularly true if you are prone to long periods of sitting. 

What Causes Coccydynia? 

Female coccyx pain.

There are numerous causes for coccydynia, some of which bring the condition on suddenly while others gradually lead towards the problem.   

Within our osteopathic clinic, it is generally those who have noticed sudden tailbone pain that we see most often. Primarily, this is because cases of coccydynia that bring on severe pain – which previously didn’t exist – usually result from physical trauma to the lower back. 

This may occur during sport or, most usually, a slip and hard fall onto where the coccyx resides.  Around 50% of coccydynia cases occur thanks to unexpected injury and there’s nothing quite like sudden, sharp pain to encourage a visit to a healthcare specialist. When it is slippery outside, we tend to get busy! These traumatic injuries can include a fracture to the coccyx! 

For women, the possibility of developing coccydynia is up to five times higher than men. Because a woman’s pelvis is broader, the coccyx is more exposed and subsequently more vulnerable to injury. 

Furthermore, the nature of a woman’s pelvic anatomy leads to a natural inclination for more weight to be placed upon the tailbone during sitting, the load of which increases the likelihood of experiencing pain. 

Additionally, a woman’s pelvis endures a great deal of strain during childbirth while both the sacrum and coccyx move during delivery.  This can overstretch the muscles and ligaments attached to the coccyx. Although helpful during childbirth, this can result in postnatal discomfort.   

Other possible causes of coccydynia include natural wear and tear as well as osteoarthritic conditions as we get older, repetitive strain injuries from repeated movements, being either over or underweight, possessing an unusual curvature within the spine (known as scoliosis), infection within the lower back or a cancerous tumour located close to the coccyx.

It is often patients with these additional issues that we do not see as readily in our clinic for it is common for their tailbone pain to develop gradually and thus, mistaken as a nuisance that is simply to be endured. 

Interestingly, many cases of coccydynia are entirely preventable for they simply result from poor ergonomics – like sitting postures or inadequate lifestyle choices.  Long periods of sitting, cheap office furniture, insufficient movement and a lack of strength within the core muscles are all factors that can lead to coccydynia and then keep the resulting pain going, unnecessarily, for years afterwards. 

How Can I Tackle Tailbone Pain? 

What causes coccyx pain?

Many solutions exist for remedying tailbone pain and these are usually dictated by what has initially caused the issue.  

Our first recommendation is to acknowledge the problem and seek an expert diagnosis as soon as possible. You can obtain this either via your doctor or an osteopathic specialist. Ignoring pain, particularly if there is a genuine injury present, can lead to exasperating the issue further as well as prolonging the time that it will take to recover. 

By establishing exactly what is causing your discomfort, you will be able to receive medical guidance and precise treatment that is tailored specifically to you rather than working through several strategies that could prove fruitless and frustrating. 

Osteopathic Solutions For Coccydynia 

Coccyx and hips.

Call us biased but we genuinely believe that an osteopathic approach is the most effective way to rid yourself of troublesome coccydynia.  Not only is osteopathy a hands on specific treatment geared for solving the likes of tailbone pain, it is fully natural and does not require drug-based treatment. 

Avoiding drug-based treatment allows you to side-step recurrent trips to the local pharmacy as well as a whole array of unwanted side effects that are usually offered up by pills.  Impressively, osteopathy has been demonstrated to be more effective, in the long-term, than treatment via corticosteroid injections.   

Not only is an osteopath able to establish the position of both your spine and pelvis, they can also physically assist you to gently realign and therefore counteract the cause of your pain.  

Diagnosis is achieved via  a full medical history and extensive and thorough examination of the whole body – with particular interest around the pelvis, inclusive of the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments that have a relationship and connect to the coccyx .  Not only does this pinpoint how coccydynia has developed, it can also begin reducing the stress on and around the lower back. 

Most osteopathic therapies will then move into soft tissue manipulation, gentle stretches and mobility and fascial release techniques.  For greater healing, your osteopath may also recommend an internal assessment of the pelvic floor muscles and coccyx.  

Combined, osteopathic strategies offer a powerful yet natural solution for solving the irritating pain that results from coccydynia.  Additionally, your osteopath will also be able to offer detailed insight into how the condition developed and therefore how you can prevent a future reoccurrence.  

Are you sitting comfortably?  If not, why not let Focus Osteopathy show you how? 

What’s The Best Position To Sleep When Pregnant?

What’s The Best Position To Sleep When Pregnant?

Is pregnancy keeping you awake at night?

It doesn’t have to. Osteopathy and many other things can help. 

There are many reasons why you might be having trouble sleeping whilst being pregnant.

Not least the anxiety that comes with becoming a new mother and wondering how you will cope with your new responsibilities – or get the baby out in the first place.

But the most common reason for lack of sleep during pregnancy is the physical aches and pains accompanying carrying a tiny human in your belly. 

Experiencing abdominal and pelvic pain during pregnancy is generally nothing to worry about as it’s part of the process as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby.

These pains can regularly stop you from getting a good night’s sleep, which isn’t great for you or your baby. 

But what can you do about it?

More Blogs From Focus Osteopathy:

What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

How Can I Relieve My Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy: Dealing With Back Pain When Sleeping

What Causes Pain (And Keeps You Awake) During Pregnancy?

Woman having difficulty sleeping due to pregnancy

Certain kinds of pain during pregnancy are expected, and the following types of pain pose no risk to you or your baby, even though they keep you awake at night:

Round Ligament Pain

Mostly, the symptoms include a sharp, intense pain while changing position when sleeping or lying down.

However, round ligament pain may also appear dull and lingering.

This kind of pain occurs due to the two large ligaments that extend from the uterus to the groin, which get stretched due to the growth of the uterus leading to discomfort.

In most cases, round ligament pain appears in the second trimester and is considered benign.

Osteopathy can help with this and other types of pain that can become bothersome during pregnancy.  

Gas And Constipation

As your progesterone levels increase during pregnancy, this can lead to developing more digestive issues.

As the hormone levels rise, the GI tract’s function can be affected, and the digestion of food slows down. It can make you feel like food is lying in your stomach, making it difficult to relax and get to sleep.

To prevent digestive problems during pregnancy and to get a better night’s sleep, you should aim to consume more food that is rich in fibre.

In addition, increase your water intake, and ensure you’re getting enough gentle exercise.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Also known as “practice contractions”, these pains are more of a discomfort than anything serious. But they can contribute to sleepless nights in your final trimester.

The symptoms are the contraction of the stomach muscles that makes the stomach feel hard and tight. But it is essential to know the difference between actual contractions and Braxton Hicks.

True contractions last longer, happen closer together and cause more severe pain. They can also cause you to feel breathless, making it difficult to continue any activity.

Generally, if you can continue doing any activity during the contraction, it is likely to be Braxton hicks. Since this type of contraction is more likely to occur because of dehydration.

Staying well hydrated can help to control the Braxton Hicks contractions and help you get a night’s sleep.  

How To Sleep Soundly During Pregnancy

Multiple photos showing comfortable sleeping positions during pregnancy

Sometimes, there is no real reason for not being able to sleep during pregnancy. Other than it’s just challenging to get comfortable when you have a big baby bump to contend with.

But as we’ve already mentioned, sleep is vital for you and your growing baby.

So, what can you do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, and what is the best position to sleep when pregnant?





There are so many things to consider when pregnant that it can become overwhelming. Sometimes, that alone is enough to keep you awake at night.

But there are some things to consider when deciding how to sleep when pregnant. 

For example, most doctors agree that sleeping on your side is the best position to sleep when pregnant.

Why? Because it is likely to limit blood flow to the uterus and, therefore, the safest position for your baby.

It’s highly unlikely, but previous studies have suggested that sleeping on your back when pregnant can negatively affect your pregnancy, particularly in the latter stages. 

But should you sleep on your left or right side?

Again, small studies suggest that the best position to sleep when pregnant is to lie on your side and choose your left side.

There are a couple of reasons for this preference for the left side. Most notably, the large vein that carries blood and oxygen to your baby – the IVC (inferior vena cava) – is on your right side. So it stands to reason that if you sleep on your right side, you could potentially reduce the blood flow inside this all-important vein.

Sleeping on your left also reduces any unnecessary pressure on your liver.

However, all the risks associated with sleeping on your right side are small (some studies suggest zero risk for left or right-sided sleeping).

It comes down to personal preference and the position you feel most comfortable. There are risks associated with lack of sleep during pregnancy, so you must weigh the pros and cons. 

However, if you slept on your back or front before pregnancy and found side sleeping uncomfortable, there are some things you can do to make it more comfortable, such as putting a pillow between your knees or investing in a pregnancy pillow – a long pillow that can be used to support your bump and to put between your legs to offer additional support and comfort. 

Important Information 

Young woman suffering from pregnancy pain

Apart from those mentioned above, there are many other reasons to experience sleepless nights and discomfort during pregnancy that are not serious.

These include sensitivity to certain foods, stomach infections, and a growing uterus. All can cause abdominal pain of some kind but are not serious. 

But some types of abdominal and pelvic pain can be serious during pregnancy.

While most women that have pain during pregnancy go on to have healthy pregnancies.

There are situations where abdominal pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night requires medical attention:


Sadly, miscarriage is among the most common reasons for termination of pregnancy, with around 20% of pregnancies ending in miscarriages.

Also medically termed as spontaneous abortion, a miscarriage is most likely to happen during the first 13 weeks of getting pregnant.

Some of the symptoms of this condition are regular contractions ranging from 5-20 minutes.

In addition, bleeding accompanied with or without cramps, back pain ranging from mild to severe, discharge of clots or tissue material from the vagina and a sudden lack of other pregnancy signs.  

Ectopic Pregnancy

This is a less common condition but does happen in 1 of 50 pregnancies when the egg implants outside the uterus.

In most situations, it implants in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be continued and need immediate medical care.

When women experience an ectopic pregnancy, they feel intense pain accompanied by bleeding anywhere in the 6 to 10th week of pregnancy.

Women at high risk of ectopic pregnancy have endometriosis, have an IUD when conceived, have had an earlier ectopic pregnancy or have undergone tubal ligation. 

Urinary Tract Infection

One of the more common causes that pose a serious health risk during pregnancy is a UTI (urinary tract infection).

While it is easily treatable, it can cause pregnancy complications if neglected.

The symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating and discomfort and pain in the lower abdomen area, which is likely to keep you awake at night.


When a pregnant woman experiences preeclampsia, there is a rise in blood pressure and an increase in protein in the urine around the 20th week of pregnancy.

Some of the symptoms will include pain in the abdomen, below the right ribs, and other signs indicative of preeclampsia.

These can consist of a build-up of excess pressure in the abdominal region, vomiting and nausea etc. can occur as well. This condition requires urgent medical attention. 

Placental Abruption

Another dangerous medical condition is placental abruption, resulting in the placenta separating from the uterus before the baby’s birth.

The main symptom of this condition is that the stomach feels very hard to the touch, is painful and remains like this for a long time.

Additional symptoms are premature water breakage or discharge of bloody fluid with pain and discomfort in the abdomen and back pain. 

If you have any of the following symptoms along with pain in the abdomen and discomfort, you should seek medical attention and get checked over:

  • Intense pain that persists for an extended period
  • Developing fever accompanied by chills
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Feeling light-headed and dizzy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Experiencing pain while urinating
  • Spotting or bleeding of any type

Can Physical Therapy Help?

Yes, physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to ease your pain during pregnancy.

Here at Focus Osteopathy we specialise in supporting soon to be mums in every step of their pregnancy.

We can help you feel better with a simple, natural recovery plan that gets to the core of what is causing your pain.

Our specialist team are experienced in treating pregnancy-related musculoskeletal pain.

You can book a FREE Discovery Session with us where we will be able to find the cause of your pain and give you advice on how to have a better nights sleep.

Osteopathy treatment can help with your pain, which will help you sleep better, move better and feel better.

What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

Woman doing kegel exercises

Would you like to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles but are unsure how to do it?

The pelvic floor muscles are the large muscles you feel when you try to control the urine flow from leaving your body. Depending on how well you can control the flow is an indication of how strong your pelvic floor muscles are.

If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, doing pelvic floor exercises (or consulting with a women’s health specialist) is vital.

We can help you strengthen the muscles and prevent genitourinary problems like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. 

But it’s important to remember that weak or overly tight pelvic floor muscles aren’t just a problem for women. Research also suggests that improving pelvic floor function enhances male sexual function, and pelvic floor therapy can treat and prevent erectile dysfunction. 

More Blogs From Focus Osteopathy

The Effects Of Postpartum: What You Need To Know

How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor

Why Does My Hip Pain Linger After Pregnancy

What Is A Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is a non-life threatening medical condition where one or more of your pelvic organs drop down from their rightful place into the vagina. The organs a pelvic organ prolapse can affect include the bladder, bowel, uterus, and the top of the vagina. 

Women with pelvic organ prolapse can sometimes pass urine or defecate unintentionally and experience pelvic pain, pressure, painful sex and/or a reduction in sexual sensations in the vagina.

What Causes Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pregnant woman who is at risk of pelvic organ prolapse

Several factors put stress on and weaken the pelvic floor muscles and contribute to the development of pelvic organ prolapse, including:

  • Gaining excessive weight or obesity
  • Vaginal childbirth and pregnancy
  • Undergoing pelvic surgery, including a cesarean delivery
  • Frequent sudden movements like sneezing/coughing/ laughing
  • Genetic predisposition (As some people are born with a greater risk of developing pelvic floor muscle weakness than others)
  • The ageing process (As we grow older, the pelvic floor muscles weaken along with those in the anus and rectum. A decrease in estrogen levels in women can also lead to pelvic floor muscle weakness)
  • Contact sports of any kind
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Running and jumping 

How To Locate The Pelvic Floor Muscles

Human pelvis

The pelvic floor muscles are a sling-like group of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone. Locating the muscles is relatively easy.

For example, when sitting on the toilet, interrupt the urine flow (only to be done to find the muscle group and not habitually, as it could lead to medical issues). When you interrupt the flow, the muscles that you feel squeezing are your pelvic floor muscles.

Another option to help locate them is to place a finger inside your vagina and squeeze the muscles, which should lead to pressure on your finger. Again, the muscles within the vagina that lift and squeeze and put pressure on your finger are the pelvic floor muscles. 

But what can you do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and prevent pelvic organ prolapse?

Pelvic Floor-Strengthening Exercises

Older woman doing kegel exercises

Kegel Exercises

These exercises are also known as pelvic floor exercises and help build stronger pelvic floor muscles. They allow you to lead a more enriching sex life with improved orgasms and prevent you from suffering urinary and fecal incontinence.

Strong pelvic floor muscles also ensure that the bladder, uterus, and bowels don’t drop down within the vagina, the medical condition referred to as “pelvic floor prolapse”.    

How To Perform Kegel Exercises 

You can do Kegel or pelvic floor exercises by lifting/holding and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Begin with a limited set of exercises (lift/squeeze/relax) for 3-5 seconds. Over time, aim to increase the duration and number of sets in every session. With practice, you should aim for 3-4 sets of exercises every day. 

Begin each exercise with a lift and hold for 3-4 seconds, followed by resting for the same number of seconds. Initially, do this five times continuously and consider that one set (later, with practice, you can raise that to 10 repetitions). 

After doing the exercises at least twice a day for a while, you should start to see some improvement. When you do, you can start to increase the duration of lifting/holding/relaxing and the number of sets and times per day that you do them.

For example, when you start, hold/lift and relax for 3 seconds, building gradually to 4 seconds and with practice, 5 seconds. Then slowly raise the number of exercises from 5 – 8 to 10 in each set and increase the frequency of your daily pelvic floor muscles from twice to three times per day. 

The great thing about these Kegel exercises is that you can do them standing, lying, or sitting down. Although, if you have weak pelvic floor muscles, it would be better to start out lying down.

Also, doing them first thing when you wake up in the morning and the last thing at night before sleep is an excellent way to make them part of your daily routine. 

One thing to note is that you should never hold your breath when you do Kegel exercises. Instead, breathe outwards as you perform the exercise.

Also, try not to squeeze another muscle group – like the stomach, back, thighs or buttocks – while you perform the exercises. If you feel these muscle groups squeezing, you’re not performing the Kegel correctly. 

Lastly, while there are plenty of advertisements online and in the media about specialised Kegel equipment, most are not worth the investment, so do not fall for the over-hyped marketing.

You can perform pelvic strengthening exercises without any equipment whatsoever. 

As with any exercise routine, do not expect to see results overnight. It takes time and effort to increase strength and endurance. However, most women report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms around the 12-week mark when they do the exercises daily. 

Happy Baby

Older woman doing happy baby pose

Start lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Raise your knees up and forward towards your abs – with the bottom of your feet facing the sky.

Then grab onto the soles of your feet and widen your knees slightly, as far as is comfortable and feel the stretch.

Rest in this position for as long as possible while taking deep, relaxing breaths in and out – to calm your nervous system and relax your pelvic floor muscles.  

Another great way to ensure that you have strong and healthy pelvic floor muscles is to take up Pilates.

Pilates improves your mobility and flexibility, builds your total-body strength, and alleviates unnecessary stress on your joints AND strengthens the pelvic floor muscles. 

Contact Us

Person picking up a phone to make a call

Here at Focus Osteopathy we want to help you!

We have a team of specialists waiting to speak, if you are struggling or need help with your pelvic floor exercises don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We have offer a number of complimentary healthcare services designed to empower you and change your life.

Not sure if we’re the right fit for you? Book a Free Discovery Visit Here. We will be able to provide you with the help that you need.

How Can I Relieve My Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?

Is pelvic pain ruining your pregnancy?

Would you like some tips on how to alleviate the pain?

Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous occasions in your life. But while there is great excitement about eventually meeting your new baby and becoming a mother, it can also be physically exhausting, especially in the third trimester and the later stages of your pregnancy.

Plus (although most are minor), very few women are lucky enough to enjoy pregnancy with zero side effects.

In most cases, there is usually some heartburn and indigestion, lower back, foot ankle and knee pain, and digestive symptoms, but the most common complaint amongst pregnant women is pelvic pain.

Studies show that around 70% of women suffer pelvic pain at some stage of their pregnancy. 

During pregnancy, pelvic pain symptoms include pain in the pelvic region, hips, and lower back area.

There may be other symptoms, including groin pain, clicking noises around the hips and pelvis, and the pain may worsen when you climb the stairs, roll over in bed, walk long distances or on uneven surfaces and getting out of the car.

We also refer to this type of pain as Pelvic Girdle Pain or PGP – a catch-all term that describes pain in the front of the pelvis as well as pain that radiates down into the hips and legs, buttocks, and SI (sacroiliac) joints.

One type of pelvic pain can be referred to as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), although we don’t tend to use that term anymore.

But most importantly, it can be super painful and interfere with all aspects of your life and enjoyment of your pregnancy.

But don’t worry. Although it’s normal to worry in pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain doesn’t affect your growing baby – they sleep soundly right through it.

You’re the only one who can feel the pain and discomfort.

So, what’s going on inside your body to cause so much pain?

To help you make sense of PGP and pelvic pain during pregnancy, in this blog, we examine the causes and the symptoms and explore what you can do to fix them. 

More Pregnancy Blogs From Focus Osteopathy
Pregnancy: Dealing With Back Pain When Sleeping
How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor
How does our modern lifestyle affect posture?

What Causes Pelvic Pain In Early Pregnancy?

If you’re still in the first trimester, it might be a surprise to have pelvic pain so soon into your pregnancy.

But rather than being anything to do with the baby, pelvic pain in early pregnancy is more likely due to the release of hormones.

Specifically, when you become pregnant, your body produces Relaxin (a hormone).

Relaxin helps the ligaments and tendons in your pelvic region become more flexible to accommodate your baby and growing womb and later enable childbirth.

But apart from the role played by Relaxin in softening/stretching the ligaments, your expanding baby bump is also responsible for altering the weight distribution in your body, especially when moving.

The shift in weight distribution can lead to pain in the pelvis and hips because your body continues to produce Relaxin throughout your pregnancy.

So, as your pregnancy progresses and the production of Relaxin increases, so does the likelihood of your pelvic pain intensifying. 

What Causes Pelvic Pain In The Later Stages Of Pregnancy?

Pelvic pain in the later stages of pregnancy in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, from 12 weeks onwards, can also be due to the continued production and release of the hormone Relaxin.

Production of this hormone continues throughout pregnancy and intensifies just before childbirth – further loosening the tendons and ligaments in preparation for your baby’s arrival.

But apart from the role played by Relaxin in weakening/stretching the ligaments, your expanding baby bump is also responsible for altering the weight distribution in your body, especially when moving.

In addition, your growing baby can also impact your posture and change how you walk – all of which contribute to pelvic pain. 

Once the process of the baby dropping in preparation for labor happens (the baby automatically shifts further down into the pelvis) around 2-4 weeks before delivery, pelvic pain can intensify. Why? 

The baby dropping into the pelvis, results in additional stress, widening and pressure on your muscles, joints, and bones in the pelvic area and lower back. 

Because when lightning occurs, your baby’s head causes stress and pressure on your muscles, joints, and bones in the pelvic area and lower back.

However, although it can be uncomfortable, the good news is that this symptom signifies that you won’t have to wait too much longer to meet your new baby. 

How To Alleviate Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

As with most things in pregnancy – like headaches and other minor aches and pains, it is best to avoid pain medication wherever possible to prevent any harm to your developing baby.

But there are many ways to alleviate pelvic pain in pregnancy without reaching for pain pills. However, you should always consult your doctor before embarking on any new course of treatment. 

Physical therapy is the most effective way to treat pelvic pain during pregnancy. But here are some of the other ways you can alleviate the discomfort:

  • Pregnancy-support aids

Several pregnancy-support aids that are available to buy online can help support your growing bump and make your pregnancy more comfortable.

These include compression pantyhose and belly bands. Compression pantyhose help by compressing your legs and feet – which tend to swell during pregnancy.

They also help to lift and offer support to your belly during different stages of pregnancy – to take the pressure off your pelvic area, lower back, and hips.

Pregnancy “Belly bands” serve a similar purpose and raise your bump while providing support to the pelvic and lower back areas, both of which are highly susceptible to pregnancy-related pain. 

  • Prenatal massage

Having a professional prenatal massage can help reduce pelvic pain by relieving stress and tension, improving blood circulation, and reviving the ligaments and muscles that work so hard during pregnancy.

When your circulation improves after a massage, you will feel less discomfort and hopefully get a better night’s sleep.

This added benefit is especially helpful because good quality sleep reduces pain levels. First, however, make sure you choose a qualified and experienced prenatal massage therapist with extensive experience in maternal care.

Their knowledge of how much pressure should or should not be applied – and what massage oils and essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy – ensures the safety of you and your unborn child.  

  • Stretching exercises 

If your doctor has said it’s ok for you to exercise (within certain prenatal limits, of course), then specific stretching movements and exercises can be hugely beneficial to treating and preventing pelvic pain during pregnancy.

Stretching can help to relieve some of the discomfort and pain in the early stages of your pregnancy.

However, before embarking on an at-home stretching routine, we recommend you consult with a Physical Therapist to learn specific safe movements for the hips, pelvic area, back, and stomach.

For example, pelvic tilt exercises can reduce lower back and pelvic pain by helping to improve your posture and strengthening your muscles and ligaments.

You may also want to try a Prenatal Pilates or yoga class with a range of low-impact moves that can help you treat and prevent pelvic pain.

Low-impact exercise can also improve your sleep. It may also contribute to easier labor and delivery and help you recover faster after the birth. 

How Physical Therapy Treats Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy 

When pelvic girdle pain affects your ability to move around without pain, it can detract from the enjoyment of carrying your baby and being pregnant.

The pain can also keep you awake at night, which isn’t healthy for you or your baby.

So, it’s a good idea to seek treatment for the pain rather than just endure it, so you can get back to enjoying your pregnancy and give your baby the best start possible.

We evaluate your symptoms, find the root cause and work with you to reduce the pain and prevent it from reoccurring.

The treatment for pelvic pain during pregnancy is specific to your set of symptoms and the stage you’re at in your pregnancy.

But is likely to include a combination of manual joint and muscle manipulation and therapeutic stretching and strengthening exercises – all of which are 100% safe during pregnancy. 

After treatment, you can look forward to finally being able to “glow” through the rest of your pregnancy and enjoy every moment of this precious time in your life.  

Not sure whether Physical Therapy is right for you at this stage of your pregnancy?

Why not book a free consultation with one of our women’s health specialists?

We offer all patients a free, no-obligation, 30-minute consultation to discuss their PGP and pelvic pain during pregnancy issues and get immediate advice from a trained physical therapist, either over the telephone or in the clinic.

Book yours now. 

Pregnancy: Dealing With Back Pain When Sleeping

Have you got back pain keeping you awake at night? Pain in your lower back preventing you from enjoying the blossom of your pregnancy? 

This is a very common problem. You are not alone, so don’t panic. 

For the majority of women in pregnancy, back pain etches inwards during the mid-point of pregnancy (between the five-month and seven-month mark). That’s not just a guess on our part, though. There is a reason why back pain occurs at this time. 

Throughout these months, the uterus changes position from the pelvic area to the abdomen; this increases the stress upon both the mid and lower back. 

Consequently, your spine’s normal position is altered courtesy of the changes your ‘bump’ goes through. As the bump pushes up into your belly, the rising pressure affects the vertebrae in your back. 

More Pregnancy Blogs From Focus Osteopathy
How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor
Why Does My Hip Pain Linger After Pregnancy?
How Pregnancy Can Cause Knee Pain And Back Pain

As this pressure pushes against the components of your spine, pain begins to build. Sadly, this pain doesn’t disappear when you try to gain some sleep. If the pain builds up enough, you’ll be locked in a constant battle for relief until the morning sun summons birdsong. 

That’s not what you want to hear. I get it. But there is hope, so don’t panic! 

Do you want some good news? There are many ways to relieve (or even prevent) pain. And not only that, but you can also build your back muscles up to be stronger – even while pregnant! 

So, it’s official. You don’t have to endure back pain and subsequent sleepless nights during your pregnancy. There is no need to endure the discomfort, face the sleep-deprived day, or grimace through until the day arrives and you give birth. 

But how do you go about building your back strength, and vanquishing back pain for a restful sleep? 

You need an Osteopath! And that’s where we can help. 

We can help you get good restful sleep, and help you avoid walking around holding your back and staying home, laid up in front of the television for the next few months. 

By working with us, you’ll thrive! You’ll be able to continue exercising where appropriate, get out and about, and enjoy the precious time carrying your baby. But without the crushing fatigue that comes with not sleeping properly. 

Let’s dig a bit deeper into how we can help. 

Treat Pregnancy Back Pain By Visiting An Osteopath 

Perhaps the most effective way to deal with back pain (especially during the early stages of pregnancy) is Osteopathic treatment. At Focus Osteopathy, we help Mums-to-be with correct posture and other elements that contribute to back pain. 

We also take time to teach pregnant mothers a range of exercises that they can undertake and practice at home, in order to prevent pregnancy-related back pain. 

We also practise techniques largely unique to osteopathic treatments. These treatments manipulate your joints and muscles to alleviate the pressure and stress that’s building up against your spinal column and subsequent nerves; the leading cause of pregnancy back pain and sleepless nights. 

So what could these manipulations mean? It’s nothing to worry about. We aren’t going to reshape your body with painful or forceful actions. Instead, we’ll guide you on how to sit properly, lie back correctly, sleep soundly, and walk while pregnant without applying any of that negative pressure on your back. 

Osteopaths at Focus Osteopathy will also walk you through a range of gentle stretching movements that will build strength and make your joints more supple. 

You can book a session with us through this link. However, is there anything you can do in the meantime to help with back pain?

Of course there is. So let’s take a look at a few ‘home remedies’. Even if the first one sounds impossible.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sounds pretty good right now, doesn’t it? However, we remain aware that getting a good night’s sleep while pregnant can be incredibly challenging. 

One of the main reasons for this comes from the extra weight that your body has to deal with. This weight, which is more pronounced when you sleep on your side, places itself on your spinal cord and creates serious discomfort. 

You can help yourself by grabbing hold of a thick towel and placing it, folded lengthwise, at a right angle to your waist. 

This extra support helps to relieve the strain on your back and pelvic region. You can also use a pillow and place it between your knees when lying on your side; again reducing the pressure on your back. 

Furthermore, when pregnant, you should avoid sleeping on your back, because it is not helpful for you or your baby. 

Why? In the latter stages of your pregnancy (the third trimester), sleeping on your back can reduce your baby’s vital blood and oxygen flow. To give your unborn child the best chance, you want to keep this blood and oxygen flow as healthy as possible. 

So, instead of sleeping on your back, get yourself a firm support mattress and utilize pillows as props to sleep on either your right or left side. 

You can also try to introduce a ‘sleep routine’ that works for you. For example, don’t eat in the two-hour run-up to bedtime. This helps to prevent digestive discomfort that might otherwise keep you awake. 

Pilates & Yoga 

Contrary to belief, yoga and pilates are not solely for the rich and famous. You are not ‘excluded’ from these activities just because your Instagram account hasn’t become festooned with millions of followers. 

Rather, yoga and pilates have a legion of ardent followers from all spheres of life, and these followers practice for good reason, too. It’s a great form of exercise for staying fit and healthy throughout pregnancy. 

Not to mention how pilates and yoga can prepare your body for childbirth, and prevent pregnancy-related aches and pains. 

We would recommend what is known as ‘Prenatal Yoga’. This form of yoga helps the muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves that help form your posture. Besides strengthening your body, prenatal yoga also benefits your mental health by relieving stress and engaging with deep breathing techniques that relax the body. 

All of this should certainly help in gaining a peaceful sleep. It also calms the nervous system, and helps to reduce some of the natural anxieties that sometimes accompany pregnancy. 

Like prenatal yoga, prenatal pilates is a gentle and pregnancy-friendly form of exercise. Using a sequence of movements to improve balance and then strengthen the ‘core’ muscles, Pilates is more regimented when compared to free-flowing yoga. 

However, in being more regimented, pilates remains (arguably) a more effective method for strengthening and elongating muscles and preventing pregnancy back pain. 

Wear A Maternity Belt

Ever heard of a maternity belt? These have proven effective in relieving pain for pregnant women. Especially those going through the final stages of pregnancy and feeling too tired and worn out to undertake a yoga or pilates session. 

The maternity belt remains one of the easiest ways to relieve and support your back when pregnant, and supports your belly while standing, going about your daily activities, walking, and generally moving around. 

Wearing a maternity belt helps compensate for weaker core muscles, too. 

Opt For Proper Footwear 

We get it. It’s tempting to try and stay up-to-date with fashions, or try to outdo the neighbours, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Your body is going through a range of changes, and high-heeled shoes are not going to help with your back pain. 

These cat-walk-inspired shoes will increase the curvature of your spine and place extra pressure on your back. Pain will be inbound before you’ve taken more than a few steps. 

Also, as you have to live with increasing pregnancy weight, unsensible shoes can increase your chances of a fall, which can risk your baby. 

However, we also don’t recommend wearing entirely flat shoes, either. Flat shoes provide very little support in the arch area of the foot, and causes an uneven distribution of body weight. 

Once again, you guessed it, this uneven distribution can strain the lower back. Not to mention related ankle and foot pain. 

So, what do you look for exactly? Look for footwear with built-in stability for the arch of your foot, and also your ankle. Heels need to be not too high, but also not too flat. 

Trying shoes on and feeling pressure in your back as you try to walk? Put them back. They are not the best shoes for you! 

It’s Time To Speak With Us 

If you have back pain during pregnancy, we recommend you book an appointment with us. We can help you find and treat the root cause of your back pain, and prevent problems further down the line in your pregnancy. 

We don’t just generalize your condition. We take the time to get to know you, and ensure that your treatment is bespoke to your situation. After all, what works for some people may not work for you.

You can contact us through our contact page.

Don’t suffer in silence. It’s time to get you back to health! 

Why Does My Hip Pain Linger After Pregnancy

Are you still struggling with hip pain after delivering your baby weeks, months, or decades ago?

Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Postpartum joint pain is widespread among women after childbirth.

In pregnancy, reports suggest that up to 25% of women experience serious pain– with 8% reporting severe disability. But many women suffer from disabling hip and joint pain long after giving birth to their babies.

These post-delivery joint pains may be pains that start during your pregnancy or new pains that begin during or shortly after the birth. The pains also manifest in several different ways.

From hip pain and pelvic girdle pain caused by the pregnancy and/or the delivery. Pain in the finger joints due to increased fluid retention or knee pain that occurs because your knees support the additional weight of your baby.
But the most common cause of pre and postpartum joint pain is hip pain, which develops during the pregnancy and can continue for weeks or months after the delivery.

Postpartum hip pain can become chronic and long-lasting in rare cases (without proper treatment). 

All these complaints are likely due to inflammation and physical changes during pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum. They can also occur due to hormonal changes. 

More Blogs From Focus Osteopathy
How Pregnancy Can Cause Knee And Back Pain
When your shoulder is really a pain in the neck…
How does our modern lifestyle affect posture?

What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Pain After Pregnancy?

What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Pain After Pregnancy?

Medically, we refer to pain around the area that we call our “hips” – as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) because it usually affects the pelvic joints.

Pain patterns tend to differ between women, but the main symptoms of PGP are:

  • Your hips feel “loose” – sometimes, this might feel like all the muscles around the hips are stiff and tight, but your pelvis feels unstable. 
  • Intense pain in the hips, deep inside your pubic region, your legs, lower back, or butt. 
  • A loud popping sound when you move your hips
  • Pain that radiates over the lower back
  • Pain that worsens with activity 

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to deal with the pain. Still, longer-term physical therapy, specifically in the form of osteopathy and therapeutic exercise, is recommended to treat the root cause, strengthen the weakened pelvic floor muscles, and lessen the pain – without resorting to pain pills

What Causes Hip Pain After Pregnancy?

What Causes Hip Pain After Pregnancy?

There isn’t one main reason why hip or pelvic girdle pain occurs during and after pregnancy.

Still, in most cases, the cause usually relates to how pregnancy results in changes to the body’s posture, ligaments, muscles and support structures.

Why? Because the hormones our bodies release during pregnancy stretch specific ligaments and tendons, which can cause pelvic girdle pain and pain in the hips.

The pelvic girdle plays a pivotal role in connecting your upper and lower body. Hence, there is pressure and stress on the hips and pelvic girdle every time you move.

In addition, numerous muscles are running through or connecting to the hips and pelvic girdle.

These include the psoas, the hamstrings, the glutes, and your all-important pelvic floor muscles.

As a result, many things can go wrong and cause pain in the “hip” area – especially when everything is extra stretchy and flexible. 

Interestingly, hormones can also affect our pain regulation, so your perception of the intensity of the pain may be greater than before you got pregnant. 

But what causes the pain?

Well, the precise cause of PGP and hip pain after pregnancy is different for everyone, so you need to book in for a complete evaluation.

But for information purposes, here are causes of “hip” pain that may linger after pregnancy:

  • Piriformis syndrome: This painful syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle close to the buttocks gets spasms, leading to pain.
    In some cases, piriformis syndrome can also irritate the sciatic nerve and cause it to flare up, leading to sciatica – during and after pregnancy.
    Sciatica causes nerve pain in the leg, hip, and lower back. However, with physical therapy, most women can successfully manage the symptoms of piriformis syndrome and/or sciatica and relieve the pain without pain pills. 
  • Labral tears: This issue is common during labour and childbirth – when the labrum (cartilage) inside the hip socket suffers damage and tears.
    But if this were the cause of your hip pain, you would probably know about it at the time because the pain can be excruciating and make walking difficult.
    However, doctors can miss small tears, so we recommend you get an evaluation of your hips to check whether this is the case for you. 
  • Arthritis: Certainly, with osteoarthritis, pregnancy is unlikely to be the cause of arthritis, but unfortunately, in some cases, pregnancy is the catalyst for a flare-up of arthritic symptoms that alert you and your doctor to this underlying medical condition.
    But osteoarthritis is more common in older postmenopausal women, so this is unlikely to be the case for you.
    However, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, some women develop this condition after giving birth because the immune system begins to attack joint tissues. But this is rare.
    Both types of arthritis are chronic, lifelong conditions. Still, osteopathy and physical therapy can reduce the intensity of the symptoms and prevent further progression. 
  • Pelvic bone problems: As your baby moves through the birth canal, they can bruise or fracture your pelvic bones and cause pain that lingers after pregnancy.
    Especially if labour is fast, pain from bruising will subside in most cases, but you may need an X-ray to check for fractures if it continues.  
  • Symphysis pubis dysfunction refers to the pain that occurs when your left and right pelvic bones move and separate to accommodate your growing baby.
    This type of pain is primarily felt in pregnancy. It should go away after pregnancy, but you may feel additional pain. At the same time, your bones move back to their pre-pregnancy position. 
  • Hyperthyroidism: In most cases, hyperthyroidism is unlikely to be the cause of your hip pain, but due to the increased demand for your thyroid gland, many women do suffer from hyperthyroidism when pregnant.
    This condition occurs when the thyroid gland secretes excessive hormones. In many cases, this secretion is due to an underlying condition called Grave’s Disease.
    But for the one in four women that develop this condition for the first time during pregnancy, the symptoms can get more severe after delivery. In addition, during and after pregnancy, women who suffer from hyperthyroidism during and after pregnancy can sometimes develop thyrotoxic myopathy.
    This disorder can impact the pelvic girdle leading to pain in the area. But the good news is that your doctor can run tests to determine whether you have this condition.
    They can also prescribe antithyroid medicines to help you maintain normal thyroid levels and alleviate joint pain symptoms. 

How To Reduce Hip Pain After Pregnancy 

How To Reduce Hip Pain After Pregnancy 

There are many causes of hip and joint pain after giving birth. While some are common and not too serious, others might pose health issues and require treatment.

If your joint pain continues more than a month after the pregnancy or the pain increases, it is essential to consult a doctor, osteopath, or physical therapist. 

At Focus Osteopathy, we are highly experienced in pregnancy and postnatal pain and recovery and we can support you throughout your pregnancy journey.

Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, especially if you’re ill-prepared and don’t have osteopathy or physical therapy to prepare for the birth.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. But you can recover much faster when you know the root cause of your pain and have a natural recovery plan tailored to your specific set of symptoms.

We get to the core of your postpartum pain and help you feel better quickly. Book your free consultation now. 

If your hip pain after pregnancy is mild, there are some ways you can treat the pain at home. For example, if you have pain in your lower back, you can try alternating hot/cold compressed to relieve the pain.

However, we know that hip pain can often result from poor posture or an incorrect gait (walking pattern) that places stress on your hip joints and leads to pain, which we can help you with at the clinic.

But here are a few ways you can prevent hip pain at home:

  • Do stretching exercises (preferable exercises provided by us)
  • Eat well and increase your intake of lean protein, fresh vegetables, and fruit
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Do daily exercise to strengthen weak muscles (preferable exercises provided by us: walking, Pilates, Yoga – or resistance training if you’re cleared to)
  • Wear the right kind of footwear 
  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Make sure you get adequate calcium and vitamin D
  • Lead a physically active lifestyle 

However, even if your pain is mild, we would still recommend that you book a consultation to check that nothing is going on that might get worse with time. 

It’s Time To Take Action

It's Time To Take Action

Hip pain is common and you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.

Reaching out is the first part of the recovery process.

If any of this sounds familiar to you don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We know that we can help you set up a personalized recovery plan.

How Pregnancy Can Cause Knee And Back Pain

Are you pregnant now or planning to start a family soon?

If that’s you, your girlfriends have probably already told you in no uncertain terms to expect a variety of different aches and pains during your pregnancy. It’s par for the course, right?

These pregnancy-related pains tend to pop up all over the body. Sometimes, even without an apparent reason. Like pain in your fingers or toes or the back of your head.

But the pain in the knee joints and the lower back are among the most common kinds of pain for most Mums-to-be. That’s why we often see pregnant women stereotypically depicted shuffling along slowly and grimacing with one hand holding their back. But it doesn’t have to be like that. 

Pregnancy-related joint pain can begin at any stage of your pregnancy from as early as 6-8 weeks and in virtually any joint in the body. However, pain in particular parts of the body – like the lower back and pelvis – are the most common as the pregnancy progresses past the 12-week mark and into the second and third trimester.

In our experience, most of the aches and pains during pregnancy are mild. Still, for some women, the pain can be debilitating. For these women, it’s tough. The pain can stop you from sleeping through the night and affect your quality of life and enjoyment of your pregnancy. Sadly, pregnancy and the postnatal period can be the opposite of “blossoming” for many women.  

Does that sound like you? 

The areas we see that are most affected by joint pain during pregnancy are: 

  • Pelvic region: You may feel pain around the pelvic area. Including the hips, tailbone and pubic symphysis region – the centre of the pubic bone, and the lower back. If left untreated, these pains can lead to the development of pelvic girdle pain and or a condition that causes pain at the front of your pelvis, called “Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or (SPD)”.
  • Lumbar or lower back: Lumbar or lower back pain in pregnancy is triggered by the softening of the pelvic-area ligaments and the change in your spinal posture/curves as the baby grows
  • Sacroiliac joint: The joints known as SI (sacroiliac) joints are the part of your body where the ilium and sacrum connect, the area between the pelvis and the tail bone. The SI joints are crucial in bearing the additional weight of your baby (although tiny in most cases but large in relation to what your body is used to carrying) and its distribution on the pelvis.  
  • Knee joint: Many women experience knee joint pain during pregnancy due to carrying around the additional weight of the baby, which puts continuous strain on the knees. Knee pain is more likely to occur during pregnancy if you have a pre-existing knee condition or old injury. However, it can also happen spontaneously during pregnancy due to hormone-related ligament changes and postural changes that occur during pregnancy.

The cause of joint pain in pregnancy can be due to many different factors such as: 

  • The shift in posture that happens naturally during pregnancy 
  • An increase in weight in the lower parts of the body 
  • The relaxation of ligaments occurs due to the hormone “relaxin.” 

But the most common reasons for pregnancy-related joint pain that we see in the clinic are:

  • Expanding uterus: As your pregnancy progresses, your womb (uterus) begins to grow and develop, too, which causes your centre of gravity to shift, weakening and stretching your abdominal muscles. Because of this centre of gravity change, it puts additional stress on your lower back, which can lead to pain.  
  • Hormones: In pregnant women, the leading cause of softening joint ligaments and associated pain is the release of the pregnancy-related hormones progesterone and relaxin. Our bodies release the latter of the two, relaxin, to allow the pelvic ligaments to become loose and the pelvic girdle to move. This repositioning enables the baby can move more easily through the birth canal. However, this reduces the regular stability of the joints in the hips and pelvis and can make them feel “loose”. As a result, you may also feel lower back pain because of the release of this hormone. It helps the pelvis stretch and the SI joint to become more flexible to accommodate your baby. 
  • Postural issues: Changes in your posture occur naturally in pregnancy because of the extra weight you carry towards the front of the body. This change, along with the baby’s continual growth, causes a redistribute of weight in the belly region, which can trigger pain in the lower back and hips. In addition, even after pregnancy, continually carrying your new baby/toddler on your hip can affect your posture and cause lower back and hip pain. 
  • Increase in weight: Due to the hormonal changes, increased blood volume, growing baby, placenta, reduced activity levels and sometimes the unavoidable “cravings” and eating to beat morning sickness, we don’t just gain weight in the belly area during pregnancy. We also gain it in other areas of the body. Second, to the belly, most of us see weight gain around the hips, which increases stress on the joints and bones around the hips, knees and pelvis and can lead to joint pain.

The less common cause of joint pain during pregnancy:

One of the more severe but uncommon causes of joint pain during pregnancy is “Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction”. It can be intensely painful and cause issues with walking. 

How To Alleviate Joint Pain In Pregnancy

While joint pain in pregnancy can be intense and painful, there are many ways to relieve the pain:

  • Physical therapy/ exercise: Gentle movement and exercises during pregnancy can help strengthen the muscles and help to reduce pain in the joints. However, you must check with your doctor first and consult a professional oestopath specialising in pre and postnatal care. They can provide pain relief with manual treatment and they can guide you through appropriate exercises, especially if you have joint pain. You can also try swimming, prenatal Pilates, and Yoga with your doctor’s approval. 
  • Consider a massage: In some cases, opting for a prenatal massage with a trained prenatal massage therapist can be beneficial in reducing tension in the muscles and reducing aches and joint pain. 
  • Use hot packs on the affected area: Hot packs, heating pads, or a hot water bottle can help relieve pain if you have joint pain. Some women like to talk a warm bath too to help relax the muscles and reduce pain. However, always take care to avoid direct heat on your bump.
  • Belly band: If you’re in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy, you may want to try using a “belly band” for extra support. These bands can help relieve the ligament pain and pain in the lower back region that is so common in pregnancy. In addition, belly bands can alleviate round ligament pain due to the uterus stretching.
  • Improve posture: If you try to improve your posture while sitting, standing, and walking around, it can pay dividends in reducing joint pain during pregnancy by reducing the strain on your joints. This improvement doesn’t just mean sitting on standing up straight. You can also improve your pregnancy posture by building strength and flexibility in the joints and surrounding ligaments and tendons. To do this, you can work with a professional osteopath who will create a customised exercise regimen for your needs. 
  • Modify sleep position: If you suffer from pain in your lower back during pregnancy. Just making simple modifications to your sleeping position can help significantly by reducing the pressure on your joints. For example, instead of lying on your back all the time, switch to sleeping on your side with a pillow tucked between your knees. But only if it works for you. If it’s not comfortable, don’t do it. Instead, find a position that works for you. The most comfortable sleeping position for you will depend on your baby’s position and how much they move during the night. 

At Focus Osteopathy, we support Mums and soon-to-be Mums through every stage of their pre and postnatal journey. Osteopathy can be helpful for back pain and other musculoskeletal pains.

There are no quick fixes, but we can help you find the root cause of your pain and work with you to recover. We empower you to stay fit, have a healthy pregnancy, and prepare for and recover well after birth.

As well as finding the cause of your pain, we can also help you sit, sleep, and walk more comfortably.

If you have pregnancy-related knee pain, back pain, or any other joint pain, now. You can book a free consultation to talk to one of our Pregnancy and Post Natal practitioners to find out how we may be able to help you.