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hip pain pregnancy | pregnancy hip pain | osteopathy for pregnancy

Why do your hips hurt during pregnancy?

Hip pain during pregnancy is common, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something we should have to put up with. There’s not just one reason our hips hurt during pregnancy, which means it can be difficult to determine exactly what is going on. It can be beneficial to see an osteopath who can help figure out why your hips are hurting during pregnancy, and what you might be able to do about the pain.  

What’s the cause of hip pain during pregnancy?

Like we said, there are a few reasons for hip pain to become a problem during pregnancy, so let’s take a look at them!

  1. One reason you may be getting hip pain is due to the sciatic nerve. This is a nerve that comes from our low back, it travels between and underneath some of the muscles in the buttocks and then continues down the leg. If this nerve becomes compressed somewhere along it’s track this can refer pain into the hip.
  2. Another reason you may get hip pain during pregnancy is because the hormones that are released during pregnancy to help prepare the body for birth mean the ligaments become looser. This hormone is called relaxin, its goal is to help soften the ligaments in the pelvis for birth, but it travels around the whole body meaning if affects more than just the pelvis! So, you can imagine that when the normally very strong ligaments around the hip start to soften and relax this is going to have a significant impact on the way our body moves. It can put extra stress not only on the joints, but the muscles may be working harder than normal keeping us feeling stable.
  3. Postural changes throughout the body are also common during pregnancy. The larger bub grows in the uterus the more your body adjusts to be able to hold this new weight. These postural changes might not be noticeable in your hips but think about your low back and how differently you stand now versus 6 months ago. You may not notice the changes that are happening in your hips, but the relationship that your hips have with your pelvis and low back mean that changes there will carry through with changes to the movement and load the hip must carry.
  4. Our hip pain may also be due to something called round ligament pain. The round ligament attaches from your uterus to your labia and as baby grows the stress on this ligament can cause pain. Similarly to our sciatic nerve, the pain can refer into different parts of the body. This may include the groin, ribs, abdomen or of course the hips!  

Hip pain during early pregnancy

Typically speaking, hip pain isn’t something that is common in the first trimester of pregnancy. If we look back at the causes we listed in regards to hip pain, one common feature they share is that these changes to the body are ones we see from the second trimester and onwards.

Is hip pain a sign of pregnancy?

Hip pain generally speaking, is not an early sign of pregnancy. Like we said the hip pain experienced by pregnant people typically occurs from the second trimester and onwards. If you are experiencing hip pain and you’re in your first trimester of pregnancy, an osteopath will always consider this as a factor. That said, we will also be looking for other reasons you may be experiencing hip pain. After all, hip pain is not exclusive to pregnancy!

Osteopathy for pregnancy hip pain.

Osteopaths can help you get to the bottom of your hip pain. First thing we do is examine your hip and establish what the cause is. Like we said before not all hip pain during pregnancy is pregnancy related! Once we know what the problem is, we can look at how we can help.

When we are dealing with extra stress and strain of the muscles, it’s more than likely we will see them tighten up in response leading to muscle pain and tension. And, if the problem is coming from the postural changes and a shift in centre of gravity, osteopaths can also help here. Osteopaths can loosen any stiff or restricted joints as well use massage, stretching, and other soft tissue work to help reduce tension. In a similar fashion, we can also treat tension that is coming from the round ligament and any associated muscular changes. Osteopaths also use exercise which is great for when you are at home. We can teach you how to stretch or engage muscles or joints all to help you keep moving and feeling at your best.

Do you have hip pain when sleeping?

Are you struggling to get comfy when in bed? Is it difficult to get to sleep because you are battling to find a position that doesn’t hurt? Or perhaps the way you normally sleep isn’t cutting it any more because of your pain, or your growing belly means you can’t lie that way anymore?

Hip pain when sleeping is common especially in pregnancy. Think of it this way, the added pressure and changes to your ligaments of muscles don’t go back to normal when you go to bed! Our body is still adapting and trying to cope with the change’s pregnancy is bringing. Laying on your side when sleeping – particularly in later stages of pregnancy is the most common choice, but that also means additional pressure on the hip we’re lying on. Not only this, our other hip and leg is then dropped down rather than sitting neutral.

How can we relieve hip pain during pregnancy while sleeping?

If the problem is pressure, we need to find a way to relieve that pressure.

One thing you may know about already are pregnancy pillows, and they truly do serve a good purpose. Good news though, you don’t necessarily have to run out and buy a fancy new pillow, the ones you have at home will probably do just as well.

If lying directly on your side in proving a problem for the hip you are lying on, you may like to try a pillow or two behind your back, this way you roll slightly back and have some support taking pressure off your hip. This position also means you aren’t lying flat on your back which is also a problem during pregnancy! Another option if your top hip is bothering you is to slide a pillow between your legs, this props up your top leg keeping your hip in a more neutral position. If it’s not enough with one between the knees and thighs, try one between your ankles too for additional support!

All in all, there’s no right or wrongs for pillows. Sometimes all it takes is a little experimenting to find out exactly what works for you. Of course if you’re looking for treatment or more advice on how you can deal with your hip pain you can always book a consultation to see one of our osteopaths HERE 

 

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