Hip and Pelvis Stretches for Relieving Pelvic Pain

Hip and pelvis stretches can help your manage muscle tightness that often accompanies pelvic pain and pelvic muscle spasm.

This pelvic exercise video is a gentle routine of hip and pelvis stretches to help you improve your flexibility and manage pelvic pain.

Scroll below this video for more information about stretches to relieve pelvic pain and muscle spasm.

Causes of Pelvic Floor Muscle Spasm and Pelvic Pain

Pelvic muscle spasm occurs when muscle fibres inside the pelvis contract, shorten and are unable to relax. 

Pelvic floor muscle spasm in women is called vaginismus. Pelvic muscle spasm and pain can prevent vaginal penetration with sexual intercourse and/or vaginal examination. Pelvic floor spasm and pain also occurs in men.

It remains unclear whether pelvic pain is caused by pelvic floor spasm or whether spasm causes pelvic pain. Both conditions often coexist and when pelvic muscle spasm is effectively treated, pelvic pain is often relieved.

Kegel Exercises and Pelvic Spasm

It’s advisable to cease Kegel exercise (pelvic floor exercise) if you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic spasm. 

Kegel exercises involve contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Contracting pelvic muscles that are in spasm can exacerbate pelvic pain. You may be able to recommence these exercises when you can voluntarily relax your pelvic floor muscles. 

Pelvic Pain Treatment and Muscle Stretching

Internal Treatment

Physiotherapy treatment for internal pelvic pain often involves a technique called myofascial muscle release. This treatment technique is usually delivered by a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and is directed primarily at releasing tight internal pelvic muscles. 

The internal pelvic muscles are accessed via the vagina or rectum for treatment. Internal pelvic floor treatment involves trigger point therapy (or maintained digital pressure on the muscle) and manually stretching the affected muscles.

External Pelvic Treatment (Hip and Pelvis Stretching)

Pelvic pain may be associated with trigger points and muscle tightness in the some external pelvic and hip muscles. These are the pelvic muscles that sit outside the hips and pelvic bones. Pelvic muscles, joints and soft tissues all have the potential to increase the discomfort associated with chronic pelvic conditions such as such as vaginismus (pelvic floor spasm in women).

External hip and pelvis stretches can be used to complement Physiotherapy treatment for internal pelvic muscle spasm and pain. These external stretches may also benefit individuals where internal pelvic treatment can’t be performed (e.g religious beliefs, age or sexually abstinence).

External Muscles Associated with Pelvic Pain

Some muscles outside the pelvis are commonly associated with pelvic floor spasm. These muscles can also become tight, weak and painful. Alternatively dysfunction in some of the external pelvic muscles may predispose you to poor posture that can cause or exacerbate pelvic pain.

Extra-pelvic muscles associated with internal pelvic pain can include:

  • Buttocks (gluteals) 
  • Groin (hip adductors)
  • Front of hip (hip flexors)
  • Lower back (quadratus lumborum)
  • Abdominal wall muscles
Treating the external pelvic muscles with regular gentle hip and pelvic stretches may assist with the overall management of chronic pelvic pain conditions.

Hip and Pelvis Stretching Guide for Pelvic Pain

Guidelines for comfortable safe stretching:

  • Try to stretch when your muscles are warm e.g. after a short walk or warm bath
  • Breathe our when moving into a stretch
  • Avoid holding your breath during stretches
  • Stretches should not feel painful
  • Reduce the duration or intensity of any stretch that causes physical discomfort
  • Use a cushion to support your body parts as needed
  • Cease any stretches that aggravate pelvic discomfort
  • Avoid overstretching

Pelvic Floor Relaxation CD

Pelvic Floor Muscle Relaxation for Women

Pelvic Floor Relaxation Treatment for Pelvic Pain

This guided pelvic floor relaxation Physiotherapy program is designed for daily self management of pelvic pain and spasm (vaginismus).

Presented by Pelvic Pain Specialist Physiotherapist Dr Patricia Neumann

References

1. Weiss J. (2001) Pelvic Floor Myofascial Trigger Points: Manual Therapy for Interstitial Cystitis and the Urgency-Frequency Syndrome. The Journal of Urology, 2001, Vol.166(6), pp.2226-2231.

2. Simons G, Travell J, and Simons LS (1999) Travell & Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, Vol.1, Ed. 2. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins.

3. FitzGerald M. and Kotarinos R. (2003) Rehabilitation of the short pelvic floor. II: Treatment of the patient with the short pelvic floor. International Urogynecology Journal. Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 269–275.

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