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Can Chiropractic help with pelvic conditions?

September 29th, 2021 by
Category: Back pain Pelvic pain

Chiropractor consulting with elderly female patient using pelvic prop

Pelvic pain can be felt in many areas of the pelvis. Some people experience pain at the very base of their low back, below the vertebrae in the low back. Others feel the pain on the sides of their pelvis, particularly over the bony bumps. Another common place to feel pain on the pelvis is on the pubic bone. 

Common causes of pelvic pain

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

infographic of anterior pelvic tilt

An anterior pelvic tilt simply means that the pelvis is dropped down at the front, and is raised up at the back. A common way people describe this is that they feel they have too much of a curve in their low back, or that they find they have an overly rounded stomach even though they might not be overweight. 

Symptoms of an anterior pelvic tilt can include pain at the base of the low back, a feeling of having tight low back muscles, thighs or hamstrings, or feeling a lack of strength in the gluteus and core muscles.

Posterior Pelvic Tilt

Infographic posterior pelvic tilt

When the pelvis tilts in a posterior direction, it means the front of the pelvis is lifted and the back drops down. Quite often, people with a posterior pelvic tilt describe feeling very stiff through the entirety of the low back, all the way to the bottom of the ribs. When the pelvis tilts back, it often removes much of the natural curve that should exist in the lumbar spine, which can cause low back pain during activities which cause shock or impact through the lumbar spine such as running, jumping, and some sports

Other symptoms of a posterior pelvic tilt can include pain in the buttocks, the groin and in the hips.

Lateral Pelvic Tilt

infographic showing a lateral pelvic tilt

More commonly thought of as putting more weight on one leg, a lateral pelvic tilt means your pelvis is tilted to the side. This is commonly associated with scoliosis in the low back, and can also be caused by a difference in the length of the legs. People with a lateral pelvic tilt describe pain often on one side more than the other, since when the pelvis leans, it places more pressure on one hip or one side of the low back. 

People with lateral pelvic tilts have a very wide range of symptoms, since lateral pelvic tilts can dramatically change the way your body’s weight is distributed. Sometimes, pain is felt in one hip, in one knee, or on one side of the low back. Occasionally, I’ve found that lateral pelvic tilts have been related to pain further up the spine in the thoracic area.

Pelvic Instability

One of the most common causes of pelvic instability is childbirth. Pelvic instability can mean a few different things. It may be that the pubic symphysis (the middle part of the pubic bone where the two sides of the bone join together) dislocated during childbirth and now won’t stay stable without popping, clicking or hurting. The sacroiliac joints can also be affected, which are the joints at the back of your pelvis where the pelvis joins onto the spine. A clunking sensation is common when the sacroiliac joints become unstable.

How can Chiropractic help with pelvic conditions?

Chiropractic care for these pelvic problems must be tailored to the individual. Sometimes, more than one of these tilts can be occurring at once, and thus a thorough examination needs to be done. Chiropractic adjustments are techniques by which your Chiropractor pushes your pelvis in a particular direction in order to restore range of motion, reduce pain and correct posture

In addition to this, your Chiropractor may recommend exercises, stretches or changes to certain activities to correct your pelvic alignment long term. Some of the Chiropractic techniques that may help pelvic conditions include:

Diversified technique

Diversified Technique is the technique that most Chiropractors use, and that Chiropractic is often known for. This technique is the one in which your Chiropractor pushes on a joint, and the joint often makes a ‘popping’ or ‘cracking’ sound.

Mobilisation

Mobilisation of the sacroiliac joints, lumbar spine joints and hips can be a very useful way of managing pelvic conditions. This technique often involves slower pushing and sustained pressure on stiffened joints to increase mobility.

Rehabilitation exercises

Rehabilitation exercises can be a very useful way to build different habits in the muscles controlling the pelvis. Exercises that may be used can include activation exercises designed to change movement patterns, strength exercises, endurance exercises or coordination exercises. Rehabilitation exercises can be especially useful in helping people with pelvic instability.

When may we refer you to another practitioner?

If the nature of your pelvic condition is such that you will require referral to another practitioner, we won’t hesitate to get you to the right place. Some symptoms which may prompt us to refer you include: 

  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Fever/sweats
  • Sudden, excruciating pain
  • Palpable nodules or unexplained masses found during your examination
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Symptoms we suspect are related to organs

There are many reasons pelvic pain can arise, which means there are many ways we may be able to help. When in doubt about where your pelvic pain is coming from, it is always best to seek advice from a professional. As Chiropractors, pelvic pain is a common problem we see in practice. Feel free to give us a call or contact us online

By Dr. Beau Kenihan (Chiropractor)

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