Active Rehab Mini Series: Pelvic Health (Part 2)

This is part of a mini series on Pelvic Health.
Read Part 1 Introduction.
Read Part 3 What Causes APT?
Read Part 4 Why I Almost Never Squat

PART 2 INCORPORATE A DYNAMIC WARM UP + STRETCH

Pain can be a hindrance. It can throw you off your game and as a parent, I do not want that. With an anterior pelvic tilt (APT), it is easy to flare up if I do not adequately prepare my core for movement. This could be picking up groceries off the floor or doing box jumps.

That is a simplistic model of pain:

Incorrect movement patterns / poor posture / sedentary lifestyle

-> muscular imbalance / misalignment

-> pain (chronic or acute)

Of course this is only one route, there can be a slew of other factors that can contribute to pain. For the purposes of this mini series, I will be focusing on the physical corrections and the strategies I use to manage my anterior pelvic tilt (APT).

Two things I have implemented are dynamic warm ups and daily stretching.

WHAT IS A DYNAMIC WARM UP?

Do you give your body adequate time to warm up and do you stretch your muscles after each movement session? Some people hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes before they begin their workout (I’ve been one to do that with clients as per the physio). It is decent but it might not be enough. It will warm up your lower extremities but the rest of your body hasn’t been sufficiently prepped for moderate to high intensity movement. Walking on the treadmill would be suitable for a brisk walk, hike, yoga, pilates, active rehab/physio. Find out why dynamic warm ups are an essential part of physical activity.

Dynamic warm up: controlled movements and stretching that simulate those in your workout increasing your range of motion, bettering balance and coordination, lubricating joints, and bringing blood flow to your working muscles. This allows for better performance and decreases chances of injury.

When your muscles are cold, they act like cold licorice. They aren’t pliable. They don’t like to move. Doing a dynamic warm up before jumping into your workout really helps prepare the joints and muscles for loading and exertion. Athletes have been know to do dynamic warm ups for a long time.

Here’s an example of a dynamic warm up exercise to prep me for a run:

 

There is also a neurological connection that takes place during a dynamic warm up that isn’t established through a treadmill warm up. This neurological connection is important because it:

  • preps balance, coordination and stability
  • allows the body to move favourably
  • decreases injury
  • maintains alignment

How does this relate to pain and pelvic health?

Referring back to the licorice analogy (above). Imagine doing a box jump or a deadlift with lukewarm muscles. The pelvis (and core) is not yet ready for the load and impact of that exercise. Stronger muscles overcompensate and the weaker muscles stay weak. Although, you may not notice at first, overtime, the muscles will not be as forgiving. Incorrect movement patterns will start to affect your core health and create muscular imbalances, which leads to pain.

PURPOSEFUL STRETCHING

In addition to incorporating dynamic warm ups in my workouts, I find a good stretch – even on days I don’t workout – is key to keeping my pelvis in alignment.

I see people hold a stretch for 10-12 seconds and then jump to the next one. Sometimes they start pulsing their body which can trigger a reflex, which inhibits the muscle fibres from relaxing, essentially making your effort ineffective. Here’s how to get the most out of your stretches:

  • Start gently and then ease deeper into it.
  • Maintain for a minimum of 45 seconds.
  • Ease out of the stretch slowly. Shake out your muscles after each stretch.
  • If including stretches in warm up, repeat several times and shorten duration until your core feels warm and the range of your joints increase.

Stretch everywhere but also stretch purposefully. Pay extra attention to the areas you need it most. For APT specifically, the extra tight muscles causing my pelvis to tip forward. Those are: psoas (hip flexors – front of the hip), quadriceps (front of thigh) and erector spinae (low back along the spine).⁣

  • Psoas/Hip flexors: the first variation involves tilting the pelvis back into neutral which is more effective to correct imbalances from APT.

  • Quadriceps 
  • Erector Spinae: child’s pose and knees to chest in supine Low back stretches as demonstrated by Salma from The Write Balance

Try incorporating some daily stretching and dynamic movements into your warm up and see the difference it makes. 😊

Remember: it’s always preferable to prevent than to treat.

 

Do you have an area on your body that has been causing you aches and pains?

 

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