First off, what is pelvic pain? That’s simple: it’s any pain you feel below your belly button and above your legs. And what causes it? That’s not so simple. There’s a huge list of possibilities for women, including menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts. And then there’s another huge list of conditions affecting both women and men. This includes appendicitis, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, colon cancer, and more.
Some of these are serious issues requiring immediate medical treatment. Others are less serious, but can still be resolved by a visit to your doctor. Sometimes, though, pelvic pain is a chronic annoyance with no known cause. Maybe you’ve followed all the posture tips and looked into your options for treating lower back pain, but nothing seems to work. What do you do then?
Above and beyond treatment options provided by your primary doctor or a pelvic health specialist — licensed medical help is very important — pelvic pain can often be alleviated with simple stretches.
Reducing Pelvic Pain with Stretches
Stretches for pelvic pain should be easy and relaxing. Don’t force yourself into the stretch, just let your body ease into it naturally to whatever depth feels comfortable. Then simply hold the position and breathe.
Deep, slow, calming breaths are great with these stretches. Inhale through your nose to fill your belly with air then slowly exhale. Focus on your breathing and keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed. Five to ten deep breaths per stretch should do it.
Supine Pelvic Floor Stretch — Lie on your back with your knees bent. Use your hands to pull both your knees simultaneously toward your chest. Let your knees move out toward the sides for a groin stretch. Relax your pelvic floor and glutes as you focus on your breathing.
Knee to Chest — Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent. Use your hand to pull the bent knee toward your chest. Relax your pelvic floor and glutes as you breathe. You can deepen the stretch if needed by bringing the knee toward the opposite shoulder. Repeat with the other leg.
Flat Frog — Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your legs form a diamond shape as you move your feet closer to your bottom. Relax your legs to let the knees fall to the sides. Alternatively, you can lie on your back on a bolster or pillows, with your bottom and legs unsupported to give yourself a slight back bend if this is comfortable.
Hip and Lower Back Twist — Lie on your back with hands to the side and legs outstretched. Bend one knee and bring it across to the opposite side of your body. Keep both shoulders against the ground as this stretch gives you a gentle lower back stretch.
Cobra Pose — Lie on your stomach now with your legs straight. Lift your torso as you move your elbows beneath your shoulders with your forearms and palms flat to the ground ahead of you. Don’t let your shoulders rise up toward your ears. Take a deep breath as you prop yourself up on your forearms so that your upper body rises up like a cobra snake. Alternatively you can straighten your arms for a higher rise and deeper stretch. Hold the position as you take five deep breaths. Lower yourself back down, then repeat five times.
Child’s Pose — On your hands and knees with your feet closer together and your knees farther apart, lower your bottom to your heels as you keep your arms outstretched, palms on the ground. Rest your head on the floor if that’s comfortable, and hold for thirty seconds. Remember those breaths.
Happy Baby — Lie on your back again with your knees bent. Reach your arms between your legs to grab the bottoms of your feet, which should now be pointing up in the air. Rock like a baby if that sounds like fun. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy.
Deep Squat — Stand with your feet apart and your toes pointed out to the sides. Slowly lower your butt toward the floor as you keep your feet flat on the ground. Go as deep as you can. You may need to adjust the width of your feet and you might need to hold a prop to help your balance. Also, this one can be difficult if you have knee trouble, so use caution. Hold this relaxed squatting position as you breath. Stand, then repeat several times.
These are great stretches for helping with pelvic pain, but don’t feel like you need to do them all. Just find the ones that feel good and work the best for you.