Physiotherapist Simon Grant, who runs the Rannoch Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, is going to give us tips on keeping our bones and skeletons in good shape.

He says: “I cover all aspects of physiotherapy treatment including back and neck pain, joint and muscle strains, arthritis, rheumatism, pain management and specialise in sports injuries.

Simon’s column focusses on pelvic pain, especially in pregnancy and linked to inactivity in general. During pregnancy the hormones released change the body structure and processes in many ways, even mood can change from one moment to another. A chain of events beyond your control are set in motion.

Apart from the obvious physical signs there are less apparent internal changes taking place which can affect how your body moves and copes with daily living.

The ligaments which hold your bones and joints together gradually soften and stretch to prepare the pelvis for birth. An unfortunate side effect of this softening is the potential for the pelvic joints to move more than they should. Combine this with a sedentary job or lifestyle, which leads to muscle weakness, and the final result can be back and pelvis pain.

Pregnancy is hard enough work without also having to cope with this discomfort. So below are a few suggestions which should help to minimise this annoyance and hopefully lead to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

As previously stated do not sit for long periods of time, and if this cannot be avoided take time to think about how you sit from a support and postural point of view. Use a useful device called a ‘Sitfit.’( www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnSRhSHv6X0).

This small round inflatable cushion acts as a core muscle stimulator when placed on an office-type chair. The gentle wobble as you sit on it means that if you slump or move away from correct posture, then you are tipped to the side, meaning your core postural muscles have to work constantly to keep you sitting upright. This not only improves posture but also strengthens the core as you sit.

Any type of posture awareness exercise is going to be beneficial, for example Pilates and Alexander Technique. These not only strengthen the postural muscles, they also encourage proper alignment of the whole skeleton, minimising excess stress on the ligaments and supporting muscles. Long term this decreases the chance of developing many skeletal and degenerative problems such as arthritis and inflammatory joint pain through overloading.

Here is where the infamous pelvic floor exercises come into play. Many a groan is elicited at the thought of these simple contractions. However I cannot stress enough how important they can be in helping to make pregnancy a more comfortable experience and the recovery and return to normal function after birth a faster and smoother journey. Especially for those women that experience any incontinence during or after pregnancy. The only disclaimer here is that if you have any worries about causing any damage to underlying problems with these exercises then seek reassurance from your GP or physiotherapist http:

http://youtu.be/SF66ImJnU1A

A short-term measure that can be taken for the duration of your pregnancy if the pain becomes debilitating is a pelvic support belt. This device is like a soft neoprene belt which wraps round your pelvis and gives the joints gentle support while allowing the freedom of movement to carry out everyday tasks. These can be obtained from your midwife, GP or physiotherapist.

Early intervention is essential with regards to any pelvic pain during pregnancy. If you are unsure of the cause always consult a health professional before doing any exercises or using any therapeutic aids. The above items can be used to ease such pains and make the whole pre/during and post pregnancy time a more comfortable and relaxed experience.