Physio vs Pilates: Treating SPD/Pelvic Girdle Pain

If you haven’t read about my diagnosis of SPD, you can do so by clicking here.

I quit physio, after 3 sessions.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m in pain, the physio was there to help, I’m not cured, why would I quit after 3 sessions?

Physiotherapy on the NHS is very stretched, the same as any NHS service at the moment.

When I first visited the physio for my SPD, I was assessed and the physiotherapist said she could tell that my body had changed during pregnancy. She could tell my hips had widened and that I was off balance not being used to my new body and in pain with every movement I made. I did several exercises with her so she could assess me and was told that further exercises were needed and that pilates may also help me. I was told my legs and glutes were weak. I was told they could also tell I was holding back when moving, for fear of pain. I was booked to return for another appointment for in 6 weeks later and sent on my way with a print out of exercises.

The first problem with being sent away with exercises to do on your own is that you can’t tell if you’re doing them correctly. The second problem is that no matter how motivated you feel to get better, it’s really hard to find the motivation to do your exercises.

I have a baby and I don’t have a spare half an hour in a day, unless I find this time when she’s in bed.. at 5am, or 8pm. I don’t fancy doing exercises at these times.. ever! I tried, but I found it incredibly difficult and I’m pretty sure the exercises were not working for me.

This is how I made the decision to research pilates, despite having never done any voluntary exercise in my life, and I actually found a pilates instructor a two minute walk from my house. I had no excuse not to give it a go.

I messaged the pilates instructor and she had space in her beginners class for me. I explained how limited my movements were and she was happy to take me under her wing.

The pilates class I attend once a week isn’t specific for pregnancy or post-baby, but my instructor still tailors my lesson to my needs. If she guides the class into a move that won’t be suitable for me, she has something else ready for me. She can guide my movements for an hour long class, adjust my body position where needed and, most importantly, she actually gave me advice that was better than the physio gave me about certain exercises – exercises that the physiotherapists had given me.

I’d been told by a physiotherapist, on my third visit to see them, that I needed to complete a particular exercise to as far as I could stretch. My pilates instructor, upon seeing me do this exercise, told me that the height of the position didn’t matter, but my control within the movement was what did matter and a much smaller movement was better for me.

My second and third physio appointments were the same as my first appointment. A ten minute appointment with a physiotherapist to check how I was doing and to see me do my exercises, six weeks apart.

If I compare this to my pilates classes, they are an hour long every week and there are usually around 5 other people in the class, so this doesn’t affect the instructor getting around to help me. I pay a very reasonable amount of money for these classes in my opinion and they’re worth every single penny. I would pay more. Getting out of the house once a week to do the classes really helps too, as I’m not distracted by my daughter, or things going on around the house. I have noticed a vast improvement in my pain levels and mobility since starting pilates classes. I’ve been attending once a week for six months and I’m going to keep attending.

The NHS is stretched to the absolute limit, especially at the moment. I cancelled my physio appointments and discharged myself from the service. It wasn’t suitable for me, I feel like I needed more interaction and more help than the NHS was able to give me right now.

Physio might work for some people and it was certainly a good starting place for me, but pilates has helped me so much more.

So, I’m still on my journey to recovery, but I’m doing so much better. If you want to read about my life now with SPD, please click here.

If you are currently struggling with pelvic pain, please contact your doctor for support.

The Pain Corner does not make any profit. If you enjoyed reading my blog, or found it useful and would like to make a donation of £3 towards the cost of the domain, you can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will help keep this website running. Thank you!

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