Lizzie’s post pregnancy hip-pain may or may not be related

June 7, 2016

Dear Guru

I had a relatively straightforward pregnancy during which I continued to exercise (eg. cross trainer, walking hill intervals, spin classes) right up until my due date without issue.

I had an emergency c-section which went well with no complications. After the all clear from the doctor I started running again 8 weeks after this and have been gradually increasing my exercise, now including sprint intervals, weights and light core work. However, since giving birth I have had persistent right hip pain during and after exercise (mainly after running). This arises after about 15 minutes running and then the pain continues for a couple of days afterwards – it hurts when I extend my right leg forward to run or walk and feels like it is right on the hip joint at the front (not near my c-section scar, so I am confident it is not connected to that).

I’m wondering if this is purely hip or core instability and something I should do exercises for, or anything more serious.

Thank you

June 7, 2016

Hi Lizzie

It may, or may not be related to your pregnancy. It sounds as if you had a sensible approach to getting back into exercising – so the loading mechanics and making things hurt have been dealt with.

On balance this sounds more like pain coming from elsewhere (your back) or your hip being forced to “overwork” because something else isn’t playing ball.

Being pregnant causes quite a change to your posture, albeit temporary. The subsequent nappy changing, feeding, bathing, carrying etc can prolong these postural changes.

The biggest change I see is the lack of adequate thoracic spine motion. You’re great at bending/slouching/sitting forwards but have a real difficultly in getting your thoracic spine to move backwards or extend. As much as you try you’ll either bend your lower back, shrug your shoulders or tip your chin up and back.

This now created the imbalance of something compensating because of a post pregnancy stiff thoracic spine…

Your lower back extends backwards to compensate for the forwards movement and posture of your thoracic spine. The muscles around your hip stiffen to protect your lower back – which may either cause an increase in compression through the hip, excessive and uncontrolled joint play (not necessarily motion) in both your hip and back.

So I wouldn’t be tempted to stretch your hip or back but I’d be trying to gain thoracic spine motion (especially going backwards and not forwards) and try to improve the control (and not strength) around your hip.

Have a squizz…

TheWorldsGreatestStretch video and any thoracic mobility exercise.

Also, these glute exercises,

Don’t expect overnight results but do give them a fair crack of the whip.

The Guru

Guru Responded

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