Belly support garments are commonly marketed during pregnancy to help with prenatal discomforts and support a comfortable pregnancy! But, can a belly support garment alleviate pelvic girdle pain or at least minimize the severity of it?
The answer seems to be yes! A belly support garment could help to manage your pelvic girdle pain. Let’s explore this even more!
2 Causes of Pelvic Girdle Pain
Pelvic girdle pain is a pain in one of the pelvic joints (SI joint or the pubic symphysis) that tends to be increased with single leg or pivoting type movements (walking for example).
Pelvic girdle pain can be debilitating! It can really affect your daily function.
There are two main causes of pelvic girdle pain:
- Pelvic asymmetry: an uneven pull on the pelvic joints due to pelvic position and muscular balance
- Muscular coordination across the pelvic joints: how well the muscles and tissues that support each joint help with force closure.
Understanding the causes of pelvic girdle pain can lead us towards the solution to really alleviate the pain, but sometimes we are in too much pain to even approach rehabilitation!
This is where a belly band could be helpful! It may not solve the underlying cause of pelvic girdle pain, but it may help us reach a point of comfort where we can at least move so we can then approach our rehab to solve our problem.
3 Ways Belly Bands Support Pelvic Girdle Pain Relief
Belly bands can help alleviate pain, and while it may not solve the underlying cause of pelvic girdle pain, it can at least bring us to a point that we can move!
Three ways a belly band can support pelvic girdle pain include:
- Alleviate pain
- Improves balance
- Improves functionality and mobility
1) Belly Bands Alleviate Pain
The first way that a belly band can support pelvic girdle pain (and other prenatal discomforts) is that it can help to alleviate pain!
While it may not solve the underlying cause of the pain, it can at least bring us to a point of comfort that we can move and function without pain.
This may then make it easier to then exercise to improve stabilization across the pelvic girdle and find more symmetry in the pelvis.
How does a belly band alleviate pain? The mechanism of action is not clear, but the theory is that the band can increase the stability of the pelvic joints with external support and compression. This increases stability and decreases pain.
So, while the band does not improve muscular coordination or strength across the pelvic joints, it at least can alleviate pain enough so that you could then do exercises focused on stabilization and strengthening!
2) Belly Bands Improve Balance
Belly bands have strong evidence to improve balance! Feeling unstable or imbalanced could cause gripping or clenching, that may affect the functionality of the pelvic floor and muscles supporting the pelvic girdle.
If we feel more balance, we tend to not clench or grip, which allows our supporting musculature to move through their range of motion more smoothly (which could improve muscular coordination across the pelvic joints).
Belly bands could also aid in proprioception, or our ability to understand where our body is in space, and this may also improve balance!
Improved balance could also support our overall posture, which is sometimes can be an underlying contributor toward pelvic girdle pain. Our postural tendencies could be contributing towards pelvic asymmetry, which is one of the underlying causes of pelvic girdle pain. A belly band could provide enough support and proprioception to support our overall postural habits.
3) Belly Bands Improve Functionality and Mobility
Since belly bands can alleviate pain and improve balance, they can also support our overall function and mobility!
When we are in pain or we feel unstable, we tend to move less and our overall function tends to decrease. When we are in pain, we tend to tense up to minimize the amount of pain we are in, and this decreased movement can affect our muscular coordination and functionality.
When we feel unbalanced, we tend to clench and grip as a stabilization strategy, which can affect our functionality and mobility!
Since wearing a belly band can alleviate pain and improve overall balance, it can also support better muscular coordination (because we are actually allowing our muscles to move). This improved muscular coordination can help to alleviate pelvic girdle pain!