The Pelvic Brace
The pelvic brace is an isolated tightening of the abdominal muscle called the Transverse Abdominus (TrA). The TrA is a deep muscle in the lower belly. It is important because it stabilizes and supports your body’s trunk, or “core”.
How to Find your Transverse Abdominis Muscle
Place your fingers on your lower belly, 1-2 inches from your hip and pelvic bone. Keep a straight back. Take a breath in. On the exhale, gently tighten your TrA as if you are pulling your belly button up and in towards your spine. You should feel the muscle gently tighten under your fingers. This is similar to pulling in your abdomen when zippering or buttoning a tight pair of pants.
Avoid holding your breath, bulging your belly, or moving your low back. You can find your TrA muscle and ‘pelvic brace’ in any position. To start, try this lying on your back or your side. You can also try this when sitting or standing.
When to Use the Pelvic Brace
Use the pelvic brace throughout the day. It is especially helpful during activities that need extra effort and increase the pressure in your trunk. Tightening the TrA first will help support your back, belly and pelvis. It can be used during regular activities including:
Standing from a chair
Coughing or sneezing
Avoid holding your breath and straining during activities. This increases the pressure inside your belly and weakens your core muscles. Use the pelvic brace as your internal corset for added strength and support.
Combine the pelvic brace with a tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. This further strengthens your core stability.
Practice using the pelvic brace during your exercise routine. A physical therapist can recommend exercises that are best for you.
Initially it will take focus to use the pelvic brace during your daily tasks. With regular practice it will feel more natural. The pelvic brace will help you to use your body safely and effectively with greater strength.
Disclaimer: This patient education handout was developed by the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy (APTA Pelvic Health) and is meant to provide general information, not specific medical advice. It is not intended to substitute for the judgment of a person’s healthcare provider. Additional information can be found at www.aptapelvichealth.org.