I often get asked by parents about exercises to assist with constipation in children.
Here are a few of my favorite exercises- please do note that there are so many other options and that each child might benefit from different exercises! DISCLAIMER : these exercises do not replace a consultation with a medical practitioner. Stop doing the exercises if any discomfort occurs.
Moving the pelvis helps children recognize tension in the pelvic area. The pelvis needs to relax so that a bowel motion can happen in a relaxed manner
Pelvic tilt exercises
The child sits on an exercise ball with the knees at a right angle.
Both feet must be supported. During the exercise the feet will remain on the floor in the same position.
The child first rolls the ball forward by pulling the tailbone in underneath their body. The child then rolls the ball backwards by arching the back and pushing the tailbone backwards. This rocking motion is to be repeated 20 times. For a video of this exercise please click here
The child is in the same position as the first exercise.
The child now rolls the ball in circles to each side.
This is good for posture control and relaxing the pelvic area.
For a video demonstrating this click here here
Pelvic tilt exercises can also be done in a kneeling position.
Arch and flatten the back while standing on all fours.
Repeat 20 times. This will teach the child posture awareness and help relax the pelvic area.
Deep belly breathing
The pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles move together during breathing. This synergy can be disrupted by tension. Breathing exercises will help the pelvic floor relax.
For this exercise your child lies on his or her back on his or her bed.
The knees are bent and the feet supported.
The child must breath in deeply so that his/her belly pushes outwards when inhaling, and falls back when exhaling.
You can put a small teddy bear on his/her belly and ask the child to breath so that the teddy moves up and down. Repeat only four times. More breaths will cause hyperventilation. You can let the child rest and repeat the breathing exercises again.
Many children with constipation will experience relief with taking their medication and implementing the modifications and exercises prescribed by their pelvic floor physiotherapist.