What is symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)?
The pelvis is made up of two halves, they are connected at the front by a joint called the symphysis pubis and at the back by two sacroiliac joints. This central symphysis pubis joint is stabilised by a number of strong ligaments. During pregnancy your body begins to produce a hormone called “Relaxin”. Relaxin helps increase the mobility of your joints by softening ligaments and other tissues; this softening helps baby pass through your pelvis.
This relaxation effect continues during pregnancy and afterwards while breast feeding. SPD is caused when the pelvic joints move too much or unevenly, resulting in pain, muscle tension and inflammation.
When does SPD start?
SPD can begin at any time during pregnancy or immediately afterwards. Most women with SPD will begin to notice symptoms around 4 – 5 months into the pregnancy.
Osteopathic view of symphysis pubis dysfunction
SPD is not a new condition; back In 1870 Snelling described the relaxation of the pelvic joints, which led to distressing symptoms within the pregnant population. 143 years later and orthodox medicine will often inform patients that nothing can be done. Current treatment involves a support belt, crutches and some pain killers; many women find this ineffective.
As osteopaths we often find that SPD is due to a combination of factors:
- Disparity between the mobility of the three pelvic joints
- The misalignment of the synthesis pubis
- Muscle tension around the pelvis
Osteopathic treatment will concentrate on normalising mobility, alignment and muscle tension to allow the body to return to a state of health. Osteopathic treatment can begin at any time during or after your pregnancy and is very effective.
What are the sign and symptoms?
By far the most common symptoms are pain in the pubic area and groin that is aggravated by opening the legs, walking and going up or down stairs. There may also be:
- Pain down the inner thighs
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Clicking sensation in the pubic area
- You do not have to put up with pain
- You do not have to wait until you have given birth to receive osteopathic treatment