Osteopathy to Treat Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) : PELVIC PAIN LONDON
What is symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) during pregnancy?
Pelvic girdle pain or symphysis pubis dysfunction (written as PGP or SPD) is a pregnancy discomfort that causes pain, instability and limitation of mobility in any of the pelvic joints: sacro iliac joints and/or pubic symphysis.
Symptoms are lower back pain with some sciatica (shooting pain in the legs or buttocks)
PGP is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around.
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How can I know if I am suffering from PGP?
There is a variety of symptoms experienced by women with SPD including:
- Swelling and/or inflammation over joint
- Difficulty lifting legs
- Pain pulling legs apart
- Inability to stand on one leg
- Inability to transfer weight through pelvis and legs
- Pain in hips and/or restriction of hip movement
- Transferred nerve pain down leg
- Can be associated with bladder and/or bowel dysfunction
- A feeling of the symphysis pubis giving way
- Stooped back when standing
- Mis alignment of pelvic and/or back joints
- Struggle to sit or stand
- Pain in the lower back, sciatica feeling
- Pain may also radiate down the inner thighs
- Waddling or shuffling gait
- Audible ‘clicking’ sound coming from the pelvis
Why is it painful?
During the pregnancy the body experiences enormous changes: hormonal and physical. However, sometimes the body has difficulty to adapt with these physiological modifications and therefore tensions and pain can often appear in the pelvis area.
This is due to two major changes:
During the pregnancy the body secrete the relaxin hormone. Its mission is to stretch ligaments so that your baby can ease his or her way into the world. But sometimes relaxin does its job too well, making the ligaments around your pelvic bone during pregnancy too loose too soon (way before baby is ready to come out), and that causes instability (and unfortunately, pain) in the pelvic joint or in the pubic symphysis.
– Physical change: modification of curves and weight
The baby’s growth implies a weight gain which is more or less important for every woman and at the same time a change of curve: accentuation of every curve but especially the lumbar lordosis.
Thus, the centre of gravity is modified, every muscle, ligaments need to coordinate and finally the pelvis which is the support of the spine tries to rebalance the new tensions. Nevertheless, sometimes the body can’t find a good compromise between stability (support for the baby) and mobility (stretching of ligaments for the next childbirth) that is why pubic symphysis pain and/or sacro iliac pain can occur.
Note that even if SPD / PGP often occur during pregnancy, women can experience this discomfort after childbirth. In fact, every structures (ligaments, muscles) are stretched and weak and therefore instability of the pelvis can appear and create pain.
How can Osteopathy help me with symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic girdle pain (PGP)?
By regiving a general balance of your body, osteopathy can help you to deal with the pelvic girdle pain / SPD. In fact, using different soft techniques (muscular, fascial, cranio sacral) the osteopath will find a balance between the anterior part (uterus/baby) and the posterior part (spine/pelvis) that are not well coordinated.
Moreover, testing the different part of the body, the osteopath will be able to diagnose and treat all the general tensions that have been present before the pregnancy and that have increased the pelvis pain.
Finally, the osteopath will harmonize the ligaments ‘tension around the uterus with gentle and soft external techniques that pull on the sacrum or on the pubic symphysis and thanks to these techniques will restore a good mobility, giving you a great comfort and prevent a worsening of the pelvic pain.
As a conclusion, the osteopathy treatment could help you to have a more comfortable pregnancy and childbirth. For new mothers who experienced SPD/ PGP, osteopathy will be also beneficial in addition to physiotherapy treatment to restore a good balance.
If you have any other pain, our osteopath, who specialise in Harmonization with gentle and soft external techniques for babies, women and pregnant women will be able to relase them. Feel free to give us a call to request an appointment with our osteopath.
article by James Turgis Chartered Physiotherapist
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