Many pregnant women experience pubic pain during pregnancy. The pain can be extremely uncomfortable and patients often think there is no hope for relief. However, many women are able to get improvement or relief with chiropractic treatment, massage or a combination of these modalities. It is not something that you just have to live with.
Although not every provider has a name for this condition, it is most commonly called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (or SPD). The symptoms of SPD vary from person, but almost all women who have it experience substantial pubic pain. Tenderness and pain down low in the front are common, but often the pain feels as if it’s inside. The pubic area is generally very tender to the touch; many women find it painful when the doctor or midwife pushes down on the pubic bone while measuring the fundal height of the uterus.Any activity that involves lifting one leg at a time or parting the legs tends to be particularly painful. Lifting the leg to put clothes on, getting out of bed or a car, bending over, sitting down or getting up, walking up stairs, standing on one leg, lifting heavy objects, and walking can be difficult at times. Many women report that moving or turning over in bed is especially excruciating. Many of our patients with SPD also report very strong round ligament pain (pulling or tearing feelings in the abdomen when rolling over, moving suddenly, sneezing, coughing, getting up, etc.). Although pubic pain often does go away after pregnancy, many women find that it sticks around afterward, usually diminished, but still present. If the underlying causes are not treated, long-term pain usually sticks around. Anecdotally, this often seems to be associated with long term low back pain or reduced flexibility in the hips.
Most of our patients experience significant relief of their pubic bone pain following treatment, although regular visits throughout the remainder of pregnancy are often necessary to maintain the relief. Additionally, most of our patients report that after our care the SPD did not cause them pain or dysfunction in labor!