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Sunday, September 23, 2007

SPD - the 'Groin Pain'

SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
The symphysis pubis is the name given to where two bones meet at the front of the pelvis. The pelvic bone is roughly in the shape of a heart, and is actually formed by three bones, which are held together by very strong ligaments.

The bones meet to form three 'fixed' joints - at the front (the symphysis pubis) and at each side of the bottom of the spine (the sacro-iliac joints).

Normally, these joints are not designed to allow movement. However, when a woman becomes pregnant, a hormone called relaxin is produced which loosens all the pelvic ligaments in order to allow the pelvis slight movement at the time of birth.

For some reason, the ligaments occasionally loosen too much and too early before birth. This means they can't keep the pelvic joints stable so the pelvis moves, especially on weight bearing. All this is made worse by the increased weight of the growing baby and sometimes the symphysis pubis joint actually separates slightly. The result is mild to severe pain, usually in the pubic area, and is called SPD.

What are the symptoms?
The most common is pain and difficulty when walking. Some women describe the feeling of their pelvis coming apart. The pain is made worse when turning in bed or doing something that involves standing on one leg, such as climbing up stairs, getting dressed and getting in and out of a car.

The pain is generally felt in the pubis and/or the sacro-iliac joints, but can also be experienced in the groin, the inner side of the thighs, the hips and in one or both buttocks.

Is there any treatment?
Unfortunately there is no way of tightening the ligaments again during pregnancy, so no treatment will be able to cure SPD. This includes any sort of osteopathy, reflexology or acupuncture. However, after the birth the body stops producing the hormone, so the ligaments tighten up and (for the majority of women) the symptoms gradually disappear.

So what can be done?
The most important thing is to avoid doing anything that aggravates the condition, such as standing on one leg.

  • Sit on a chair to get dressed.
  • Be very careful to get into a car by putting your bottom on the seat first, and then lifting your legs into the car.
  • When you get out, lift your legs onto the pavement and then lift your bottom off the seat.
  • If you go swimming, don't swim breaststroke.
  • Always turn over in bed with your knees firmly together.
  • Make sure you get a rest (in bed) every day.
  • If you already have a child, you will need help, as you will find it difficult to lift him or her.
  • If the pain is severe, ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist, ideally one who has specialist training in obstetrics and is called a Physiotherapist in Woman?s Health. She or he will be able to assess you and may fit you with a pelvic support belt, which helps to stabilise the pelvis. Your GP will also be able to prescribe painkillers that are safe to take in pregnancy.
Reactions:

2 comments:

  1. AH HA! SO THAT'S WHAT IVE GOT. I THOUGHT IT WAS A WEIRD PLACE TO FEEL CONSTANT PAIN. I ALREADY HAD SACRO-ILIAC PROBLEMS BEFORE PREGNANCY SO IT ALL MAKES SENSE. TOO BAD THEY CANT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. TURNING IN BED, HOUSEWORK, GOING TO WORK...IT'S ALL PURE TORTURE.

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  2. For more information about SPD please go to www.backpainandpregnancy.blogspot.com

    Thanks for letting people know about this disfunction.

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