About 1 in 4 women have Pubic Symphysis dysfunction at some point during pregnancy. Women are often told this is “normal” during pregnancy. Pelvic pain should not be considered a common occurrence and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy can help to decrease most pains during pregnancy!
The Pubic Symphysis is the bony part in front of your pelvis at your lower abdomen. It is normally an extremely stable joint and can accept a lot of load from our bodies, even during pregnancy. However, hormone changes during pregnancy can impact the stability of this joint and cause increased movement of the ligaments that surround the joint. Pubic symphysis pain can also be accompanied by pain in the hips, low back, or abdomen.
For some women, the extra ligament movement causes structures to slip and move in this area, causing alignment issues, contributing to pubic symphysis pain. When this bone gets irritated, it can cause pain in the area of the bone, or it can cause radiating pain to the groin. Another affectionate term for Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction is “lightning crotch.” It can cause a sharp and sudden pain deep in the pelvis causing a mom to gasp during mid-step or trying to roll in bed. It can interfere with a woman’s ability to stand, walk, lift, roll, or do household chores comfortably. Pain is the most common complaint of Pubic Symphysis dysfunction; however, other signs include a change in how you walk. Often patients complain that they are having to ‘waddle” due to increased pain.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction, I highly encourage you to see help from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can help decrease pain and improve your comfort during pregnancy. We will look at not just the Pubic Symphysis, but also the pelvis, hips, back, posture, and even your feet. Treatment can include manual therapy techniques including massage, joint manipulation, and dry needling. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist will know precautions and contraindications to abide for the treatment of someone who is pregnant. We will give you safe and effective management strategies including stretches and strengthening exercises. We can also fit you for the optimal pelvis/ belly braces to best help with your specific type of pain.
There are a few ways you can start to self-manage your pain:
- You can put ice over your pubic symphysis. Ice for 10-15 minutes at a time to decrease pain and inflammation. You can do this several times throughout the day. You do not want to put heat on an inflamed joint! You can simply use a bag of frozen vegetables if you do not have an ice pack.
- While sleeping, place a pillow between your legs to keep your pelvis in a neutral position to avoid strain on your pubic symphysis.
- Watch your posture! Try to practice “ribs over pelvis” during your day to day activities.
- Breathe! Practice exhaling while you lift, stand, roll, or anytime you exert yourself.
Do you need help managing your Pubic Symphysis dysfunction during pregnancy? Contact us!
Magic City Physical Therapy
Phone (205) 602-1848
Fax (205) 293-3895