Osteopathy and SPD* and PGP*

*Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, and *Pelvic Girdle Pain.


With pregnancy comes numerous mechanical and hormonal changes which significantly influence the pelvis and lower back (and the rest of the body!!). For many these changes can cause debilitating pain. Unfortunately many health professionals, and many women are under the assumption that they have to deal with the pain, and that it is a “normal” part of pregnancy, they are told that SPD and PGP are untreatable.

Above shows the two main areas of pain experienced by women with either of these issues. These seem to be the most problematic during pregnancy and postnatally as they are rich in ligaments. With the hormonal changes of pregnancy, ligaments become more lax (elastic), and therefore do not support the joints as needed. The pelvis will shift out of alignment, which causes all the associated structures to have to work harder than normal, in the wrong position, causing strain, inflammation and pain.

Any changes of gait will influence the amount of load through these joints. So this can be as simple as a change in shoes, but more significantly, the mechanical changes of pregnancy can place more pressure through these areas, which are already vulnerable due to the ligament laxity.

Osteopathy and its effectiveness of treating these conditions has been well documented. This article in the Guardian describes the torturous pain of SPD as her “body felt as if it were splitting in two”. She also explained that many failed “to take SPD symptoms seriously”, which is the exact feeling I have had from most of my patients. She felt “let down by conventional medicine because it spun … the line that SPD was untreatable”, this echos exactly what I have been told by my patients, so ladies lose all control in the management of their pain. She found the only treatment to work was osteopathy. Here is the link.

Osteopathy works wonders for these conditions. We take a thorough medical history, this will determine any preexisting conditions or old injuries which may predispose you to these issues in the first place. Mostly we find that old injuries tend to resurface in pregnancy. We compensate for old injuries and pain for years, and quite often these mechanisms break down in pregnancy. Quite often we see ladies years after they have had their children, still experiencing the same pain as they did in pregnancy, but it may have affected other areas of the body due to being out of alignment for so long, and having compensated for that. We commonly see neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain, lower back and knee pain emanating from pelvic misalignment.

A thorough biomechanical assessment will show us exactly how you move, and why the pelvis has shifted out of alignment in the first place. I will tend to follow a three pronged approach in treatment. I will address the overall issues which have caused the pelvis issues/misalignment in the first place, I will go locally to the structures at the pelvis which are causing the pain (mostly these are soft tissue/muscular structures that have become inflamed or in spasm due to overworking, or being slightly in the wrong place), and then I will look at long term solutions to prevent the pain coming back. This approach seems to work really well in getting back to being pain free more quickly and for longer. I have also produced an SPD HELPSHEETΒ which gives longer term management and advice for SPD and associated conditions.

Take a look at our testimonials pageΒ to see how we have helped numerous mums with this condition to become pain free. There are lots of different techniques that can be used in pregnancy, and after, to help. Do email us if you have any questions about how we can help.

Thank you for reading.