Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) in pregnancy & Acupuncture
Updated: Jan 3
One of the most common issues we see in late pregnancy is Pelvic Girdle pain, especially in first pregnancy. Up to 84% of women will experience some pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy.
Sadly, a high percentage of women won’t seek treatment for this pain as they believe it’s just “part of the journey” but it is important to know that there are a range of treatment options available and Self-help steps that can be taken to alleviate the pain.
Pelvic pain in pregnancy was originally called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction but health professionals now call it Pelvic Girdle Pain because it affects all the joints of the pelvis not just the one called the Symphysis Pubis.
What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction?
Symphysis pubis dysfunction is a problem with the pelvis. The pelvis is mainly formed of two pubic bones that curve round. The pubic bones meet at the very front of the pelvis, at a joint called the symphysis pubis. It is a strong joint made of a dense network of tough ligaments. This joint expands as pregnancy progresses and can make the symphysis pubis joint less stable, causing Symphysis pubis dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction?
The main symptom is pain in the pubic area groin, back, hip or thigh. It could be accompanied by a grinding or clicking sensation in the pubic area. Pain worsens by walking, going up or down stairs or even moving around in bed. Pain feels worse at night. Getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction can occur at any time during pregnancy or after giving birth.
You must inform your midwife or obstetrician if you experience such pain.
Is pubic symphysis pain treatable?
Yes it is treatable. Many people with pubic symphysis joint pain in pregnancy benefit from massage therapy and acupuncture, physiotherapy, and self-help tips.
Acupuncture can help!
The Chinese Medicine approach looks at the location & nature of the pain. Our Registered Acupuncturist will also ask you questions to develop a holistic diagnosis. A treatment plan is then tailored to suit your specific needs.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that's been used for more than 2,000 years. That makes it one of the "oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world," !
In acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted at strategic points on the body to rebalance vital energy, called qi (pronounced "chee"). Traditional Chinese medicine holds that the vital energy flows along pathways called meridians; The aim is to awaken your own body's potential to manage symptoms relieve stress and strain and restore balance within your body.
What does research say:
A Systematic Review found Acupuncture is a top choice for pain relief when combined with the standard care in hospital midwifery appointments.
A Randomized Controlled Trial showed that people who received Acupuncture for pelvic and lower back pain in pregnancy had remarkably less pain than the control group. It was noticed in a study that Acupuncture was superior to stabilising exercises .
Some medical and government bodies recognize Acupuncture as a treatment option for Pelvic Girdle pain!! and suggest Acupuncture in combination with exercise to be the preferred treatment option.
Physiotherapy: Seeing a Physiotherapist who excels in precise diagnosis and stabilising exercises can also be of benefit.
Walking: Walk with shorter steps to decrease pubic symphysis irritation.
A pair of good walking shoes.
Carrying: When carrying items, wear them in a backpack or hold them close to the chest to avoid uneven loading of the pelvis causing pain.
Sleep: Keep a pillow between the legs that spans from the knees to the ankles (not just between the knees).
Rolling over in bed: To go from one side to the other, (1) bend knees to 90 degrees, (2) tense the belly gently for stability , and (3) roll with knees, hips, and shoulders in line. Avoid flopping side to side in bed or letting the spine twist.
Dressing: Sit down on the edge of the bed or on a chair to get dressed. Standing on one leg can irritate the pubic symphysis.
Stairs: Face the railing and try going up stairs stepping to the side. Alternatively, take the steps one at a time to avoid a large movement with the pelvis.
Car: When getting in a car, turn their back to the seat and aim their bottom in. Once seated, keep the knees close together as they slowly turn to face forward. Getting out is the same process in reverse. Keeping the knees close together helps prevent the pubic symphysis from feeling pulled on.
Sitting: Consider putting a pillow behind the back for support. Avoid slumping or leaning on one bone more than the other. Sitting on a large exercise ball (about 65 cm) may offer relief of pain.
Are support belts a good idea?
Most, but not all, people with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction feel less pain and have an easier time walking while wearing a support belt. Some people use a support belt just when they need more support, such as walking. Other people wear the belt 23 hours per day, just taking it off to shower.
You can’t prevent pain from your pelvic joint during pregnancy, but you can protect your pelvic area from injury. Try not to overexert yourself when you exercise, and wear comfortable shoes that support your feet.
What should be expected after birth?
Right after birth, the pubic symphysis pain may suddenly go away or it may feel worse from the physical rigors of labor. Wearing a support belt is often helpful. If Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction is treated, most people get back to an active lifestyle by three to four months post delivery.
Acupuncture and stabilising exercises constitute efficient complements to standard treatment for the management of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.
Don't bear unnecessary pain!
Please speak to a Reliable experienced acupuncturist.
Forward this blog to a friend or relative whom you think might benefit from it.
How to choose an Acupuncturist
It is important to find a Trained and Experienced practitioner Acupuncturist. Diplomats of acupuncture have at least four years of academic training at the master’s level, must pass rigorous exams and meet state licensing and continuing education requirements.
Esther Hornstein is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and diplomat in acupuncture. with continuous professional update.
In her Therapeutic Holistic approach, she addresses Pediatric ailments, Men & Women’s health, Pain management and overall Wellness.
Her private practice is in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel. 2nd nature Healing Center, 34 Nachal Hakishon.
tel: 054 719 9600
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