Debilitating Pelvic Pain Following Child Birth -Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

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It is estimated that SPD/PGP affects as many as 1 in 5 pregnant women to some extent. It is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area including your lower back. Pain can also radiate to your thighs and some women feel or hear clicking or grinding in the pelvic area. The pain may become more noticeable when walking, turning over in bed, going upstairs or getting out of a car.

If you notice pain around your pelvic area during your pregnancy you should speak to your GP or midwife who should refer you to a physiotherapist with a qualification from the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health (RCOG 2015). Physiotherapy should be used to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function and improve your pelvic joint position and stability. Early diagnosis can help keep the pain to a minimum and avoid long term discomfort; however symptoms often remain until after your baby is born.

Problems arise when SPD/PGP is not taken seriously and is left untreated. Women are often told that there is nothing that can be done to treat SPD/PGP and it will resolve after the baby is born. This misconception arises from out dated thinking that SPD/PGP was caused by hormones and therefore treatment would not work whilst you were pregnant. It is now known that SPD/PGP is not caused by hormones and it is usually caused by a pelvic joint problem which can usually be treated by a ‘hands-on’ manual therapy from a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor.

You should be able to give birth vaginally but you should discuss this with your Physiotherapist and your birth plan should make it clear that you have SPD/PGP and you should be aware of how you can protect your joints during the delivery.

For a small number of women the problem does not go away after the birth and the symptoms persist, if you find yourself in this situation you should be referred for further physiotherapy by a therapist who specialises in SPD/PGP. If Physiotherapy does not relieve the pain, your GP should consider referring you for further investigations such as an x-ray. SPD/PGP can be debilitating and it can have a severe impact on your family life and mental health.

If you experience joint pains during your pregnancy, don’t ignore them and don’t let your GP or midwife tell you that it’s something that you have to put up with. Treatment is available for SPD/PGP and you do not have to suffer.

If you have suffered as a result of a failure to treat SPD/PPGP, please call us on 0113 284 5000 or email clinneg@isonharrison.co.uk a member of our team will listen to your story and deal with your enquiry in a sensitive matter.

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