Around 1 in 5 women will experience mild discomfort in the back or front of the pelvis during pregnancy. These aches and pains, if left untreated may progress to interfere with everyday activities such as walking, climbing the stairs and getting out of chairs. Your body will go through an extraordinary amount of change when you are expecting. Make sure you are looking after yourself!
SPD – What Is it?
SPD, PPGP or PGP is characterised by pain in the centre of the pelvis. During pregnancy a hormone called Relaxin loosens the ligaments in the pelvis causing the pelvic bones to lose some of their stability and become misaligned. SPD is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area. It is also common to hear a cracking or popping sensation in the lower back, hip or sacroiliac joint during walking or changing position.
Don’t suffer in silence, there is treatment to help! If you get the right advice andtreatment early on, SPD can be managed and symptoms reduced.
How can I ease the pain?
The best way to ease the pain is to rest when you can. So get help with household chores from your partner, family and friends! You are not superwoman! Try to avoid sitting on the floor and crossing your legs, and bending and twisting to lift or carrying a baby on one hip if you have other children. Sitting and standing for long periods or lifting heavy shopping bags will also aggravate your pain.
Keeping your knees together when getting in and out of the car, sitting down to get dressed and sleeping with a pillow between your legs will help with the pain but the main aid for SPD is a pregnancy belt! Youcan buy them from all the high street pregnancy stores as well as online. Make sure you measure it up properly, your body will change over your trimesters.
Management of the pain can be completed at home but sometimes you may have to seek outside help from a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy aims to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function and improve your pelvic joint position and stability. Treatment could consist of:
- Kinesiotape to support the lower back and provide relief from SPD.
- Pregnancy Massage to relax the body and provide relief from aching muscles.
- Manual Therapy to ensure your spine, pelvis and hip joints are moving normally.
- Active Isolated Stretching to relax individual muscle groups that overwork during the changes in pregnancy.
- Pregnancy and Post Natal Pilates Exercises to strengthen and retrain the abdominals, pelvic floor and hip muscles during and after pregnancy.
- Pain relief in the form of electrotherapy (TENS)
Labour with SPD
Many women with SPD can have a normal birth. Plan ahead and talk about your birthing plan with your midwife. Being in water can take the weight off your joints and allow you to move more easily, so you might want to think about having a water birth.
Here at Mike Varney Physiotherapy, we have a qualified therapist treating a broad range of pregnancy related conditions including SPD and Sciatica. To book an appointment or assessment please phone 01279 414959.