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Pelvic Pain – Postnatal and in Pregnancy

untitledPain anywhere in the pelvis, hips or lower back tends to be classed as pelvic girdle pain. There is also a disorder specific to women, known as  Symphysis Pubis Disorder. SPD typically comes on during pregnancy and can be anywhere from mild to severe, sometimes demanding complete bed rest. Mums are told it will clear up after the baby is born, and mostly it does, but not always. In fact, it may be worse, needing crutches or, in some extreme cases, a wheel-chair. Fortunately mid-wives are well informed now and often refer patients for further treatment  on leaving hospital.  G.P.'s, too, are much more understanding of pelvic girdle pain, particularly after child-birth, and are happy to refer on their patients to people like me for corrective treatment.

There are several possible causes put forward for SPD, including hormonal imbalances, but the truth is that nobody really knows. I believe that women who suffer from SPD during pregnancy are actually experiencing pain from a previous strain to the pelvic floor muscles. This is brought on by the increasing weight of the foetus and the changes that occur to accommodate the delivery, including the softening of the symphysis, the material that makes up the joint in the pubic bones. The baby will have to come through these, already tight, muscles, forcing them apart, and thereby throwing them further into spasm. It is not surprising that the pubic bones will find it difficult, if not impossible, to come back together again when the muscles attaching to them have contracted in spasm.

Birth by c-section will not necessarily eliminate the effects of SPD. If, as I believe, and experience has shown, the cause is previous pelvic muscle strain, then the weight of the foetus and softening of the symphysis will still occur. However the baby will not have to pass through the pelvic floor, though it may have been trying to for some time before the c-section is started. And, of course, c-section or not, the tension will still be there after the birth, unless treated.

Having treated SPD and other pelvic girdle problems for some time, I have found that they all respond to modalities that specifically seek to remove spasm from pelvic floor muscles, and other tissue attaching to the pubic bone and sacrum (the big triangular bone at the base of the spine ) including muscles of the thigh, and the big gluteus muscles forming the buttocks. These groups of muscles are used in bending, lifting, running and jumping, and it comes as no surprise that sports men and women put a strain on these as a matter of course. But you don't have to have a sporting background to be in pain in the pelvic area. Anyone doing hard physical work ( or work-out ) or who has had a fall, or has been involved in a car accident can end up with pelvic girdle pain.

The scenario with men does not involve babies ( yet ! ) but the same principle applies. Men have the same muscles as women and they are subject to the same strains that result in those muscles going into spasm. The symphysis doesn't soften in men and therefore is not likely to separate, but the sacrum can be pulled forward, inducing a strain that can run up the back, possibly affecting the spinal nerves on the way. The treatment I employ for both men and women is essentially the same and works well for SPD; release the tension in the affected muscles, allowing them to lengthen to their normal position and the bones will return to their place, eliminating pain and restoring normal function. All done in a gentle, relaxing way, that makes for a pleasant experience.