symphysis pubis dysfunction

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Many pregnant women suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), usually happening around the 27th week of pregnancy or third trimester or earlier.

It can result in severe, distressing pain in the groin as well as the pubis.  The pain associated with SPD can make moving, twisting and walking extremely painful and it can also be linked to low back pain.

Although not life-threatening, SPD can be life limiting, it can affect family relationships, social life marriage and sex life, making it important to seek early treatment.

What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction?

Normally, SPD occurs as part of normal changes to the function of the pelvis and lower back during pregnancy.

As the pregnancy develops the way the weight is transferred down through the lower back and pelvis changes.

This together with hormonal changes that are responsible for ligaments becoming more elastic, results in the pubic joint being unable to bear the weight and transfer it through the pelvis whilst walking.

It is worth mentioning that this effect almost never occurs in isolation and is part of a failure of the whole pelvis which consists of three bones and three joints.

Early signs of Symphysis Pubis Disfunction

Women can sometimes notice early signs of SPD before they experience the sudden, sharp pains in the pubic area. These include:

  • Radiating pain in the lower abdomen, thigh or back
  • Popping, grinding or snapping noises from the pubic bone
  • A burning or bruising pain in the area

Who is at risk?

Besides the normal changes to a woman’s body whilst pregnant, other factors increasing the risk of SDP include:

  • Past trauma that might have damaged the pelvic girdle area
  • Past pelvic, sacroiliac, or low back pain
  • More than one pregnancy
  • Having large babies

Normal symptoms of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symptoms of SPD normally vary with the severity, of the condition and every woman may experience them differently.

Normally the pain doesn’t move around and is felt in one place, usually the front of the pelvis.  In some cases it may start in one area and move to other parts.  There is also a likelihood of experiencing multiple symptoms which include:

  • Reduced range of motion in the hip, with moving the leg out to the side (abduction) being particularly painful
  • Low back pain, particularly in the sacroiliac area
  • Groin, hip, and lower abdominal pain
  • Radiating pain into the inner thigh
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Increased pubic pain when carrying out normal activities like walking, lifting or parting the legs
  • Abnormal bladder function such as temporary incontinence.

How can Chiropractic treatment help?

Here at Heale’s Chiropractic Clinics our aim is to address the main cause of the pain or complications rather than merely addressing the symptoms.

Our fully trained and qualified Chiropractors, will start by taking a full, detailed medical history and by performing a full Chiropractic and orthopaedic examination will be able to diagnoses the exact problem.

Regular Chiropractic treatments will release the strain from ligaments that cause nerve pain and make it easier to perform normal activities.

Your Chiropractor will perform very gentle adjustments to the way the sacroiliac(SI) joints function, restoring pelvic function as a whole.  This reduces the load on the area and allows the inflammation to reduce.

Chiropractic treatment may involve all or some of these treatments, which include:

  • Ligament release techniques
  • Blocking techniques by placing wedge shaped blocks under the pelvis to relieve pressure to the pelvic joints
  • Exercises to be performed at home
  • Ultrasound
  • Activator techniques involving non-manipulative techniques for the dysfunctional joints
  • Ice therapy
  • Using a pelvic joint or sacroiliac stability belt.

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or