Osteopaths & Physios

Pregnancy & Post-natal Physiotherapy

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

Relatively few physiotherapists have expertise in treating pelvic pain syndromes and pelvic dysfunction. A small, but growing, number of therapists are receiving specialised training in this area. Thus having two physiotherapists in the same practice with experience in treating these conditions is rare. Not only that but both Sonja Fitzpatrick and Sue Fernihough (Chartered Physiotherapists) have suffered from this painful and debilitating condition during their second pregnancies. They therefore have a special interest in this condition and have the utmost sympathy for patients suffering from this pain.

This condition is most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth. It is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis, S.P.D. is a dysfunction that is associated with pelvic girdle pain and the names are often used interchangeably. It is thought to affect up to one in four pregnant women to varying degrees, with 7% of sufferers continuing to experience serious symptoms postpartum. Although the condition was recognised by Hippocrates, incidences of S.P.D. appear to have increased in recent years; it is unclear whether this is because the average maternal age is increasing, or because the condition is being diagnosed more frequently.

Physiotherapy treatment involves:

  • Identifying aggravating activities and teaching patients to perform activities in different ways using different postures to prevent excessive pelvic movement and therefore minimise the pain
  • Use of a maternity brace is usually necessary depending on the severity of the pain.
  • Pelvic floor and core stability exercises and Pilates
  • If the pain is very severe, using elbow crutches will help take the weight off the pelvis and assist with mobility. Alternatively, for more extreme cases a wheelchair may be considered advisable

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