If you’ve heard of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD, then you unfortunately probably know about the pain that goes with it. This condition is found in many pregnant women. In fact, up to 60% of all women experience this in their first pregnancy. In almost every case of this the woman describes it as excruciatingly painful. It is often described like a stabbing pain in the groin area.
What Is Symphysis Pubis Disfunction
The Symphisis pubis is a small piece of cartilage that connects the two sides of the pelvic bone. During pregnancy a hormone called Relaxin is released. This hormone normally is producded close to delivery time to help relax the pelvic area and assist in normal vaginal delivery. However, in some women, the relaxin is released closer to the 20 week mark. This early release of relaxin causes ligaments to become lax. Including the symphysis pubis. At this point, excruciating pain can occur in the hips, groin, glutes and sometimes above the pubic area. It may feel like your pelvis is cracking or that your hips are dislocated. This isn’t the case, and although it feels like it may happen, it won’t. However, it can be quite painful to walk, take the stairs and rolling over in bed is particularly hard. These movements cause a shift in the lax pelvic joint and make everything unbalanced.
Can Prenatal Massage Help With SPD
Until the baby is born, the symphysis pubis will not tighten back up. The trick is to manage the pain. This can be done by releasing the tightness in the muscles attached to the pelvis. These muscles house the nerve endings that cause the most pain experienced related to SPD. Releasing these muscles with a focused prenatal massage, can reduce the pain.
The sooner you begin receiving treatment, the more beneficial you will find each massage. Often the pain that you are feeling can be reduced by up to 80% in just one visit. Your therapist will work with you to put together a plan to manage your pain. Often, it will be recommended to receive 1 to 2 treatments immediately to combat the initial pain. After that it may extend to every 2-4 weeks. This length of time depends on the pain you are experiencing, your lifestyle, and how your body responds to treatment.
Technique for Prenatal Massage & SPD
An experienced prenatal massage therapist will use a firm to deep tissue massage along the upper thighs, groin, hips, glutes and low back to relax the muscles and relieve the pain. This will also help bring back flexibility and energy to the area. But that is not the only factor. Massage releases endorphins, which are the bodies natural pain killer. After just one treatment, many clients report instant relief and most importantly… the ability to get some sleep. It is very common for women with SPD to struggle with sleep.
Another goal of massage is to increase the circulation and blood flow to the area. Treatments such as cupping and ultrasound can also help with this.
At home, things like mild stretching of the low back, glutes, hips and quads can all help as well. However, be sure to listen to your body and not over stretch or work anything. Movement is good but don’t overdo it. Also, consider a support belt or KT/Roc tape to help relieve pressure off the area.
If you have been experiencing SPD, contact the prenatal massage team at Maternal Massage. We can help determine if massage can help manage your pain.