SPD during Pregnancy

Understand the causes of Symphysis Pubis Disorder (SPD) during pregnancy, learn practical self-care methods, and explore the specialised treatments available in our clinics to ease this common but discomforting condition.

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07810  770347

female resting with spd pain during pregnancy

What is SPD (Symphysis Pubis Disorder)?

Symphysis pubis disorder (SPD), also known as pelvic girdle pain, is a condition characterised by discomfort and pain in the pubic area, hips, and lower back during pregnancy. It occurs due to excessive movement or instability of the symphysis pubis joint, which links the two halves of the pelvis. The condition can result from hormonal changes, increased pressure on the pelvic joints, or previous trauma. Common symptoms include pain while walking, climbing stairs, or turning in bed. Treatment options include physical therapy, pain management techniques, pelvic support belts, and exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles. 

What are the causes of SPD?

The exact causes of symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) are not fully understood, but several factors have been associated with its development. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, specifically the hormone relaxin, can lead to increased laxity and instability of the symphysis pubis joint. Previous trauma to the pelvic area, such as a fall or injury, can also contribute to SPD. Other risk factors include multiple pregnancies, a history of pelvic girdle pain, and certain biomechanical factors. Although research on the causes of SPD is ongoing, these factors have been identified as potential contributors. 

What are the symptoms of SPD? 

Symphysis pubis disorder (SPD), also known as pelvic girdle pain, is characterised by various symptoms. These can include pain in the pubic area, groin, hips, lower back, and buttocks. The pain may be sharp, stabbing, or aching and may worsen with activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing on one leg. Some people may experience a clicking or grinding sensation in the pubic area. Additionally, SPD may lead to difficulty with movements like spreading the legs or getting in and out of a car. It is important to note that symptoms can vary in intensity and may worsen as the pregnancy progresses. 

If you need further information, advice or reassurance, call the clinic on 07810 770347.

If you want to be seen straight away, book in online or call the number above if you prefer.

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What are the treatment options for SPD? 

Symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) can be managed through various treatment options. Physical therapy is a commonly recommended for SPD as exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve the stability of the pelvic joint.

Pain management strategies involve over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen or prescription medications such as opioids or muscle relaxants prescribed under medical supervision. Support belts or crutches are used to redistribute weight and alleviate pressure on the pelvic joint.

In severe cases, surgery may be considered to stabilise the joint. Consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to ensure an appropriate treatment plan.

A medical study published in 2013 found that exercise and acupuncture, when adapted to the stage of pregnancy, can significantly help reduce pelvic and back pain. Acupuncture was found to be more effective than exercise for reducing pelvic pain in pregnant women.

How can I help myself with SPD?

Home management of symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) involves various strategies including:

  • Resting and avoiding activities that exacerbate pain can provide relief. 
  • Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. 
  • Gentle exercises like pelvic tilts or Kegels aid in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. 
  • Support belts or crutches assist in weight redistribution and reduce pressure on the pelvic joint. 

How can acupuncture, osteopathy, and physiotherapy treatment help SPD?

Symphysis pubis disorder is a common pregnancy-related presentation in our clinic and, so far, has always responded really well to acupuncture, osteopathy and physiotherapy treatment. Over the past 40 years I have always begun treatment with acupuncture at the most tender or tight areas of the sacrum and sacro-illiac joints. Often patients are in too much pain for a more direct hands on approach. Once the pain begins to subside then we would add gentle joint mobilisations.

Irrespective of where the pain is felt in the pelvic ring of bones and ligaments, relief is experienced quickly with this approach and is very well tolerated by our pregnant patients. Treatment can be delivered with the patient in a side-lying position for extra comfort.

Book your session of acupuncture for pregnancy and spd pain in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and Walsall today with our online booking system or call us.


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Frequently Asked Questions


What happens during my initial consultation?

Our priority upon your arrival is to ensure that you feel welcome, comfortable, and well-informed about your appointment. Typically, your initial consultation will last between 45 minutes to an hour. One of our experienced osteopaths will meet you and begin by attentively listening to you. We will inquire about your general health, any current pain you may be experiencing, your medical history, medications you may be taking, and review any medical examination results.
After this initial discussion, we may conduct specific tests to make a diagnosis. You may be asked to perform some gentle movements to allow us to evaluate your posture and mobility.
Using this important information, we will then create a personalized treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs.

What will happen AFTER an initial consultation?

During your second visit to our clinic, we will provide a detailed explanation of our findings from your history and examination. By the end of this session, you will be able to answer several crucial questions, including:

  • What is causing my symptoms?
  • What are the available treatment options?
  • How long is the expected recovery time?
  • How much treatment will be necessary based on your personalized treatment plan?
  • How much will your treatment cost?
  • What can I do to help myself?
  • What changes do I need to make to get better, faster?

We take the time to explain and clarify the causes of your symptoms and what can be done to alleviate them. At this stage, we will have created a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

What can I expect after my first treatment?

The response to treatment varies from person to person, as everyone is unique. The initial treatment is a crucial step in gauging the patient’s reaction to treatment and determining the best course of action to meet their individual needs.

Immediate relief may be experienced by some patients after the first session, while others may require multiple sessions to see significant progress. It’s vital for patients to realize that treatment is not a one-time fix and that it may take a number of sessions to achieve long-term results, particularly for chronic issues or long-standing musculoskeletal imbalances.

Is treatment painful?

The treatments themselves are not painful, but there might be some discomfort after the spinal manipulation as your body adjusts to the treatment and improved posture. This can result in stiffness in certain regions, which is a natural occurrence, and we recommend using an ice pack on the area for 10 minutes after your session and staying hydrated.

What causes the cracking sound during the treatment?

The cracking or popping sound heard during an osteopathic treatment is caused by the release of nitrogen gas from the joints. This is a normal and common occurrence and may not always happen depending on the technique used. The sound itself is neither significant or important to your progress.

What is the cost of the initial consultation?

The initial consultation is priced at £65, which comprises a thorough spinal evaluation including muscle and nerve testing, orthopaedic examination, as well as posture and movement analysis.

What is the cost of the each treatment?

Each treatment is £45 if you pay as you go. However, we do have discount options available depending on what works best for you.

What days and times are you open?

Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm,
Saturday – 8am – 2pm
Sunday – closed

How long will it take for me to feel better?

The length of time it will take to start to feel better varies a good deal between patients. This difference is based on several factors, including the how long you’ve had the problem and how severe it’s become, your lifestyle and demands of work and family as well as your individual capacity to respond to treatment.

Generally, patients with acute conditions (recent onset) may experience significant improvement within a few sessions, while those with chronic conditions (your symptoms have been present for more than 12 weeks) may require more treatment sessions to attain long-lasting outcomes.

The secrets to getting well are to always turn up for your treatment, follow the guidance of your practitioner and get involved in your own recovery. Don’t delegate your health to your practitioner. It is always a partnership!

What happens if I miss an appointment?

We recognize that we all have busy lives beyond the Backcare and Acupuncture Clinics, but please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to keep your appointment, and we will make every effort to reschedule it for you. We will make every effort to accommodate your particular schedule