Coping with Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (SPD, PDS)

I have found it a little disheartening the lack of information readily available out there for people suffering from pubic symphysis dysfunction. Other names surrounding this “condition” that may be beneficial to know include symphysis pubis dysfunction, symphysis pubis disorder, pelvic instability (of pregnancy), pelvic girdle pain (not technically correct), PSD and SPD… to name a few. The reason why it’s so hard to find information about the condition is because it is known by so many different names. While it can be a normal side effect of pregnancy, it isn’t overly common… Just like hyperemesis gravidarum. Sometimes I feel like I won the pregnancy lottery with all these fun rarities ūüėÄ

All pregnancies tend to have pelvic girdle pain. This is a mild form of SPD and its symptoms include difficulty turning in bed, pain on standing up, pelvic pain while walking/waddling, etc. Fortunately for most pregnant women, although the pain is a huge inconvenience, it should not interfere with daily life. Although uncomfortable, one should still be able to dress themselves, get up and out of a chair without help, and turn over in bed with some extra effort.

When it comes to SPD, the symptoms are much more severe and debilitating. Lifting a leg off from the floor independently is either impossible or cose to it either because of pain on movement or it just being physically impossible. Turning over in bed is sometimes not doable without either extreme pain or the need for assistance. Dressing requires a second person (or a long, long time and a lot of patience!)

I haven’t found much relief for the pain aside from sitting in a recliner with my back fully supported and my pelvis slightly raised so as to have no pressure on it. An over-filled bathtub can also be helpful. I tried going into a pool, but getting into it was a challenge as walking becomes hard under water as you try to wade to a deeper end and if you go straight to the deep end, ladders are quite hard to use since separation of the legs in that maner can be quite excruciating, especially while baring weight.

I have, however, found a few ways to do house work now that the pain has lessened enough to allow me to stand. Sweeping, for example can be done while taking care not to twist the torso, standing with your legs hip-width apart, and squeezing the glutes (your bum muscles) so as to tilt the pelvis slightly forward. Push the broom away from your body… Again, don’t twist. It isn’t perfect, but at least it works. No, don’t you dare lean down to put the sweepings into a dust pan. Bad, bad, bad! Just leave it in a pile or sweep it into an area where you can vacuum it if you cannot get someone else to help pick it up.

Speaking of vacuuming… Avoid it. There isn’t a good way to vacuum because cleaners tend to weigh more than a broom and require a lot more effort which could cause more trauma to your pubic joint. Even though you feel up to it today, be warned because you tend to not feel the effects until the day after you’ve worked too hard.

Change up your position often while awake. Between standing, sitting, and walking. The longer you sit, the harder it will be to walk when you get up. Standing too long can tire your supportive muscles out and can lead to an irresistible urge to shift all your weight onto one leg (Ow!)

Some resources for you to check out if you are suffering from SPD or even pelvic girdle pain during or even after pregnancy, or if you know someone with the condition:

I recently ordered this book from Amazon:

I’ll post impressions and a review once I’m done going through it. The preview of it looks really good (Check out the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon) from my some-what basic knowledge of the condition itself and my nursing knowledge of anatomy. I hope it’s good, because there sure aren’t a lot of books out there dedicated to the subject and aimed at the general public!

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