About SPD and PGP
This page is for the SPD sufferer and their partner to better understand the condition and what they can do about it. For many, the suggestions here will greatly help to alleviate some or all of the pain and suffering that occurs during the course of pelvic and back pain in pregnancy, and the SPD symptoms that can linger long after your baby is born. Others will need MORE, MUCH MORE!
SPD is now known as PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain), probably for some bureaucratic reason in Brussels, but it doesn't change the fact that it can be an excruciatingly painful condition regardless of whether you've had children before, and sometimes because you've had children before, and also for a short or long period postpartum.
Mostly there is pain in the groin area, hips, coccyx, thighs, lower back and the surrounding muscles and tendons. It is caused during pregnancy by the release of a protein hormone called Relaxin. Relaxin facilitates the birth process by causing a softening and lengthening of the cervix and the pubic symphysis (the place where the pubic bones come together at the front). Relaxin also inhibits contractions of the uterus and may play a role in timing of delivery. Relaxin works by simultaneously cutting collagen production and increasing collagen breakdown.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, Relaxin levels rise and it is thought this can get a little out of control over the second and third trimester, resulting in an increased softening effect of the ligaments in the pelvis. Ligaments and tendons are soft collagenous tissues. Ligaments connect bone to bone, and tendons connect muscles to bone. Ligaments and tendons play a significant role in musculoskeletal biomechanics during pregnancy, as the skeletal frame has a much greater support role to play. However, during this time, your body is being encouraged to create conditions that will make the baby's passage through the pelvis as easy as possible. As a consequence, too much hormone allows for excessive movement in the pelvic joints. It's not difficult to see there may be some conflict going on here that the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and tendons must factor in.
Whilst in most cases the subsequent pain and discomfort are relatively mild, for some women,
the pain becomes unbearable and even causes limited mobility, to the point where the sufferer has very little quality of life. This constant pain can be a source of deep depression and much regret. Not much of a fun start to a new life.
It is estimated that as many as 20% of women experience SPD or PGP during pregnancy. This will range from mild discomfort at irregular intervals, during which the sufferer has little to do except rest and refrain from aggravating the condition, up to excruciating pain and difficulty walking, to complete immobility, when crutches or a wheelchair are required just to get around. In a number of cases the pain and pelvic instability will continue for many months into post pregnancy, often up to a year, but sometimes even more than that.
This would, of course, be all very depressing, if there wasn't some kind of treatment available that could show a high degree of success in recovery of posture and ease of movement, a reduction in back pain, and a serious reduction in pain coming from the sacrum and the pubis symphysis areas. If that is what you are struggling to find, then you have come to the right place! All you need do is hit the contact or booking link above to get the ball rolling.
SPD and PGP is a bit of a lottery and no one can predict who will, and who won't get it. It's not height, width, depth, age or makeup dependent. However, after the event certain factors become evident:
What can I do to help myself before embarking on a program such as yours?
- Having SPD to some degree in a previous pregnancy
- Early trauma (i.e. a riding accident, car accident, or fall)
- Increased joint flexibility to begin with, such as Hyper-Mobility Syndrome
- Connective tissue proteins like collagen give the body its intrinsic toughness. When they form differently, the results are mainly felt in the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments - which are more flexible and more fragile than is the case for most people. The result is joint laxity with hypermobility and with it comes vulnerability to the effects of injury and hormonal influences
- Maternal obesity has become one of the most commonly occurring risk factors in obstetric practice, including the onset of SPD and PGP
- Overexertion during pregnancy, whether at work or at home
Good question, because by far the majority of cases will be dealt with through the normal channels. Unfortunately (or fortunately), by elimination, this means I only get to see 'impossible' cases. But it is the level of success that we get with these 'impossible' cases, you know, the ones that have been abandoned as hopeless by everybody else, that gives me great courage and hope that this treatment will one day be the normal, preferred, treatment of choice, and not the 'whacky, way out' treatment that most of the medical profession now seem to think.
Here we are having worked out a successful treatment protocol for a problem that affects 1 in 5 pregnant women, that up to now has some doctors even struggling to accept it even exists (I'll bet they are all men!), but what's new? It's interesting, but more men write to me than women. On reflection it's quite logical because they see their partners doubled up in pain and want to do something positive to help. That's the male energy at work. Take ACTION! Don't let the pain of SPD or PGP become a problem for you, talk about this and make the decision to come early on, or as soon as possible. The longer it goes untreated, the harder it is to treat, more correctly, the more often you need to treat.
This site has been created to give you a place to turn to when all else fails. If you live within around a 50 mile radius of Cheddar (near Bristol), Somerset, I invite you to explore the benefits of this therapy and to arrange an SPD treatment training appointment. Bring your husband/partner, so that they may learn first-hand how to do this on you and treat you at home. You may like to ask your midwife prior to seeking help, as there may be a precious, informed few who have heard of Spinal Touch and Orthobionomy. But it is likely that most will not, and some will even try to put you off coming altogether. It is my hope that before long, as word spreads, midwives will send you as first point of reference, rather than recommend a prescription or crutches. But in the meantime, I'm afraid it is down to you to do what's best and right for you. Call me, talk to me, ask me questions, if what I say rings true, makes sense, seems logical, triggers hope somewhere in your belief system, then you're already halfway to the help you need.
If you live a long way away, but can travel, then you need to book a morning, or afternoon, or evening, and come to learn this system for yourself. The benefits are just about instant, but are also long lasting. The journey home is normally far more comfortable than the journey here. That is very usual. You only need to come here once, so distance shouldn't be an issue. You go home armed with all the information you need (including a training manual) to continue this on your own, with confidence and a resounding certainty that you have made the right decision.
What can I do to help myself?
There are lots of things you can try, and most of this will come from your doctor, midwife or physio, to a greater or lesser degree. It seems the advice you receive is mightily dictated by the area you live. Essentially, you should be hearing things like:
Seriously, if you've tried all of this and you still find you are in pain, please consider coming for the SPD treatment training. At the very most it will be one day out of your life, but it will be time well spent. At the very least it will improve your prospects for a pain free pregnancy and a pain free post pregnancy. It will be easier for both you and your partner to enjoy your pregnancy, help you to bond quickly with your baby, and reduce the likelihood of developing pre and post natal depression. The time for change is NOW!
- Get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible
- Accept help from other members of the family rather than try to cope with things yourself
- Get help with housework. Vacuuming is generally the worst because of all the pushing and pulling
- Standing for long periods is often painful and jobs like ironing will aggravate the SPD
- Buy a gym ball and learn to use it. They can cost as little as £3 on Ebay
- Know that SPD is NOT your fault!
- SPD/PGP will NOT harm your baby
- Know your 'gap'. Lie down face up with knees raised. Allow your knees to open and stop just before it becomes painful. Use a tape measure to measure the gap from knee to knee. This number (inches or cms) is the number to give your midwife or doctor
- Avoid pushing into, or through the pain
- Pushing, pulling or lifting can be particularly painful
- Sit down to put on trousers, skirts or pants, and then stand up. Standing to dress can mean exceeding your 'gap'
- SOME pelvic floor exercises are good, others aggravate SPD. Determine which are best for you
- Lower abdominal exercises are always good, but again use testing to see which suit you best
- Reduce stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine as they are known to aggravate pain
- Go one step at a time when walking up and down stairs. You may find it easier to walk sideways on the stairs
- Remember, the effects of what you do may not be felt until several hours later when it will be harder to relate a cause
- Some people find a TENS machine useful
- Avoid movements that cause you to twist and stretch
- Use a pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side to keep your pelvis from twisting through leg movement
- Be careful swimming. Natural buoyancy means you don't always notice how far you are moving
- If possible, have someone help you sit up in bed or when turning, to allow you to keep your legs together
- Use crutches to take the weight off your pelvis when walking becomes too painful
- Pregnancy belts are only any good if your posture is good beforehand. If your posture is poor these can aggravate the condition because they are supporting the pelvis in an abnormal position which transfers pressure to the already strained joints
- If you have leather seats in your car, apply leather polish and swing round with legs together when getting in/out of the car
- Perhaps use something like a plastic bag to swing round on if your car has cloth seats, keep legs together as one unit
- Many pregnant mum's hate taking pills because of the effects on the baby, but paracetamol may help during the worst flare ups. Saving tablets until you really need them, means you don't build up a tolerance for them over time, requiring larger doses to create the same pain killing effect
- Both partners need to be sensitive about sex. Find ways (i.e. on side and from behind) that allow comfortable entry without opening the legs
- Try to find doctors and midwives that take SPD/PGP seriously. They will not, cannot work with you if they don't believe you