My Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD) Experience & Management

Pregnancy is supposed to be filled with aches and pains or at least all the common discomforts that come with growing a little person, right? Well, I am counted among the lucky ones to normally have just a few of these symptoms and remain quite functional, despite a little morning sickness during the first trimester. Now, I will say that these symptoms were exacerbated during this twin pregnancy and right around my 25th week, it was a whole new ballgame of pain. I had a fairly quick onset of severe pubic pain and subsequent sciatica into my groin, especially on the left side. It all happened over the course of just a few days and I have a couple of suspicions as to WHY it began:

  1. I had been wearing high heels for several hours during the weekends (and by high heels, I mean 3-inch wedges, because seriously what end-of-second trimester-woman in her right mind would choose stilletos over wedges?). The reasons being that we had a family wedding one weekend, and then a business trip the next weekend. I’m convinced that these devil shoes were heavily to blame for throwing my already anteriorly tilted pelvis into an even MORE tilted position and completely out of whack. Not a good combo.
  2. Long car rides. The wedding weekend was a 4 hour drive away (both directions, mind you), and the work trip was nearly 5 hours one-direction and that trip was pretty short–just a 2 day turnaround before needing to make the same drive back home. What this means is I’m doing a LOT OF SITTING. And believe it or not, sitting is actually worse than standing. I can’t pinpoint why, but sitting just puts the weight and pressure on all the wrong places down there and letting it have time to “settle” in that position for an extended period of time is no bueno.

Maybe the pain was due to the positioning of the growing babies or my body making natural preparations for the birth in another 3 months (and doing it doubly fast with twins!)…..BUT…the thing is, that approximately 10 days after experiencing this horrid pain, I’m actually now COMPLETELY PAIN FREE (and *update* I’m now 31 weeks–and huge–and STILL pubic pain free, woohoo!!! Wait, another update: 34 weeks now and, while massive, I’m still pain-free in my entire pelvic region!).

Here’s how it originally went down. Just a few days after the pain began (and after outwardly complaining, getting snappier with my children, experiencing a sense of disability and inability to accomplish everyday tasks, which = lots of screen time for my toddler…) I began to think: “Okay, I have GOT to beat this somehow or at least do everything in my power to manage the pain, pray for relief, and FIND. A. WAY. I began to google techniques and therapies and looked into my insurance policy for getting a chiropractor, etc. I was even given a Physical Therapy referral from my OB. But honestly, I really didn’t want to add another appointment into my already-busy-schedule, especially something I would potentially need to arrange a babysitter for my almost 3 yr old. So instead, I did what I could on my own over the next few days, and here’s what I believe has made the biggest contribution to my pain relief:

  1. I ditched the heels/wedges/unsupportive shoes. At church on weekends it’s now flats flats flats. Sandals and flip-flops, baby. I am happy to say that I have been on the “flat shoes” regimen going on 3 weeks now without any pain recurrence of pain or cute-heels-withdrawals whatsoever 👍😊.
  2. THIS EXERCISE. I came across this home exercise video in my online research and began implementing it right away. Twice a day at first and now I’m usually just doing it in the mornings (at night too, if I remember). I believe it does exactly what the therapist says it does: resets the pelvis into the proper upright position.
  3. Another technique I read online, but was also recommended to me in one of my online MoM groups (Moms of Multiples), is this practice of applying opposing resistance with your hands and knees before standing up or getting out of bed. I know this works because, before, when I was experiencing pain, I would sometimes do this and sometimes not. The times when I did do it, I didn’t have any pain upon standing. Whereas if I hadn’t done it, I was still in pain when I stood up. I can’t find the link to the exercise, so here’s how you do:
    • While sitting , keep knees bent at 90 degree angle.
    • First apply pressure to the outsides of your knees (pushing inward) while using your leg strength to push outward against that force.
    • Next, do the opposite: use your hands to apply pressure at the insides of your knees pushing outward. At the same time, use your leg strength to oppose that force, attempting to bring your legs closer together. Make sense?

Here are some other measures of happy pelvis habits that I have undertaken for pain relief, healing, & prevention, and highly recommend giving them a try if you are experiencing this pain! Worth a shot, right??

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  1. Take your smoothie or cold water bottle (don’t use an insulated one) and ice your sore lady parts on the go! This gave some added relief when I had to run errands or sit in the car line to pick up my daughter from school. **SIDE RANT** I’m dealing with “the car line” for the first time and it is PAINFUL! Okay, not literally painful like the crotch issue at hand, but I didn’t realize that I would wait in line for 25 minutes after school before my kid could climb into my car. Anyone else have the privilege of experiencing this?! I guess it makes sense with how many car riders her school has, but still….not my favorite.                                                                                           20170922_1517002101890432.jpg
  2. Sit on a cushion. I’ve been using this handy little pillow to make any seat instantly more comfortable for the entire region down below. I use it daily in the car and have also taken it on flights. It makes a difference for sure, especially with consistent use.
  3. In the height of pubic pain, I tried following some advice I found online by keeping my legs together and moving them simultaneously when getting off the couch, bed, or especially in and out of the car where usually you would swing one leg in first and then the other. So for the car, sit your booty down first and then swing both legs in/out together; the idea is to keep your knees from widening too much, which seems to worsen the pain for some, depending on the looseness of the pelvic bones/cartilage.
  4. This pelvic support girdle. I ordered online and began wearing this sexy thang a week or 2 after I had already begun to experience relief from the pelvic pain by doing the exercises and practices mentioned above. It has made a huge difference with countering the pressure from vulvar varicosities and just holds things in nice and tight. It’s something I wouldn’t have benefited much from during my 2 previous pregnancies, but this 3rd time around and especially with twins, it has been a life saver…er, crotch saver? You get the point.

Who knows–maybe all of this pain was just a stage in my pregnancy that would have resolved on its own…but I doubt it! These efforts (and especially doing the “pelvis reset” exercise) made a dramatic difference after a mere several days…less than a week until I was experiencing complete relief! I would encourage anyone experiencing Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction to try these methods and I wish healing and comfort upon you…poor, poor soul. It is by far the WORST pain I’ve experienced with pregnancy (almost worse than labor and delivery…and I’ve had 2 natural deliveries with no meds). I’d also love to hear any additional tricks/tips to overcome SPD if someone has anything to share…heaven knows we need all the help we can get with these kinds of issues!

*Also–just an update that I’m currently 35 weeks with my twin pregnancy and still NO pubic/pelvic pain recurrence–hallelujah! Just a few short weeks until we meet our baby girls <3 *

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