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Pregnancy, Your Pelvis, and Chiropractic

By Krista Elliott

Ah, pregnancy. A magical, glowing time, when you serenely pat your baby bump, enjoying the kicks as your child grows inside of you. And then comes the morning when you try to roll over to get out of bed, and it just ... doesn't ... work. 

What happened? Why does your pelvis feel like loosely connected Tinker Toys? And um ... can somebody come and help you get out of bed? 

Welcome to the wonderful world of symphisis pubis dysfunction! 

Symphis-what? 

Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (or SPD) for short, is when "the ligaments that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned during pregnancy become too relaxed and stretchy too soon before birth." See normally, the pelvis is the Samwise Gamgee of your lower body: Solid, dependable, reliable, and holding everything together. But, during pregnancy, this changes. The hormone relaxin starts working its magic. And relaxin is exactly as advertised. It relaxes your ligaments, ostensibly in preparation for childbirth, when it is a GOOD thing to have a more flexible pelvis. 

However, sometimes the relaxin kicks in a little too early, or your body is a little more sensitive to it than expected, and the ligaments holding together the symphisis pubis joint (which is front and center in the pelvis) gets too relaxed and stretchy. 

The result? A loosey-goosey pelvis that feels like it's wrenching apart. So activities that require pelvic stability, like lifting one leg to get dressed, getting out of a tub, going up the stairs, rolling over in bed, and getting in and out of your car, can all become very painful and difficult. (Seriously, I remember it taking a good 10 minutes to roll over in bed in the morning, gasping in pain the entire time). 

SPD and Chiropractic

Fortunately, chiropractic treatment has shown promise as a way to manage the pelvic pain and instability that comes with SPD. Gentle adjustments performed on the symphisis pubis joint, the sacroiliac joints (at the back of the pelvis), and other lower-body joints are a non-invasive and drug-free way to manage SPD pain. This is particularly important during pregnancy or breast-feeding, when the mother may want to avoid taking any more medication than is absolutely necessary. In one interesting case, a woman who had a bad case of post-partum SPD noted remarkable reduction in her pain levels after just one treatment. 

Pregnancy comes with its joys and its pains. It's a lot like parenthood, actually, except that your child is still in self-cleaning mode. If one of those pains is SPD, and if it's interfering with your everyday life, talk to the professionals at The Joint Chiropractic to see what chiropractic treatment can do to help your loosey-goosey pelvis get its act together. 

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