The Oliver's Madhouse

When Life Isn't Complicated Enough

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)

on 29/12/2012


This condition has now been in my life for approximately 3 years and it’s the one thing that reduces me to tears on a daily basis. I developed this condition in my second trimester of pregnancy with Joshua and throughout I was told this condition will rectify itself after birth.

My son is now nearly 21 months old and this condition is still with me and is more painful than ever with no signs of reprieve.

SPD is not only a pregnancy related condition it can be developed in men and women that have previously had a fall or damage to the pelvic area.  Although the majority of cases are brought on by pregnancy hormones, which work to loosen the ligament that holds the pubic bones together (Pubic Symphysis) in order to allow babys head to pass through the pelvis when giving birth.

In my case I had trauma to the pelvis a few years back along with extra weight before my pregnancy. That added to excessive weight gain throughout my pregnancy and the hormone changes in pregnancy .. bingo.. unstable pelvis at the sacroiliac joints and the Pubic Symphysis joint.

I was signed off work by my 7th month of pregnancy due to the condition as I worked at a desk all day and found it unbearable to sit for any length of time; I was having physio weekly and was advised that unless I gave up work and started to rest more I would damage my pelvis permanently.

I wore the pregnancy support belt I was given day and night along with 4 layers of bandaging I wore all the time to try and correct the instability in my pelvis. Nothing worked; I barely slept and was in constant pain.

After my son’s birth by elective section I was looking forward to the pain subsiding and for things to get back to normal but with each passing month my hope disappeared. I was informed by the physio at my local hospital that I needed physio 2-3 times per week but they could only fit me in once every 3-4 weeks.

Running out of options I visited a chiropractor and found this and acupuncture helped for the following 2 days after an appointment, but at a cost of £30 per visit and 1-2 visits per week we could only afford this for 6 months so I have now been without physio or a chiropractor for nearly 2 years

Joshua slept through the night from 5 weeks old and even now I do not sleep solidly through the night as I wake up 3-6 times a night with excruciating pain in one or both of my hips and or legs. My hips, pelvis and lower back all crack and crunch and I can feel both sides of my pelvis moving independently.

Last January I finally had my appointment come through after waiting months and months to see a specialist at the hospital.  On seeing the Consultant he sent me for X-rays and confirmed that I had this condition (really, I never would of guessed) and was told to lose some weight and once I am in my 40’s they would consider me for surgery (I am only 33 currently) He also told me that the surgery is not always effective and at only a 50% success rate it may not be worthwhile doing.

I feel like I have a body of a 90 year old and although I am doing everything I can to help myself I am increasingly disheartened and I am beginning to think things will never improve.

I do have incredibly low periods with this condition whereI can’t stand to keep taking all the pain killers but know if I don’t I could have days where I am in such immense pain it hurts to make any movement at all.

I took voluntary redundancy last year from work while on maternity leave as I knew that sitting at my desk will be excruciating and I would not of been able to maintain it in the long term. This does get me down thinking about the pain I will endure if and when I have to return back to work as some days I can’t even manage the most basic of household duties without bursting into tears.

I want to play with my kids; I want to carry out normal life without having to fit in things while I am having a good day.

Don’t get me wrong I know there are people out there that are far worse off than me and I try to think about this when I am getting down, although it doesn’t always work at keeping me positive.

I cannot tell you how debilitating this condition actually is, it affects every aspect of my life and that of my family. Maybe one day I will be old enough for the surgery and my health and quality of life will improve, until then I will continue down the weight loss route and keep taking the pain killers.

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11 responses to “Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)

  1. MsXpat says:

    I can totally empathize. I’m trying to cope with this problem myself, although mine is not as bad as what you have described. I too was told that the pain would go after the birth of my child, and was concerned that this did not happen, especially once I met her and saw how tiny she is! My daughter is now 3 weeks old and while the pain is not as bad i still experience some discomfort. I’m now being told that it will take up to six weeks to get better, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    I do hope you find a solution for your case, I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for you. Its a pain like no other.

    • Jaime Oliver says:

      you have my empathy too! the Dr at first told me that if you breastfeed it can also take longer to rectify due to the hormones you produce when you breastfeed. I only breastfed for about 6 weeks.

      I do hope yours improves quickly and you return to full health soon xx

  2. SPD sounds like a really horrible condition. I was lucky enough not to get it during pregnancy but suffer with a mild condition of it now. This sounds awful though – and well done for getting back on your feet 🙂 xx

    • Jaime Oliver says:

      Thanks Vicky, some days i can barely move without the need for hardcore painkillers but i am still going! back on with the diet in January 🙂

  3. […] Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain) Dec […]

  4. I had SPD with both pregnancies, it did resolve itself, but a good friend of mine is in your situation, and is still in pain 3 years post partum. Am sorry, it was bad enough when I was pregnant, I can’t imagine your pain and discomfort, and the mental toll it takes, so long after birth. I haven’t got much to offer in terms of help, but I live with chronic pain from arthritis, which won’t “go away” either, so I just wanted to send some sympathy from one who is 36 but also feels 90 most days! We hobble on, am sorry you’ve got to struggle with it! 😦

    • Jaime Oliver says:

      I am sorry you have to struggle too! how awful to have your condition so young. Have you found anything that helps relieve the pain (other than pain killers?)

      We could start our own gang!

      • I have psoriatic arthritis, which I’ve had dormant since I was about 12, but was fully triggered by the hormonal changes post pregnancy first time round, according to my doctors. I only take pain killers if I really have to, because they’re fairly hefty (tramadol, diclofenac) and make feel fuzzy, if I’m in a bad flare, I can take muscle relaxants too, which can ease some of the pain (it’s in my hands, feet, shoulders, knees and hips now) but I’ve found that reducing my sugar and gluten intake helps with the inflammation, and I take a lot of supplements recommended by a dietician and nutritionist. I also see an osteopath regularly, which helps with some of the joint pain. I have taken cortisol injections, as well, but they give me awful acne, and are only effective in the short term. My friend is considering surgery, she’s been told she has to be 35+, and not having more children, and they’d like one more, but she’s not sure she can deal with the worsening of the pain from pregnancy.

      • Jaime Oliver says:

        i am taking the same pain killers as you as well as ibuprofen and paracetamol, some days i think i must rattle as i walk! although i try not to take the heavy duty ones till hubby is home and the kids are in bed for the same reason as you (they make me fuzzy)

        I would like another child in the future but i am the same as your friend, i am not sure i could take anymore pain and if the surgery didnt work i dont know how i would cope.

  5. You have my sympathies. I was signed off work from 4 months into my pregnancy due to it and H is now 31 months! However, we have also found out now that I have a number of neurological issues where are genetic (most likely) and the pregnancy just made things a whole lot worse. I certainly won’t be having any more children unless surgery (which I hope to have next year) works!

    • Jaime Oliver says:

      Please do let me know if you do go ahead with the surgery and if it works for you. Some days it petrifies me and others i just want it as i dont see and end in sight. Have you found anything that relieves the pain?

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