Pubic symphysis is the joint on the front of the pelvis where the two sides of the pelvis meet. At the meeting point of the two sides, you will find cartilage and ligaments to help support this joint. During pregnancy, the influence of hormones causes loosening of the ligaments in this area. This allows for your pelvis to widen and create room for your growing baby in the uterus. This widening is normal, but it can cause discomfort for some. If the loosening of ligaments causes a separation greater than 15 mm, it is considered a subluxation.
Pubic symphysis dysfunctions can also affect others who are not pregnant. It can occur as a result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, or a sports injury.
Pubic symphysis separation can cause pain in the front of the pelvis, groin, or hip. Pain can also radiate to the lower back, abdomen, or your perineum. Your symptoms may present in specific positions or with specific movements. This includes difficulty with walking, standing, standing on one leg, transitioning from sit to stand, or using the stairs.
An individual can also experience a pubic symphysis misalignment due to the excess movement in this region from the loosening of ligaments. Symptoms related to separation and misalignment can be similar.
An x-ray or ultrasound of your pelvis can confirm the presence of a pubic symphysis separation. Many times the pain associated with the separation improves once your baby is born. In the meanwhile you may want to consider conservative interventions to manage your pain and symptoms.
Pelvic pain during pregnancy is commonly the result of changes in hormone levels which change pain sensitivity in the body. A pelvic health physical therapist can provide you conservative treatment options which include posture modification, education on how to move safely, manual therapy, stabilization exercises, pain management options, and education on use of braces or belts.
A physician or medical provider may also recommend use of pain relieving medications to help you manage your pain.