WHAT IS SPD (SYMPHYSIS PUBIS DYSFUNCTION) and how do we best take care of our Pregnancy yOGA students with this painful condition?
It's important as pregnancy yoga teachers that we have an understanding of this condition and how to teach safely so as not to aggravate and cause undue pain to our students. Below you will find my video that I made in response to a student concerned about teaching her students with SPD, followed by some generalised advise for you as a yoga teacher. I hope you find it helpful :)
WHAT IS PGP/SPD?
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition of pregnancy affecting the joint at the front of the pubic bone. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin increases, causing the joints, muscles and ligaments to soften in preparation for birth. This can sometimes cause the symphysis pubis to move out of place, affecting the rest of the muscles and ligaments around the pelvis, causing pain in the pelvic region. Up to 25% of pregnant women may experience PGP/SPD, and it is becoming more common. The increase in PGP/SPD is thought to be associated with lifestyle factors – for example more sitting for long periods at desks or in the car, increased maternal age – or it is simply being diagnosed by GPs more frequently.
WHAT DOES PGP/SPD FEEL LIKE?
PGP/SPD causes pain in the pelvic region, mainly in front of the pubic bone. You may hear clicking or popping in the lower back, hip joints or sacroiliac joint when walking. Pain can also be felt in the hips, lower back, groin, lower abdomen or the legs. The pain will range from mild discomfort to extreme pain. Sufferers may have difficulty with standing up, bearing weight on the pelvis, climbing stairs, moving the legs apart or moving one leg at a time. The pain may cause a waddle or limp when walking. In most cases PGP/SPD completely disappears at birth. Unfortunately, up to 7% of sufferers continue to experience problems after birth.
Current medical treatments available are: crutches, support devices such as bands or belts, pain relief medication or steroid injections. Physiotherapy can also help by providing sufferers with core stability exercises to practice at home. Yoga is an excellent all round approach for dealing with PGP/SPD, providing yoga postures to strengthen the core stability muscles and keep the body gently active, in addition to breathing exercises and relaxation to maintain a sense of balance in the body.
EVERYDAY TIPS FOR LADIES COPING WITH PGP/SPD
All pranayama, meditation and relaxation techniques are ideal for ladies suffering with PGP/SPD. In out teaching we should advise our students to avoid any postures that trigger the condition, and help them to focus on their alignment, stability in the core and engaged pelvic floors.
TIPS FOR LABOUR AND BIRTH WITH PGP/SPD
Have you experience of SPD? What helped for you? Or do you still feel nervous teaching this group. Please do post any questions you may have below, it's my pleasure to answer them for you.
Sarah Oakley, YogaGro Founder,https://www.yogagro.com/about-us