Symphysis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Complications, Treatment, Prevention and Overview

A (fibrocartilaginous joint) is a joint in which the body of one bone meets the body of another.

All but two of the symphyses are found in the spinal column (spinal), and all but one contain fibrocartilage as a constituent tissue.

The ephemeral suture between the two halves of the mandible is called symphysis menti (from the Latin mentum, meaning “chin”) and is the only symphysis devoid of fibrocartilage. All the other symphyses are permanent. Among all the most common is the pubic symphysis.

It is also known as pelvic waist pain (PGP). The condition is not harmful to your baby, but it could be extremely painful for you.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a group of symptoms that cause discomfort in the pelvic region. It usually occurs during pregnancy, when the pelvic joints become stiff or move unevenly. It can occur both in the front and back of the pelvis.

SPD In some women, the pain can be so severe that it affects mobility.

Symptoms of symphysis

The symptoms of SPD can vary for different women, both in terms of severity and presentation. The most commonly experienced symptoms are:

  • Pain in the front center of your pubic bone.
  • Pain in the lower back on one or both sides.
  • Pain between the anus and the vagina (perineum).

Sometimes the pain travels to the thighs and you may also hear or feel a clicking sound in the pelvis.
The pain is often more obvious when you are:

  • Walking.
  • Using stairs
  • Placing your weight on one leg.
  • Turning in a bed.

It could also be a challenge to widen the legs. This can make daily tasks difficult, such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, or getting in and out of the car.

Causes of the symphysis

The most common cause of SPD is pregnancy. It is believed that SPD affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women to a certain extent.

During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin are released to loosen the ligaments and muscles of your:

  • Hips
  • Stomach.
  • Pelvic floor
  • Pelvis.

This loosening is intended to increase your range of motion to help you give birth to your baby, but it also means that your joints may become unbalanced and move more than normal. This can cause discomfort or pain.

Although this loosening is meant to help with labor, it can sometimes start producing these hormones early in pregnancy. You may experience the symptoms of SPD long before your baby is born.

It is also believed that the weight and position of the baby affect pelvic pain. The symptoms of SPD tend to worsen as the pregnancy progresses. It is much less common for SPD to occur outside of pregnancy, but it does happen.

Other causes of SPD vary from pelvic injuries to conditions such as osteoarthritis . In some cases, there is no known cause.


Diagnosing early SPD can be very useful in managing the condition. If you are pregnant and experience pelvic pain, talk to your doctor or midwife.

They can refer you to a physiotherapist who can evaluate the stability and strength of your pelvic joints and muscles. They can also help you plan what activities you can do.

Complications of the symphysis

SPD is not medically harmful to your baby, and most women with this condition can still have a vaginal delivery .

However, chronic pain can cause sadness or even depression, which is sometimes thought to negatively affect your baby.

Although the symptoms of SPD do not tend to disappear completely until after you have given birth to your baby, there are many things you can do to minimize the pain. That’s why it’s important to seek help.

The pelvic, obstetric and gynecological physiotherapy group based in the UK suggests that you try to avoid these activities if you experience SPD:

  • Put your weight on one leg.
  • Twist and bend while getting up.
  • Carry a child on the hip.
  • Crossing the legs.
  • Sitting on the floor.
  • Sitting in a twisted position.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Lifting heavy loads or shopping bags or a small child.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Pushing heavy objects, like a shopping cart.
  • Carrying anything in one hand.

Treatment of the symphysis

Physiotherapy is the main treatment for SPD. The goal of physiotherapy is to minimize pain, improve muscle function and improve stability and position of the pelvic joint.

A physiotherapist can provide manual therapy to ensure that the joints of the pelvis, spine, and hips move normally.

They can also offer exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, back, stomach and hips. They can recommend hydrotherapy, where you do the exercises in the water.

That’s because being in the water can relieve the stress of your joints and allows you to move more easily. The physiotherapist can give you suggestions on comfortable positions for sex, labor and delivery.

In severe cases of SPD, medications to relieve pain, such as paracetamol and codeine, or TENS therapy may be prescribed. You can also be provided with support equipment such as crutches or pelvic support belts.


There is very little you can do to avoid SPD during pregnancy. However, it is more common if you have had a previous pelvic injury, so it is always important to take all possible measures to protect this vital area of ​​your body.


SPD does not directly affect your baby, but it can lead to a more difficult pregnancy due to reduced mobility. Some women may also have difficulty having a vaginal delivery.

The symptoms of SPD should disappear after giving birth. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms still do not improve. They can be the result of another underlying condition.