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Chiropractic Care for Pubic Symphysis Diastasis

Published Date: 
August 7, 2023
Pregnant woman smiling and holding her belly while standing in front of window.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (pubic symphysis diastasis, SPD, or pelvic girdle pain) causes discomfort or pain in the pelvic joints. It can occur in the front or back of the pelvis. It most commonly occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy but might develop earlier. The pain ranges from moderate to severe and makes it difficult to twist, move, and walk. 

Severe, chronic SPD can interfere with your quality of life, including your mobility, your sex life, and your social life. The timing of SPD is often very problematic. If the pain develops during late pregnancy and continues after childbirth, lifting and caring for your new baby can be very painful. 

This isn’t life-threatening but can significantly limit your life and cause emotional misery. It’s essential to seek treatment and do what you can to prevent recurrence.

Understanding Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Pubis dysfunction symphysis is related to the hormones produced when you’re pregnant. 

During pregnancy, your body produces relaxin. It’s there to relax the ligaments between your pelvic bones, allowing for the baby's growth and delivery. Your body begins making relaxin as early as ten weeks into pregnancy. It relaxes the ligaments, enabling the joints to move as they need to move as your body changes in response to the baby's growth. 

Symphysis pubis dysfunction is normal during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you must live with the pain. Your body is doing exactly what it is supposed to do – preparing to support the development of your baby and deliver your baby. But it’s important to remember that your body might benefit from external support for this process, including chiropractic care. 

What Is Pubic Symphysis Diastasis? 

Pregnant woman kneeling on bed holding her lower back and stomach.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction occurs when the release of relaxin works as it should, but you experience pain as the joint between your left and right pelvic bones move more than before pregnancy. Relaxin causes your joints to be more flexible. This is a good thing, but the adjustment can be painful. In most cases, but not all, the pain from pubic symphysis diastasis eases after childbirth.

Signs & Symptoms of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction & Diastasis

  • Discomfort or sudden severe pain in the pelvic area, especially in the front
  • Steady pain spreads from your lower abdomen to your back, groin, perineum, thigh, and leg
  • Pain or difficulty with movements that involve the pelvis, such as walking, standing, or climbing stairs
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Pain or discomfort when changing positions, such as from sitting to standing
  • Swelling or tenderness in the pelvic region
  • A clicking or popping sound when moving the legs or pelvis
  • Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement

Traditional Treatments

In many cases, the pain from pubic symphysis diastasis and dysfunction disappears once the body stops producing relaxin. Some treatments are available if this is not the case or you’re struggling to deal with the pain before your baby is born. Speaking to your doctor before trying most of these treatments is important. Some may not be conducive to pregnancy.

Many of these treatments are safe and effective but might not be the most beneficial option. In many cases, they mask symptoms without actually remedying the problem. In other cases, these treatments alone aren’t enough to alleviate all of the pain.

Treatments include:

  • NSAID pain medications
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Ice packs
  • Sleeping with a pillow between your legs
  • Wearing a pregnancy/pelvic support belt 
Pregnant businesswoman holding her lower back and stomach while sitting in office chair.

How Chiropractors Alleviate Pubic Symphysis Diastasis Pain

Chiropractic care is one of the safest and most effective ways to manage the pain of SPD. Chiropractors examine the pubis symphysis and sacroiliac joints to help alleviate the pain associated with pregnancy. Once they’ve identified the issues causing the pain, they develop a treatment program that might include the following:

  • Ligament release techniques
  • Blocking techniques using a wedge-shaped firm pillow under the pelvis to relieve pressure on the pelvic joints
  • Diaphragmatic release
  • Soft tissue work
  • Exercises 
  • Ultrasound and laser therapy
  • Activator techniques
  • Pubic bone adjustment
  • Analyzing and adjusting the position of the baby

Nearly every woman undergoing chiropractic care for SPD during pregnancy or after giving birth experiences pain relief, especially true when the pain is caused by pelvic misalignment. 

One of the primary benefits of chiropractic care is that it addresses the root cause of the problem. This is true for all conditions, including pubic symphysis diastasis. The earlier you seek treatment for this condition, even if your pain is mild, the less likely it is to develop into a severe condition during or after childbirth.

Even if you are experiencing no pain symptoms, chiropractic care during pregnancy helps you reduce the risk of complications later in the pregnancy and after childbirth.

Although some doctors recommend over-the-counter medications for treating the pain of SPD, chiropractors encourage you to avoid these types of treatments. Even medications that are considered safe can trigger complications during pregnancy. Treating the problem with a natural approach offers both short- and long-term benefits.

Finally, chiropractic care offers whole-health benefits. You might see a chiropractor to help with the symptoms of SPD, but during that time, they can relieve other issues that arise during your pregnancy.


Women have enough to deal with during and after pregnancy. The last thing they need is to experience pain that interferes with their pregnancy or their ability to care for their child after they give birth. Chiropractic care is a safe, natural, and effective way to treat common issues that arise during pregnancy, including pubic symphysis diastasis. 

If you are experiencing SPD or any other issues with pain during pregnancy, schedule a chiropractic consultation to discuss your options.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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