The Pubic Symphysis: the joint at the front of the pelvis

cartilaginous-joints-1

Hey everyone,

If you’re experiencing SI joint dysfunction, the pubic symphysis is another important joint to be aware of.

The pubic symphysis is actually the third major joint that makes up what is often referred to as the pelvic ring, or pelvic circle.

Everything is connected.

Like the SI joints, the pubic symphysis isn’t intended to move very much. In fact, it’s one of those joints that people aren’t normally aware of unless they’ve had an injury.

However, the bones of the pelvis are all connected. The two SI joints and pubic symphysis are meant to work as a system.

So if you have a problem in one area– for example, if your SI joints aren’t functioning properly– this can put too much wear and tear on the pubic symphysis as it tries to compensate.

Like the SI joints, the pubic symphysis is vulnerable to abnormal forces that can weaken the ligaments that are intended to hold it in place. When the surfaces of each of the two pubis bones in the front are not lined up in the way they’re intended to be, this can cause pain and inflammation.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is also a common cause of pubic symphysis dysfunction.

This is due to the nature of the hormonal changes during pregnancy, and how the pelvis expands in preparation for childbirth.

Many women find they begin experiencing pubic symphysis pain and misalignment during or following pregnancy (similar to SI joint dysfunction).

However, there is definitely reason to hope, as things can get a lot better with treatment!

How I stabilized my pubic symphysis

Personally, I’d been experiencing SI joint dysfunction for a little over a year before my chiropractor first mentioned that my pubic symphysis was slightly out of alignment. He was the first person to explain to me how SI joint and pubic symphysis dysfunction can be related.

I’m going to be honest, the thing about having someone else adjust your pubic symphysis is that it is, well, awkward. If you don’t know what I mean, look again at the diagram and consider where adjusting that point would require someone to put his or her hands. But Dr. K. and I got through it and both pretended it wasn’t awkward, and everything was fine.

Physical therapy and healing

Eventually, as my SI joints and pelvis stabilized, my pubic symphysis also stopped going out of alignment. I stopped having to think about it, or readjust it— once my SI joints had stabilized, everything else calmed down.

Treatment

Treatment for pubic symphysis dysfunction, conceptually, is fairly similar to treatment for the SI joint. Basically, you need to stabilize the area by increasing strength in the muscles that support the pelvis.

In the short term, it’s important to correct the alignment of the joint (in my perspective, the best way is, of course, by using the Muscle Energy Technique!).

But ultimately, it’s building muscle strength as well as changing your movement patterns and habits that are going to make sure it stays in place.

And if SI joint dysfunction is the driving force behind your pubic symphysis dysfunction, the most important long-term factor will be to stabilize the SI joints as well.

***

Important Note:

I tend to refer to this joint as the pubic symphysis, as that’s the first name I learned of it by. However, many people use the term “symphysis pubis” as well– it means the exact same thing. Keep that in mind if you’re researching things– both terms will lead you to useful resources!

***

Takeaway:

If you’re dealing with SI joint and/or pubic symphysis dysfunction, things can definitely get better! It’s just a matter of putting together the right treatment plan, and giving your body what it needs in order to become stable.

For more info:

To learn more about the pubic symphysis, check out these links:

Stay tuned for more!

Photo Credit:

Illustration at top of page (modified) from OpenStax College via Wikipedia

Published by Christy Collins

Hi, I'm Christy! I'm a health coach who helps people overcome SI joint dysfunction and chronic pain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s