Lightning Crotch. Ouch! Our pubic symphysis is the point where the two halves of our pelvis meet in front – the bone at the top and front of the groin. For those that have had pubic symphysis dysfunction (PSD) or “lightning crotch” you well know that this can go from slightly irritating pain to WHAT IS GOING ON HERE! B(#%P! pretty quickly.

Commonly associated with pregnancy, we well know that individuals suffering with PSD can get to a point of despair and resignation that this pain will become a new normal; often because that is what we are being told about pain during pregnancy! “This is just part of becoming a woman” is a term I have heard yet again this past week from a client. I urge us to think of pain in pregnancy (any pain, but in this instance PSD), as something that although is common is not normal.

We wouldn’t tell someone who has just started running that has developed knee pain that “this is just part of becoming a runner – it will go away when you stop

 

There is research now that shows that pain in pregnancy can often be addressed with physiotherapy (1,2) – from PSD to back pain, and that staying active during pregnancy (3) has many benefits (which is hard to do when you are painful!). When there is pain, there is usually something we can do about it!

 

Case Study

An active mother of 28 comes into the clinic complaining of groin pain – it’s sharp, shooting, sometimes take your breath away pain that is getting progressively worse as her pregnancy continues on. She is only 26 weeks gestation and has been struggling with pain since about 16 weeks and finally decided to come to an appointment after talking with a friend about it. She is having difficulty rolling in bed (she tries squeezing her knees together because that is what she read on a few blogs on google) which has helped a little but not much, standing on one leg, and she sometimes notices popping and clicking with movement that really hurts as well. She tried kicking an empty laundry basket out to the side the other day and found that extremely painful as well.

Although there are many reasons for PSD, we will go through some of the things that may be found during a physiotherapy assessment of this type of pain

Assessment

Upon evaluation the client was clearly limping while they were walking, more on the right than the left leg, they had pain with standing on the right leg more than the left leg, and had difficulty bringing their knee toward their chest on both sides in standing. Generally speaking these individuals will have some restriction of movement on one side (same side as pain or the opposite – everyone is different!), significant muscle tightness of the inner thigh, and poor coordination of the gluteals. We also often see a change in posture – the individual may be hinging backwards (rib cage back over the pelvis), but there is a huge variation in the changes seen here depending on the underlying cause.

What can I do NOW?

In many instances our protective mechanisms related to pain may end up being one of the additional driving factors of our pain – your groin hurts, and when you hurt you tend to ‘protect’ the area (curling in) and the muscles around the area will tighten. Increased tension often doesn’t help serve us to feel better or less painful, but may drive a continued pain cycle! Squeezing the knees together to roll like in this instance, may help initially, but overall results in increased tension and often stops being helpful over a short period of time. Relaxing the muscles – particularly the inner thigh – and activating the gluts can go a long way to improving PSD pain. As always, an individual assessment is best, but when you are rolling over, try pushing yourself over with a bent knee (leg straight to the side you want to roll to), and spending some time in a ‘butterfly’ position.

At Warman Physio we have experienced physiotherapists that will use a variety of hands-on treatment while you are in-clinic, as well as home programming and exercises so that you can continue to help yourself to feel better between appointments!

PSD can be a draining, exhausting, and very painful experience for some people, and merely annoying, irritating, and minorly problematic for others. Let us help you, help yourself!

 

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. She officially added to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. Haylie has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic since opening in 2014. She now adds to this education and treatment provision her knowledge and experience in pediatric pelvic health providing workshops and presentations in addition to assessment and treatment. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, the ABEX Young Entrepreneur Award Recipient in 2018, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.

 References:

  1. E Vermani et al (2009). Pelvic Girdle Pain and Low Back Pain in Pregnancy: A Review. World Institute of Pain. Volume 10, Issue 1 (60-71)
  2. E Richards, G van Kessel, R Virgara, & P Harris (2012). Does antenatal physical therapy for pregnant women with low back pain or pelvic pain improve functional outcomes? A systematic review. Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (ahead of print)
  3. MF Mottola et al (2019). 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Volume 52, Issue 21

SIJ pain – sacroiliac joint – that lower than low back pain that is off to the side but not quite your butt… This pain is commonly aggravated by rolling in bed, standing on one leg (getting dressed!), walking, and getting into/out of a vehicle… Check out the case study and information we have on Pelvic Girdle Pain (SIJ version)

Pelvic Girdle Pain

A 35 year old individual began experiencing pain in the low back off to the left side. Their pain was worse with rolling in bed, standing on one leg to get dressed and is now to the point that they need to sit to get dressed, having pain and difficulty with stairs, the pain gets worse the longer they walk, and they always feel it just in the one spot at the back to start and then it radiates around the hip and into the groin as it gets worse.

Although there are many reasons why someone may have pain with rolling, stairs, and walking, let’s go through some of the possible reasons WHY this happens, what we can do about it, and how you can start your road to recovery TODAY! 

What causes pelvic girdle pain?
When we are thinking of pelvic girdle pain we are specifically thinking of the pubic symphysis (right in the front of the pelvis), the SIJ (the joints between the pelvis and sacrum at the back), and the hips.

For this particular case study we are thinking of the SIJ at the back of the pelvis on one side being more problematic than the other. Why does this happen? For some people pain may stem from an area moving more than the other side, and for others it will be from moving less. In some instances we will have pain due to extra muscle tension across the joint (the gluts), or not enough support, stability, and strength by the muscles… why you have pain will boil down to the change in movement, and the change in tension and how your brain interprets that difference.

Often SIJ dysfunction and pain can arise without a particular cause or injury, and sometimes starts after an injury or particular instance of “ow! That hurts!”

If you have pelvic girdle pain, a physical therapy assessment could benefit you!
What you may expect from this appointment is a postural assessment to look at your alignment, flexibility of the lower extremity muscles, mobility of the spine, pelvis, and hips, and evaluation of how you walk and move. You physiotherapist will often do some manual techniques to evaluate joint mobility and muscle tension throughout the hips and pelvis as well.

In many instances by the end of the assessment there is a clear driving factor to the pain that can begin being addressed by home programming. This will put you in charge of feeling better, and not relying solely on having to come to the clinic to improve. Your therapist may provide you with a variety of homework items including stretching/re-education of muscles that are providing too much tension, strengthening of muscles that aren’t providing enough support, and exercises to help you move with more symmetry to restore balance.

A common question we are asked is how long until I’m better?

The recovery period usually varies from client to client, depending on the severity and frequency of signs and symptoms, the duration of symptoms, the activity level the client is needing to maintain, and the ability to be able to practice their home exercise program. Typically, with a straightforward case we tend to see client’s 1x every 1 to 2 weeks for a total of 4 to 6 sessions. These sessions include manual therapy/hands on treatment, as well as progressing exercises for your home program to help you help yourself.

Need to know what can help RIGHT NOW?!

Without an assessment we are unable to determine what will specifically help you with your specific pain (it could be that you don’t have an SIJ problem after all!) Since some SIJ dysfunction may come from muscle imbalance, resting in a “butterfly” position (modified cobblers pose as pictured above), and working on activating the glute muscles (your butt!) may prove helpful. However, if something is painful and doesn’t seem to be improving (quickly!) find ways to move that are pain-free (or less painful), and schedule an appointment to have it checked out so we can target the underlying cause and give you tips!

Do I have to stop working out?

Probably not. Some things may need to be modified or swapped initially, but if you are a regular exerciser and have goals you are wanting to achieve, then it is our job to help you reach them, pain-free!

Don’t delay! Schedule your assessment today to get started your journey to recovery!

 

Haylie has been practicing pelvic health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. She officially added to her practice pediatric pelvic floor therapy in 2017. Haylie has been advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms ultimately brought her to open her family-friendly clinic since opening in 2014. She now adds to this education and treatment provision her knowledge and experience in pediatric pelvic health providing workshops and presentations in addition to assessment and treatment. At Warman Physio clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017, the ABEX Young Entrepreneur Award Recipient in 2018, and has been nominated for the 2019 SABEX and WMBEXA Awards.

March was Endometriosis Awareness month, and we have provided some information related to endo for everyone on our social media (Facebook and Instagram). If you are wondering what endometriosis looks like for someone living with it, you can check out the story we posted earlier in the month. As promised here are some of the things that Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can do for you…

Pain Science

Physiotherapists that work with pelvic pain conditions, such as endometriosis, have additional training specific to the actual science behind pain. Having this knowledge to give to our clients allows us to de-mystify pain, help us understand pain perception, and why the symptoms are occurring. Globally with pain science, one of the most important things to understand are there are no pain signals to the brain. The brain receives information from the body, and depending on what all those signals are saying, will determine if something is painful or not. Have you ever stubbed your toe when you are having a great day? It hurts SO MUCH. But, if you stub your toe while you are in the middle of an argument with someone, it doesn’t hurt the same; that’s pain science!

Everyone has heard a story of someone being in an accident of some kind and being able to get to a hospital (or civilization) before feeling pain.

How does this apply to endo? Endometriosis is the presence of uterine-like tissue outside of the uterus, within the pelvic bowl and abdomen (generally). Endometrial tissue contracts during menses to shed the lining of the uterine wall. If this tissue is outside of the uterus… it still contracts on the tissue it is adhered to.

Which brings us to….

Assist muscle tension

If you have a muscle that is contracting and creating more tension over time, and you aren’t stretching it, eventually it becomes tighter. Have you tried stretching tight muscles? How about making them contract more?

Here is where we talk about what happens in a painful body – when we have abdominal and pelvic pain, we try and protect the area. This protection leads us to adopt a fetal position. Tightness develops in the abdominals, hip flexors, pelvic floor, and diaphragm, which plays into the pain cycle. Pelvic floor physiotherapists will work with each woman to obtain appropriate length, strength, and coordination of the muscles in the abdomen and pelvic bowl.

Tight muscles are often painful muscles.

Provide self-assistance tools

We are here to help you, help yourself. Giving you tools to reduce pain for between episodes, things to try during painful episodes, and ultimately manage your pain.

Some things that could be helpful include: stretching your hip flexors, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, using a wheat bag, and releasing muscles using an acupressure ball (or tennis ball).

 

Endometriosis can’t be cured by physiotherapy, but the symptoms can be managed. Contact us today to see how we can help you, or use the Book Now section to schedule your assessment today, and take control.

*Note: Kendra Usunier is our Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist that is able to take new clients at this time. Only clients that have seen Haylie Lashta previously are to schedule in with her at this time. We appreciate each person and their unique journey to find us, contact us directly should you have any questions.

Haylie has been practicing women’s health and focused in prenatal and post-partum care since graduating from the U of S MPT program in 2011. Advocating for treatment for women, ensuring appropriate and effective care throughout pregnancy and post-partum, and helping all expecting and post-partum moms brought her to open her family-friendly clinic; where clients are encouraged to bring their infants and children to treatment. Warman Physiotherapy & Wellness has been nominated for the 2016 WMBEXA and ABEX Awards, is a WMBEXA award recipient of 2017, and Haylie was recognized as YWCA Women of Distinction for Health & Wellness in 2017.

I am a UK based physio working in Exeter and Totnes. My focus is in helping people to develop a positive relationship with their body allowing them to become injury free, taking control of their own health and enjoying an active life.

When learning new choreography there is often a pressure to get the moves right quickly. This can energise us and enables us to focus our effort but it can also increase stress and tension. By focusing on what we’re trying to achieve it’s easy to forget our bodies, the very thing we need to be tuned in to. In my experience as a physiotherapist, tension is the major risk factor in triggering an injury.

How can I stay relaxed when learning choreography?

As a physiotherapist I work closely with breath. When we are stressed it is easy to lose our natural breathing pattern. This results in breathing into the chest rather than using our full abdomen, increasing tension and reducing performance.

Instead, take opportunities to breathe in softly through the nose feeling the lower abdomen gently expand. Avoid pulling in or tensing the stomach muscles. If you sense tension or discomfort you can take a long, slow and gentle out breath exhaling through the nose. Feel the muscle tension melting away, you can focus relaxation on specific parts of your body.

Dancing is fun and it is important to not be hard on yourself but to treat your body with patience. Often my clients put a lot of pressure on themselves and find that their performance improves when they just relax into their practice. Trust that you’re doing your best and your body will follow. If you have an injury it can be both stressful and frustrating, you may feel unable to train and this stress is likely to slow down recovery. I encourage clients to use imagery in their recovery process, softening breath and imagining yourself doing the choreography. Imagery has been shown to improve sports performance and helps connect the body and mind.

Michael Otto BSc MCSP  Holistic Physio in the UK.

As many of you know I, Haylie Lashta, will be going on maternity leave soon, with my last day scheduling clients being June 2, 2017. I have searched for the perfect person to come in to cover for my maternity leave that can also complete women’s health assessment and treatment, and she has been found!

Kendra Usunier BMR(PT), MClSc, FCAMPT will be joining our team starting on May 23, 2017!

Biography

Kendra graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2008 with a Bachelors of Medical Rehabilitation in Physiotherapy. She went on to complete a Masters of Clinical Science in Manipulative Therapy from Western University in 2015.

Since graduating Kendra has worked in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She returned to Saskatoon in 2012, and is excited to begin working in Warman. Having grown up in a smaller community, she is happy to return to that environment.

Kendra’s primary focus has been orthopaedics and women’s health. She has taken extensive additional training in orthopaedics, becoming a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT) – an internationally recognized qualification in manual and manipulative therapy. For more information on CAMPT therapists please click here.

In addition to orthopaedics, Kendra has a passion for women’s health and pre-and post-natal care. She has also taken additional courses in treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, acupuncture, pain management, and myofascial release.

Kendra has a passion for ongoing education in physiotherapy, striving to provide the most up to date, evidence based treatment for patients. She assists in instructing muskuloskeletal courses at the University of Saskatchewan and within the Canadian Orthopaedic Division Syllabus.

Kendra enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, running, playing soccer and doing yoga in her spare time.

Areas of Practice Interest:

  • Spinal Assessment & Treatment
  • Osteoporosis Management
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Sports Rehabilitation
  • General Orthopedics
  • Prenatal & Post-partum
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Acupuncture

Kendra’s schedule has been provided and is available for appointments. Contact us to book your appointment today! Don’t want to wait? Cole Digel has availability as early as the week of May 15, 2017.