So, remember me talking about a pinched nerve in my pubic bone?
I’m tough. I complain about minor aches and pains, but the real stuff- I’ll muscle through it with a tylenol or nothing at all. Grunt. Keep going. So when I say that rolling over from one side to the other at night is excruciating, I’m for real. Getting up to pee in the middle of the night may as well be a part of boot camp torture for me. Going up stairs, or getting out of the car, sometimes walking- any time my legs separate too widely, I immediately hate everything and want to turn green and rip off my clothes and Hulk out.
Turns out, it’s not a nerve (although that’s a good way to describe the pain). It’s symphysis pubis dysfunction. If you don’t want to check out the Wikipedia link I’ve included, it’s basically when the symphysis pubis (your pubic bone is not one whole bone, it’s two that come together with ligaments between the bones) separates unevenly during pregnancy and HURTS LIKE —-. I was tired of my OB group not having anything to say other than “it’s normal” to be in this much pain. For some reason, OB-GYNs seem horrendously uneducated on something that can affect up to 20% of pregnancies. So I went to a chiropractor that specializes in treating pregnancy pain. My general opinion on chiropractors before I met my new one was that about half of them are snake oil salesmen and the other half have gotten a bad name because of the bad ones. I was pretty stoked to meet this one- not only is he a long time chiropractor, but he also has a focus in physical therapy AND specializes in pregnancy pain. Score for me.
So, I went in, not knowing at all what to expect, but knowing I was officially over being in close to constant pain and not taken seriously by doctors. After meeting the staff, the senior chiro of the office went to work just massaging my lower back. For over 30 minutes. He told me that my sacrum was severely turned and causing major swelling in my lower back, to the point where the skin was actually pale and pulled taut. Then the female chiro (I think she’s a resident?) explained that because the sacrum was so turned and swollen, it was pulling the muscles over my sciatic nerve taut and putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. Dur. No wonder my legs, in addition to my butt, back, and lady parts, hurt so dang badly. After reducing the swelling, doc told me to ice the area every day. Then the female chiro came in with an activator to adjust my pubic bone (I was clothed the whole time, btdubs). Apparently my left side had gone wayward- drifting out and down substantially while my right side was in place and trying to hold it all together. I was fitted with a support belt, given a list of modified exercises I can do for lower body at the gym, and sent on my way.
During the massage the doctor commented on the fact that I don’t have a single stretch mark. I told him I was cursed with acne scars but genetically blessed with no stretch marks. He told me that this meant my body heals quickly, I would probably have little to no scar tissue in the instance of an internal trauma, and that it’s healthily elastic, except for the case of the drifting symphysis pubis, of course. Human bodies are so cool, guys. Who knew that something as seemingly cosmetic as stretch marks would tell a doctor so much more? I’d like to think my ancestors were BAs on the battlefield or in hunting parties, surviving animal attacks and going on like it was no big deal, or giving birth in the rice field (I know, I’m not Chinese. They don’t have cheese fields in Switzerland or pretzel fields in Germany) and continuing about their work immediately after an easy delivery. Any way. Genetics are fascinating.
The doc started running through the workout modifications I could do, and then told me to really advocate to my doctors that I shouldn’t deliver on my back. My best friend and I talked about this while I was pregnant with mini Gwinn- it’s not natural at all for a woman to labor and deliver on her back. It goes against every instinct to do so. The chiropractor was telling me that it could do long term damage to the symphysis pubis to deliver while laying down, and I told her that I wasn’t able to really run for several months after my first delivery. She nodded and told me that only about 7% of women who have SPD experience the long term pain like I had. Great. Captain Laser Pants said that it would be a hard sell to convince a delivery doctor otherwise.
Next week I’m taking in lots of information on symphysis pubis dysfunction to my OB. She’s a great doctor, but COME ON- how did this go ignored in my first pregnancy and dismissed this one by so many doctors? If you go through this in a pregnancy and a doctor tells you “it’s normal”, IT ISN’T NORMAL. Advocate for yourself.
In other news, my birthday was this past Sunday, and I want to thank the lovely ladies that made my day so special!! Love you all so much.
Big plans this weekend, interwebs?