One problem that many pregnant women complain about is pubic pain. Yet doctors and midwives often dismiss this pain as either “inconsequential,” “unfixable,” or “just one of those pregnancy discomforts that have to be endured.”

Occasionally, some uninformed doctors have even erroneously told women that such pubic pain means that they would need an elective cesarean section to avoid permanent damage to that area during birth, or as a result of prior damage to the area.

Yet none of this is true. Pubic pain in pregnancy is certainly not “inconsequential”; it can also be very difficult to deal with. Although many doctors and midwives do not know what causes it or how to fix it, many women are able to get improvement or relief with chiropractic adjustments or osteopathic manipulation. It is not something that you “just have to live with.” And although extra care should be taken during labor and birth in order to prevent trauma, it absolutely does NOT mean that you must have a cesarean delivery.


Although not every provider has a name for this condition, it is most commonly called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (or SPD), especially in Britain. Other names for it include: pubic shear (an osteopathic term), symphyseal separation, pubic symphysis separation, separated symphysis, pelvic girdle relaxation of pregnancy, and pelvic joint syndrome.’

The symptoms of SPD vary from person to person, but almost all women who have it experience substantial pubic pain. Tenderness and pain down low in the front is common, but often this pain feels as if it’s inside. The pubic area is generally very tender to the touch; many moms find it painful when the doctor or midwife pushes down on the pubic bone while measuring the fundal height of the uterus.

Any activity that involves lifting one leg at a time or parting the legs tends to be particularly painful. Lifting the leg to put on clothes, getting out of a car, bending over, sitting down or getting up, walking up stairs, standing on one leg, lifting heavy objects, and walking tend to be difficult at times. Many women report that moving or turning over in bed is especially excruciating.

Many movements become difficult when the pubic symphysis area is affected. Although the greatest pain is associated with movements of lifting one leg or parting the legs, some women experience a “freezing,” where they get up out of bed and find it hard to get their bodies moving right away— the hip bone seems stuck in place and won’t move at first. Or they describe having to wait for it to “pop into place” before being able to walk. The range of hip movement is usually affected, and hip abduction is especially painful. Many women also report sciatica when pubic pain is present. SPD can also be associated with bladder dysfunction, especially when going from lying down (or squatting) to a standing position. Some women also feel a ”clicking” when they walk or shift a certain way, or lots of pressure down low near the pubic area.

Many women with SPD also report very strong round ligament pain (pulling or tearing feelings in the abdomen when rolling over, moving suddenly, sneezing, coughing, getting up, etc.). Some chiropractors feel that round ligament pain can be an early symptom of SPD problems, and indicate the need for adjustments. Other providers consider round ligament pain normal, part of the body adjusting to the growing uterus. If experienced with pubic and/or low back pain, round ligament pain is probably associated with the SPD.

Indeed, although pubic pain often does go away after pregnancy, many women find that it sticks around afterward, usually diminished but still present. If the underlying causes are not treated, long-term pain usually sticks around. Anecdotally, this often seems to be associated with long-term low back pain or reduced flexibility in the hips. Even worse, if the mother is mishandled during the birth, the pubic symphysis can separate even more or be permanently damaged. This is called Diastasis Symphysis Pubis.

Although the best idea may be to resolve chronic SPD pain through realigning the pelvic girdle and soft tissues, most women have some residual pubic and low back discomfort sticking around during pregnancy and the early postpartum weeks because of hormones. Therefore, tips for coping with pubic pain tend to be a focus of many SPD websites.

Many of the suggestions include:

  • Use a pillow between your legs or under your “pregnancy bump” when sleeping
  • Chiropractic adjustments to help with joint mobilization and reduce round ligament tension
  • Try to keep your legs and hips as parallel as possible when moving or turning in bed
  • Some women report a waterbed mattress to be helpful and swimming may help relieve pressure on the joint
  • Deep water aerobics or deep water running may be helpful as well.
  • Keep your legs close together and move symmetrically
  • When standing, stand symmetrically, with your weight evenly distributed through both legs
  • Sit down to get dressed, especially when putting on underwear or pants
  • Avoid “straddle” movements
  • An ice pack may feel soothing and help reduce inflammation in the pubic area

Walk in Excellence, Comfort and Conviction with a Total Spirit of Love
Until Then-
Dr. Erica


Do you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?

posture shift

smiling bowling ballYou do have a heavy weight on your shoulders.  Your head!  The average human head weighs 8-12lbs (4-5kg), that’s about the same weight as a bowling ball!

The thing that stops you noticing the weight of your head is the suspension in your neck. What I mean by this is the curve in your cervical (neck) spine has a natural 43 degree arc, like a banana, that acts like suspension for your head.  As you move around, whether walking or sitting down, the curve in your neck compresses like a spring to take the pressure of your head off your body.

Sometimes, due to bad posture while reading or working at a computer (or texting!!), you can move your head forward of your shoulders.  This common posture is called forward head carriage (FHC).  FHC has 2 main effects: it reduces your 43 degree (suspension) arc in your neck, and it moves the weight of the head forward from your center of gravity.

Loosing your internal banana

As you move your head forward it places increased stress on your neck and shoulders.  For every inch you move your head forward your head effectively weights 10 pounds more!  What does that feel like? Next time you pick up a bowling ball, try this out: hold the ball close to your chest and feel the weight of the ball, then move it away from your body and feel how much harder it is to hold.  That is exactly what the muscles in your neck and shoulders are feeling when you move your head forward.weight of head bowling ball demonstration

poor texting postureThe problem is we don’t do this for a minute or two, we do it all the time.  In fact, what’s your posture like now as you read this on your computer or phone?!  Today we spend a large majority of our time with our heads in FHC.  This is why at Bright Life Family Chiropractic we see so many people who feel all their stress in their neck and shoulders, often coupled with headaches as well.  We have the ability to x-ray in our office; a large majority of the neck x-rays we examine the 43 degree banana curve has straightened or gone in the opposite direction!  This is due to maintaining a posture with FHC, day after day sitting at our desk, reading or playing with Facebook on your phone, for years.

What’s so bad about loosing the curve in your neck?

cervical x-ray normal and lost curveWell, we read earlier that it can cause symptoms like neck pain and headaches, sinus problems, hypo or hyperthyroidism, ear infections, even sometimes tingling into the hands.  In a study that studied 6000 people with chronic headaches, the only common finding they found was a loss or reversal of the normal curve in the neck!  However, research also tells us that it can speed up and cause premature onset of osteoarthritis (wear and tear) of the joints and degeneration of the discs (shock absorbers) of the cervical (neck) spine.  It also tells us that it can decrease your lung breathing capacity by 30% among other effects!   So as you can see it is very important to maintain the proper alignment of the joints in your neck

So what can be done to stop this?

The most important factor is to avoid adopting postures that cause FHC.  Make sure your desk is set up correctly with your screen at the right height; ensure you don’t spend prolonged periods of time with your head slumped forward on your phone; hold your book at a level so you can read it comfortably without  jutting your head forward…  You get the picture!

Secondly, Chiropractic and massage!  Chiropractic will help you realign the joints of your neck and slow down/prevent the wear and tear process (Osteoarthritis).  If you’ve got to the stage of symptoms like neck pain and headaches, then Chiropractic is most definitely the best choice and natural choice to correcting the cause of the problem and start the healing process.  Massage will help take the pressure off the muscles surrounding the spine and help to lengthen the muscles that have shortened as a result of regular FHC.  Specifically prescribed stretches, cervical neck traction and exercises to do at home from your Chiropractor will help you make the necessary changes at home too.

If  you want a fully functioning nervous system and want to stop the wear and tear in your neck, then Chiropractic is the way to go!  We would love to help you live life at 100%.

Until Then-
Walk in Excellence, Comfort and Conviction with a Total Spirit of Love!
–Dr. Erica


I “crack” my own neck,what more can a Chiropractor do?


Lots of people “crack” or “pop” their own necks; sometimes for relief, sometimes for dramatic effect, sometime just because they can, often without trying to.  But what is the difference between “cracking” it yourself and a Chiropractor doing it?

The need to “crack” one’s own neck is potentially a sign of an underlying problem.  Often the need to do it is down to poor posture putting excess stress on the joints in the cervical (neck) spine.  Due to the stresses on the spine, the joints become restricted and uncomfortable.  If an on-going problem, it may get to the stage of a trapped nerve!  When you “crack” your own neck (self adjust) you are mostly ‘cracking’ either the joint above or below the restricted one that needs to move properly.  Chiropractors train over 4-5 years to adjust the right joint in the right way (see picture below).  This relieves the restricted joint and frees up any trapped nerves.

Is there anything wrong with “cracking” my own neck?


The danger of doing it yourself is you’re “cracking” the wrong joints.  When you self adjust it may make the same ‘popping’ noise (air being released from the joint) as a Chiropractic adjustment; it might provide some relief, due to the natural release of a pain-relieving chemical called endorphins.  But it can cause damage.

When a joint is restricted, the joints above and below work harder to compensate for the lack of movement in the stiff joint.  So these joints are moving too much already and when you self adjust you are forcing them to move even further (see picture).  This can, over time, cause stretching of the ligaments that support the spine and lead to instability and future problems.

Self adjusting neck - clicking

So what should I do if I always “crack” my own neck?

From what we’ve learnt so far, you potentially have an underlying problem and are causing damage to the ligaments of your spine.  First  look at your posture to prevent unnecessary stress on your neck and shoulders.  Second, have a full examination with a Chiropractor to assess the movement and function of the individual joints of the spine.  A Chiropractor will then be able to recommend stretches, postural advice, and, if necessary, a course of Chiropractic adjustments to restore the correct movement to the spine.

Until Then-
Walk in Excellence, Comfort and Conviction with a Total Spirit of Love

-Dr. Erica


Are you stressed?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Do you find yourself easily irritated? Snappy?
Do you put others needs ahead of yours?
Do you suffer from anxiety or depression?
Do you have high cholesterol? High blood pressure?
Do you rely on medication to be “healthy” ?

Where does your health rank on your priority list? If life was a car, does your health sit in the front seat or the back seat?
Are you stressed? 

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, you NEED to be at our stress workshop TOMORROW at 6:30pm.

Reserve your spot today by calling our office at 616-710-4106 or emailing us at

Relax. Its Just Stress Flyer-JPEG copy


I hope to see you at our workshop tomorrow! Your health truly depends on it!

Until then-
Walk in Excellence, Comfort and Conviction with a Total Spirit of Love!
–Dr. Erica

Stress- The “Silent” Killer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Do you sometimes feel like you can’t take a nice, full, deep breath?
Do you have trouble “turning off” your mind?
Do you ever feel like your shoulders are attached to your ears?
Do you feel like you are “stuck” in areas of your life?
Do you find yourself easily irritated? Snappy?
Do you put others needs ahead of yours?
If your life was a car, does your health sit in the backseat?

What’s the reason for these feelings? Stress.

stress Stress is a terrible word, and a horrible feeling isn’t it? The thing is stress isn’t all bad. Well, it shouldn’t be. Without stress, we wouldn’t be motivated to protect ourselves or work towards achieving our dreams. A certain level of stress helps us adapt to our environment, pushes us to excel and reach the next level. The stress that is worrisome, provokes fear or feelings of failure and lack of hope is chronic stress, and it can kill you. Now, I’m not trying to provoke fear, but, stress that is worrisome is chronic stress, and chronic stress negatively affects the body in multiple ways.

The Stress Response
So, what is “good” stress also called eu-stress. Stress is a response, a response to a “threat” triggering a fight or fleeing action. Whether it is a physical threat, an intense sporting event/game, or riding a roller coaster, our body goes into “metabolic overdrive.” Adrenaline and cortisol flood the body. Blood pressure, breathing and heart rate increases. Glucose is released into the bloodstream for energy. Digestion, growth, reproduction, and immune system functions are suppressed or put on hold. Blood flow to the skin is decreased and pain tolerance is increased.

During a crisis, your actions would end up reversing many of these processes. You would fight or flee to resolve the problem, then, your body would work to come to a more resting state and restore your metabolic and hormonal balances. This is “good” stress.

However, with how our lives are today, we often aren’t able to enact a full stress response and resolution. Instead, we operate as if we are in a constant low-grade state of emergency with no end (rest) in sight. Many of us don’t physically dispel stress hormones or take the time to resolve the problem at its root, we just keep trucking. We don’t soothe ourselves or question priorities. Instead, we just keep pushing through and burying the problem, because we often have the attitude of “I’ll do it later.”

stressed personWhen we operate daily in a constant low-grade state of emergency, that is bad stress. Bad stress leads to chronic stress, and chronic stress is deadly.

How do you manage stress?
What good stress do you have in your life?

Until Then-
Walk in excellence, conviction and comfort with a total spirit of love!

Dr. Erica