What is osteitis pubis?
‘Ost’ refers to bone, ‘itis’ refers to inflammation and ‘pubis’ is the bone in the hip that connects the hips together at the front of your body. When we put it together osteitis pubis just means inflammation of the pubis bone. This pain is often felt in the middle of your left and right pubic bone where they meet at the lower part of the pelvis.
Symptoms of osteitis pubis
Pain is often felt around the groin, lower belly area and inner thigh. You can also feel pain when pressure is applied to the area in front of your pubic bone. Pain can often gets worse with certain activities, this may include running, pivoting, side tackles and kicking across your body.
Causes of osteitis pubis
Osteitis pubis generally occurs through repetitive stress or shearing on the pubic bone and symphysis pubis. The symphysis pubis is a small bit of cartilage that holds your pubic bones together at the front of your pelvis. Common causes include:
Pregnancy: When you are pregnant hormones are released into your body to naturally cause your cartilage to soften, this accommodates for child birth. This includes softening the symphysis pubis, causing the gap between the pubis to become larger. This stretching of the symphysis pubis can cause pain and inflammation to the area. It is common for women to develop osteitis pubis while pregnant or after giving birth.
Sporting Injury: Overuse and overexertion during sporting activities can lead to osteitis pubis. Osteitis pubis often occurs in high impact sports or sports that require a large range of motion and flexibility to complete such as gymnastic and aerial dance.
Trauma or accident: An injury to the pelvis region such as car accidents, motorbike crashes or horse riding accidents can lead to fractures to the pelvis. This Trauma to the pelvis can cause inflammation to your symphysis pubis overall leading to osteitis pubis.
Surgery: Any type of surgery that occurs around the pelvis can cause shifting of the pubic bone and therefore leading to inflammation of your symphysis pubis.
How to diagnose osteitis pubis
If you are experiencing pain in your groin and lower belly area and you suspect that you have osteitis pubis it is recommended to go see your doctor to confirm this diagnosis. Your doctor will review your medical history and confirm your symptoms with a physical examination to rule out any other alternative conditions. However, osteitis pubis is very commonly misdiagnosed as there is not yet an effective diagnostic protocol. Doctors however may require an X-Ray, MRI or CT scan for a complete diagnosis. These scans can help the doctor detect if there are any physical changes and misalignments of your pubic bone. These scans however are not able to determine the severity, progression or stage of your osteitis pubis and may not influence much on your osteitis pubis rehabilitation.
How to prevention Osteitis pubis?
Osteitis pubis in most cases cannot be avoided however there are some step athletes and pregnant women can do to avoid injury and inflammation. These include:
- Allowing time to rest and recover after any strenuous activity
- Making sure you stretch and warm up your muscles before any physical activity
- Always wearing the appropriate foot wear
What is the best rehabilitation for osteitis pubis?
- Rest: Osteitis Pubis does not require any surgical treatment, the best results for osteitis pubis rehabilitation just involves rest. This is because we have to give the body time to reduce inflammation and not aggravate the area any more. Osteitis pubis usually occurs when you over exert yourself with a particular activity, therefore it is very important that you refrain from exercises and activities that induce any sort of pain in the area. Keeping your lower legs in line with your shoulders and raised, can be a comfortable way to help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Anti- inflammatory rehabilitation: In acute stages of treatment you may also find that ice and or anti inflammatory medication can help reduce the inflammation of your symphysis pubis. The ice pack can numb the area for a short amount of time to have short term pain relief.
- Visit your Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist: In addition to rest and ani-inflammatory medication for osteitis pubis rehabilitation, a person with osteitis pubis pain may benefit from hands-on treatment. When the inflammation occurs, muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched, compromising structures of the body. To cope with this, surrounding structures will tighten up. The tension in the muscles causes increased pain for an individual additional to the pain from the inflammation of the symphysis pubis. The tightened muscles will also make the pain worse by pulling on the muscles of the pubic bone and increasing their inflammation. A Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist will treat the tight muscles.
A Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist specialises in osteitis pubis rehabilitation. The term “soft tissue” refers to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. The types of injuries an occupational therapist will treat are vast and caused by a variety of factors. Car accidents, injuries on a sports field, and other traumatic injuries, or slow onset degenerative and years of poor posture, high emotional stress, and hormonal changes, all come under the scope of soft tissue occupational therapy treatment. A soft tissue occupational therapist will use a hands-on approach to manage your pubic pain, correct body alignment, and return you to your normal function, overall improving your quality of life.
What is a Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist?
A soft tissue occupational therapist uses a treatment approach called myofascial release or trigger point therapy. Your therapist will palpate or feel areas of the muscle to locate areas of tension. They will then apply a firm sustained pressure to the hyper-irritable spot of the muscle, and remove the tension from the area. This treatment works to add length to tight muscles around your pubic bone and decreases the pain in your groin generated by the muscle spasming.
At Urban Health HQ our highly trained Exercise Physiologist and Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists will use their knowledge and skill to help treat your injuries, conditions or any concerns you may have. You can make an appointment in Ellenbrook or Wanneroo today by calling 0401 876 623.