Pregnancy and new motherhood should be times of joy and promise – not pain. Fortunately, times have changed, you don’t have to live with pain or other problems related to pregnancy or delivery. That’s because physical therapy has changed, too. It is no longer solely for joint problems; it’s also a safe, proven, and widely prescribed treatment for pregnant women and new mothers. It promotes a far healthier, less stressful, more comfortable pregnancy that pays lasting dividends: easier labor, a speedier recovery, and less likelihood of postpartum pain or incontinence.
Most people think pregnancy and back pain go hand in hand… They don’t have to…
Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy — and it’s no wonder, you’re gaining weight. You’re walking in a new way. Your hormones are relaxing the joints and ligaments throughout your body. But you don’t have to grin and bear it. Often, you can treat — or prevent — back pain during pregnancy with some simple self-care strategies and hands-on techniques.
Discomfort can result from the many changes that are taking place. Some of the problems that can occur due to pregnancy are postural changes, lower back pain, pelvic pressure, decreased control of bowel/bladder, sciatica (leg pain and numbness), leg cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome or other musculoskeletal issues. Following delivery, there can be continued issues with sacroiliac (SI) pain, weakened abdominal muscles, pain from an episiotomy or c-section scar, pelvic floor muscle weakness/pain-causing urinary/fecal incontinence or pain during intercourse
How can Physical Therapy help me?
If you are encountering problems during your pregnancy, don’t despair. There are ways to help you through this time. A licensed physical therapist, specifically trained in women’s health, can evaluate and address the physical issues affecting you. Some of the techniques a PT would use in alleviating these discomforts are postural awareness/education, individualized stretching and strengthening programs, soft tissue mobilization/myofascial release (types of massage), breathing exercises, bladder education, and pelvic floor strengthening. A PT can also assist you in implementing an exercise regimen that is safe and easy to take part in no matter what your level of fitness. All of this is performed in concurrence with your OB/GYN’s care.
Prevention is the best management for this discomfort. Preventative measures include:
• Paying attention to your posture
• Lifting and bending appropriately
At Cornerstone Physical Therapy, a physical therapist with advanced training in Women’s Health is educated on exactly what to do for this very special population. We strive to provide the most conservative, comprehensive level of care while respecting one’s individuality and current physical status. Please contact Cornerstone Physical Therapy today to learn more about our Pregnancy-Related Pain Program.