Pain can arise during pregnancy as a result of hormonal, physical, and postural changes in your body. There are many ways to relieve pain through postural and mechanical correction, bracing, exercise, and manual therapy techniques like massage and joint mobilization. Physical therapy can help relieve conditions such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, sciatica, hip pain, knee and foot pain, pubic symphysis and groin pain, shoulder, arm and wrist pain. Physical therapy focuses on restoring physical function and balance. Therapy empowers you to manage and even avoid many symptoms, helping to make your pregnancy the beautiful experience you hoped for!
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding exercise during and after pregnancy. Despite the abundance of evidence that exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but beneficial to mom and baby, many women are still anxious about whether to exercise. They also have uncertainties about the optimal duration and type of exercise. Pain or complications can further deter women from healthy exercise during pregnancy. After the baby is born, most women get little to no guidance on how to safely return to exercise without risk of injury or other conditions. The most common of these include diastasis recti abdominis, pelvic organ prolapse, and bladder dysfunction. Let us help you learn to exercise safely during your pregnancy, and then guide you in returning to exercise as soon as is appropriate once your baby arrives.
Being a new mom is hard – whether you have one child or 5! In all the excitement of pregnancy and childbirth, women tend to get so involved with baby that we often neglect our own bodies. Common resulting conditions include bladder dysfunction, urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, back pain, wrist pain, diastasis recti abdominis, organ prolapse, painful c-section scars, general de-conditioning, weight gain, and a slew of other debilitating problems. In France, every woman receives 6 weeks of physiotherapy to address and prevent these common conditions, but unfortunately the United States lags behind in this area of maternal healthcare. You worked hard to bring that beautiful baby into the world, and you deserve a chance to fully heal and recover! Come in for a postpartum consultation to ensure you get back to your best physical self after pregnancy!
Diastasis Recti Abdominis
Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is the separation of the abdominal muscles at their central ligament – the linea alba. DRA is common during pregnancy due to the significant stretching required as a woman’s belly expands to contain a growing baby, but it can also affect women who have never been pregnant. For many women, DRA will resolve on its own within 6 weeks of delivery. When DRA persists, it can contribute to problems such as back pain, pelvic pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and incontinence. DRA can be aggravated by improper or rapid return to abdominal strengthening after pregnancy, as well as poor posture and muscle imbalance. Physical therapy intervention for DRA focuses on careful instruction for appropriate performance and progression of abdominal exercise. This helps to reduce separation and restore stability to the abdomen, as well as addressing muscular imbalances and postural habits that contribute to separation.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is the involuntary leakage of urine. UI affects about 30% of women ages 30-40, and up to 50% of women over age 65. Risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, and abdominal and pelvic surgery. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is leakage with activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting, and running, and is often caused by weakness in the pelvic floor musculature (muscles surrounding the vagina and urethra and supporting the bladder). Urge incontinence is leakage associated with strong urges, and usually triggered by things like entering your bathroom or hearing running water. Women with UI often also have increased urinary frequency (using the restroom more than once every 2-3 hours). Leakage can be caused by weakness, tightness, and poor coordination of the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles, as well as poor bladder/bowel habits and postural imbalance. Pelvic Therapy empowers women to regain control of the bladder by correctly identifying, strengthening, and retraining the muscles of the pelvic floor, enabling you to return to the activities you love without fear of leakage!
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is the descent of organs (bladder, rectum, or urethra) into the vaginal canal. Symptoms may include feelings of “falling out” or a lump in the vagina, heaviness in the pelvis, urinary urgency or leakage, inability to fully empty the bladder or rectum, and pain. Severe prolapse involves protrusion of organs and the vaginal wall through the vaginal opening. Pelvic Organ Prolapse is often related to weakness in the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor, thinning of the vaginal tissue, poor bowel and posture habits, or a loss of structural support. Physical therapy focuses on educating patients on harmful and beneficial behavior, addressing muscle or postural imbalances contributing to your symptoms, and increasing the strength and stability of the pelvic floor to provide optimal support.
More common than you might think, 20-40% of women suffer from pain with intercourse (dyspareunia), with 10% suffering more than 6 months with severe pain. Pain can be related to scar tissue or pelvic floor muscle spasm, and often associated with postpartum healing, recurrent infections or irritation of the vaginal tissue, vaginissmus, vulvodynia, or vestibulitis. Irritation of genital tissue can contribute to spasm of the pelvic floor muscles, resulting in pain with penetration. Pelvic therapy focuses on releasing spasm and decreasing sensitivity of the vaginal canal to allow you to enjoy intercourse and sexual activity again without pain or anxiety.
Pelvic Pain Conditions
Pelvic Pain encompasses a broad variety of conditions which cause pain in the pelvis, low back, buttocks, vagina, and genitalia. Pain related to pelvic floor dysfunction can be caused by spasm, trigger points, and poor coordination in the pelvic floor musculature. It may be aggravated by sitting, sexual activity, exercise, pelvic exams, bowel movement, menstrual cycle, or wearing tight clothing. Risk factors for this condition include past sexual abuse, childbirth, infections such as UTI, pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, and endometriosis. Physical Therapy focuses on releasing tension and spasm in the pelvic floor, teaching you to relax and coordinate these muscles to relieve pain. Therapy may include biofeedback, relaxation training, stretching, therapeutic massage, trigger point release, and postural/biomechanical retraining.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the US, with close to 80% of Americans suffering from some degree of injury over their lifetime. Physical therapy has been shown time and again to be highly effective for conditions of back pain, with lower risk, lower cost, and better outcomes than drugs or surgery. Health-conscious people are seeking natural therapies that break their dependence on medications and put control in their own hands – that is what physical therapy offers back pain sufferers. Physical therapy focuses on teaching you how to protect and heal your back, and how to obtain and maintain optimal flexibility and core strength to keep you active for years to come.
Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine and sacrum through the pelvis and down the leg to the foot. Pain is commonly related to pressure on the nerve at the spine or between muscles in the hip and thigh. Physical therapy focuses on identifying the nerve impingement and then releasing this pressure. Therapy then focuses on strengthening the stabilizing musculature and correcting any muscle or joint imbalances that may be contributing to nerve irritation. We equip you to conquer your pain now and in the future.
Hip and Knee Pain
Physical therapy is the first line of treatment for hip and knee injuries, including tendinitis/tendinosis, arthritis, bursitis, femoroacetabular impingement, labral damage, meniscus damage, strained ligaments, patellofemoral pain, IT Band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, and more. Joint and tendon injuries usually stem from a combination of muscular imbalance, repetitive use, and poor body mechanics/movement patterns. Physical therapy focuses on identifying these muscle imbalances and helping you correct them – ultimately helping you gain the strength, endurance and flexibility needed to return to the activities you love!
About 40% of Americans suffer from shoulder pain each year. The majority of these injuries are related to repetitive use of the rotator cuff in the presence of weak or dysfunctional stabilizing musculature over a period of time, eventually wearing down the rotator cuff, bicep tendon, and surrounding structures. Shoulder injuries can also be related to trauma, resulting in a tear or fracture, arthritis, or nerve injury. Physical therapy is your first choice in natural treatment for shoulder injuries, getting to the root of pathological movement patterns to correct weakness, stiffness, and instability in the shoulder. Therapy can not only eliminate your pain, but also help you return to lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling, surfing, volleyball, and the other sports and activities you love!
Neck pain and headaches can be debilitating – preventing you from concentrating on your work or enjoying time with family. Neck pain is often related to muscle strain from poor posture and muscular imbalance, but can also stem from spine, disc, and nerve injury, or from trauma such as whiplash, impact, or a fall. Muscle spasm in the neck often causes tension headaches and can trigger migraines. Physical therapy focuses on releasing tension, teaching you how to restore and maintain balance through flexibility, strength and postural changes, and relieving pressure from the muscles and nerves to allow healing.
Falls are the leading cause of hip fractures and head injuries for individuals over the age of 60. Many falls result in hospitalization, nursing home admission, and even death. Balance is maintained by the muscular, nervous, and vestibular systems working together to keep you upright and off the floor! Many adults mistakenly think that poor balance is purely age-related and that it cannot improve – but balance CAN improve through persistent exercise and effort. Physical therapy focuses on identifying which systems are impaired and teaching you to strengthen and hone those specific areas that put you at risk for a fall.
Post Surgical Care
Any surgery can result in painful scar tissue and muscle atrophy. You likely understand the need for physical therapy before and after an orthopedic surgery. This helps ensure you have optimal strength and flexibility prior to going under the knife, and the smoothest recovery possible afterward. What many don’t realize is that physical therapy is also important after pelvic and abdominal surgeries such as cesarean section, hysterectomy, prostectomy, and other urogynecological surgeries. These surgeries can leave patients with painful scar tissue, nerve damage, and core muscle weakness that cause significant bladder/bowel dysfunction and pain. Physical therapy focuses on restoring normal mobility, flexibility and strength to affected tissue, allowing you to recover fully. Ask your surgeon for a referral at your post-op check up to ensure your best possible outcome!