by Aimee Keller, PT, DPT
There are many aches and pains that can be associated with pregnancy, both before and after the baby arrives. Meeting with a physical therapist is a great way to manage your symptoms throughout each trimester of pregnancy as well as the weeks, months, and even years after giving birth!
A common complaint during pregnancy is low back pain, which can be due to ligamentous laxity, changes in the body’s center of gravity, and weight gain, all of which change posture and stress to the low back. These changes can result in improper alignment of the pelvic and low back joints and low back and leg muscle tightness, all of which can contribute to discomfort. A physical therapist can help identify factors contributing to your discomfort and prescribe a home exercise program to help manage symptoms in a way that is safe for you and the baby. A physical therapist will also likely use manual therapy techniques to help reduce muscle tightness and promote proper joint alignment to assist in further pain reduction. These techniques will improve your ability to continue to function like yourself throughout your pregnancy.
After birth, low back pain may continue to be an issue due to persistent abdominal muscle weakness, abdominal incisions if having had a Cesarean section, and postural changes due to lifting and holding the new baby. Physical therapy will identify what is contributing to your symptoms and prescribe exercises and utilize manual techniques to help get you back to feeling your best. Also, getting back to exercise in general can help boost your mood by releasing natural endorphins as well as assisting in getting you back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Other common post-natal symptoms include persistent pelvic pain and urinary and/or bowel incontinence (uncontrolled leaking of urine and/or stool). Many women wrongly assume that they will just have to live with these symptoms the rest of their lives – but these symptoms can be solved by a physical therapist! A therapist specialized in pelvic physical therapy will perform an evaluation to determine the cause of the pelvic pain or incontinence and will utilize different exercises, breathing techniques, and manual therapy techniques to assist in reducing symptoms and getting you back to functioning like your normal self.
Unfortunately, aches and pains come along with the beauty of pregnancy and bringing new life into this world, but thankfully there are options to help manage your symptoms. Contact us at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy to get started with a physical therapy program that will get you back to feeling and functioning like yourself!