Pregnancy is a time of great change for you and your body. As your baby grows you begin carrying extra weight, your abdominal muscles become stretched and weakened, and your center of gravity shifts forward.
These changes as well as changes in hormone levels contribute to the conditions listed below. These are conditions that can occur during pregnancy, persist after pregnancy, and/or occur after pregnancy.
Upper back and shoulder ache
Lower back and pelvic pain
Hip, knee and ankle pain
Weakening/ separation of stomach muscles
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Leakage of urine
After a thorough examination by your medical provider to determine the cause your symptoms, a referral to a physical therapist can help address the musculoskeletal causes of your discomfort. If you are experiencing symptoms prior to pregnancy, a physical therapist can assist you in beginning an exercise program now to limit aggravation of symptoms during pregnancy. If you are experiencing symptoms during pregnancy, a referral to a physical therapist can help alleviate or reduce symptoms to improve comfort throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. Finally, if you are experiencing symptoms after pregnancy, physical therapy will help correct the issue and help you return to caring for your newborn with less pain.
If it is back pain specifically that you are dealing with, a physical therapist can be of great help. As experts in mobility and motion, physical therapists know the musculoskeletal system ― the muscles, joints and the surrounding soft tissues of the body. We will begin by examining your back and pelvic joints. A treatment program, designed to address your individual needs, may include joint and soft tissue mobilization, exercise, bracing (if needed), and body mechanics techniques. Other conditions that may warrant physical therapist care are pelvic joint pain (sacraliliac or pubic pain), upper back and neck pain; headaches; musculoskeletal issues related to prolonged bed rest (if your physician recommends bed rest); diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles), and coccydynia (tailbone pain). Physical therapists strive to empower patients and to partner in their care.
As part of your care, a referral to an occupational therapist can help you learn proper posture and body mechanics to reduce symptom aggravation and prevent future injuries when caring for your newborn. The goal of treatment is to prevent these conditions, minimize the current episode of discomfort, and reduce the risk of future occurrences to allow normal function during activities of daily living, work and play.