Aches and Pains During Pregnancy: How Physical Therapy Can Help
Pregnancy (and the first few months of life for a woman and her child after birth) have enough challenges and curve balls… pain does not need to be one of them!
The body changes so much during and after pregnancy that it can be hard to understand your symptoms, let alone how to address them. With this being said, we have compiled a list of some common symptoms and the solutions physical therapy offers! Use this list to assess symptoms and needs of yourself or a friend to not just survive through this period but thrive!
- Lower back pain occurs in over 50% of all women during pregnancy. This is a very common symptom and occurs in pre-partum due to the baby’s increasing weight and in post-partum often due to the increased demands of lifting and bending as a new mother. Physical therapy can help by targeting improved core muscles, back and hip strength. This improves symptoms in a woman’s 1st and 2nd trimester, as well as 3rd trimester and into the mother’s post-partum period.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome can arise when fluid retention during pregnancy increases pressure and irritation to the median nerve. After giving birth, excessive lifting and poor ergonomics may also contribute to wrist pain. Physical therapy works to improve shoulder strength and forearm flexibility as well as provide ergonomical education to build good habits for a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.
- Plantar fasciitis is pain at the bottom of the heel and into the bottom of foot, and can occur in expecting mothers due to the fluid gain experienced during pregnancy. This is most commonly experienced in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, often in the early mornings. Physical therapy improves mobility of the hamstrings, calves and feet, as well as provide modalities and at-home tools to improve health and wellness.
- SI joint* pain due to changes in hormones and the loosening of ligaments in and surrounding the pelvis. This creates instability and increases demand on hip and SI joints. Physical therapy develops hip and core strength to stabilize joints that are experiencing greater demand on muscular support due to the increasing laxity of ligaments during pregnancy.
- Neck and upper back pain are common in post-partum period and is often caused by poor ergonomics when lifting and breast or bottle feeding. Physical therapy increases strength in the shoulders and legs to improve tolerance to the increased demands of lifting and bending as a new mother. Our physical therapists also provide patients with education on feeding and child-care ergonomics to help avoid pain and stay healthy.
*What is the SI joint? The SI joint, or sacroiliac joint, is the link between the pelvis and lower spine.
If you or a friend are experiencing any of these symptoms and struggling to relieve the aches and pains, our physical therapists are skilled in pre-partum and post-partum therapy and will help you develop the strength, stability and education needed for a healthier life. When the time comes, our therapists can also care for your little one if they have any needs of their own! If you have any questions or would like to schedule, please contact our team at 602-808-8989.