Pregnancy & Post Natal Physiotherapy
Pregnancy and pre natal complaints
During pregnancy, women may experience a number of complaints, many of which can be helped by regular physiotherapy treatment. The most common complaints may include:
low back pain
Low back pain is a very common complaint for women in pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester when the patient's centre of gravity has shifted. Low back pain during pregnancy can be treated with hands on physiotherapy, postural education, providing back supports, home exercises or a Pilates based exercise program.
pelvic floor weakness/urinary incontinence
A common problem related to pregnancy, due to the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which relaxes and weakens the pelvic floor to increase its suppleness for birth. Pelvic floor muscles can become strained and weakened during pregnancy and childbirth, leading to Pelvic floor dysfunction and continence problems. Physiotherapists can provide strengthening exercises and a Pilates based exercise program during pregnancy to strengthen these muscles and to help reduce the muscle weakness which can be caused by childbirth.
sacroiliac joint pain
The Sacroiliac joints (SIJ’s) are located at the very bottom of the back. The pain is often one-sided and may be concentrated in your buttocks (Sturesson et al 1997). During pregnancy, females release extra hormones that allow the connective tissues in the body to relax, allowing the muscles to stretch enough to give birth. This can result in the SIJ ligaments and muscles becoming overly mobile, allowing excessive movement in these joints.
Symptoms may include:
- Present swelling and/or inflammation over joint
- Difficulty lifting leg
- Pain pulling legs apart
- Unable to transfer weight through pelvis and legs
- Pain in hips and/or restriction of hip movement
- Transferred nerve pain down leg
- Malalignment of pelvic and/or back joints
- Difficulty sitting and standing
- Awareness of an audible ‘clicking’ sound coming from the pelvis
Physiotherapists can provide strengthening exercises during pregnancy to improve stability as well as hands on therapy to realign the pelvis and reduce pain.
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs from the lower back to the back of the legs and feet. Pressure on the sciatic nerve during pregnancy can lead to backache or other areas. Sometimes persistent or chronic pressure to the sciatic nerve can result in weakness in the leg or surrounding areas, numbness or even tingling.
Physiotherapy utilises manual treatment as well as stretching exercises to relieve symptoms and reduce disability.
carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by an increase in fluid causing swelling around the channel of nerves (the carpal tunnel) in your wrist. This swelling can lead to symptoms such as:
- Lack of coordination in fingers and hands
Physiotherapists can provide treatment such as mobilisation, soft tissue techniques, stretching and strengthening exercises, to relieve symptoms. Specific braces can be utilised at nights and during certain activities to help control inflammation around the wrist and minimise symptoms.
post natal complications
low back pain
After giving birth, many women experience low back pain. Physiotherapy treatments such as mobilisation, soft tissue techniques, stretching, strengthening, hydrotherapy-adelaide and Pilates based exercise programs can be used to reduce symptoms.
sacroiliac joint pain
The Sacroiliac joints (SIJ’s) are located at the very bottom of the back. The pain is often one-sided and may be concentrated in your buttocks (Sturesson et al 1997). After pregnancy, women may still have hyper mobile joints which can be painful. Physiotherapy can help by providing patients with hands on treatment, strengthening exercises, hydrotherapy-adelaide and a Pilates based exercise program, to help relieve symptoms and regain muscle tone.
pelvic floor weakness
Post pregnancy, many women will find a reduction in their pelvic floor muscle control. This area can be re-strengthened with the help of a physiotherapist, who can provide specific pelvic floor exercises and a Pilates based exercise program.
diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
During pregnancy, women may experience Diastasis Recti due to excessive stretching of the abdominal muscles. This condition is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies. Although the condition presents during the pregnancy, no treatment is necessary until after the birth. Physiotherapy treatment for this condition may include strengthening exercises, or a Pilates based exercise program to work and repair the damaged abdominal muscles and re strengthen their core muscles.
Our Aberfoyle Park practice offers Women's Health Physiotherapy. This service includes pre and post Natal Pilates with a qualified Women's Health Physiotherapist.