Giving birth can be a wonderful thing.
Parents bringing new life into the world have so much to look forward to as they get to know their new baby.
However, a very real part of this experience which isn’t always talked about is that giving birth can also result in bodily changes which aren’t always pleasant to deal with.
If you’re a new parent seeking postpartum physical therapy in Washington DC, then know that there is help for you.
Keep reading to learn about how physical therapy can help you as your body recovers from the wear and tear of pregnancy and childbirth.
Common Postpartum Conditions Helped By Physical Therapy
As your body changes after childbirth, you might feel as though it’s going through things you hadn’t anticipated, or been warned about.
Thankfully, with the help of treatments from a Washington physical therapy clinic, it’s possible to reduce the effects of many of these changes.
Let’s look at some common conditions experienced by postpartum individuals, and how physical therapy can help with them.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The muscles of your pelvic floor provide support for the muscles and organs in your pelvic region, which includes the bladder, rectum, and, in childbearing individuals, the uterus.
Your ability to contract and relax the muscles in this area affects your ability to urinate and perform bowel movements.
Pelvic floor dysfunction means you are unable to control these muscles.
This condition can be brought on due to excess pressure placed on these muscles during pregnancy and childbirth.
The good news is pelvic floor dysfunction is treatable, and a physical therapist can help with pelvic floor dysfunction through the use of exercises to help improve muscle strength and control.
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional release of urine from the bladder.
There are different types of urinary incontinence, which include:
- Stress incontinence – typically a small leak of urine due to sneezing, coughing, or laughing
- Urge incontinence – the sudden need to urinate, followed by a loss of muscle control due to involuntary muscle contractions
- Functional incontinence – this occurs because an individual is unable to get to the bathroom in time, due to physical or intellectual disabilities, or inaccessibility of bathrooms
- Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn’t completely empty, resulting in urine remaining in the bladder
- Mixed incontinence, which is a combination of stress and urge incontinence
This condition often accompanies pregnancy because the pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter muscles can become weakened due to pressure during pregnancy and childbirth.
Exercises such as kegels can be used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Other strategies to help manage urinary incontinence may include:
- Scheduling bathroom trips
- Not drinking fluids close to bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
Furthermore, it’s important not to restrict your water intake, as this can lead to dehydration.
Most commonly associated with pregnancy, diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate from each other.
This occurs when the connective tissue which holds the abdominal muscles together stretches beyond what is considered normal.
This can result in symptoms such as:
- Low back pain
- Weakness of stomach muscles
- A bulge in the lower stomach
If you think you may have symptoms which point to diastasis recti, your physical therapist can help to diagnose and provide treatment for this condition.
Tools used in treatment may include:
- Muscle stimulation
- Support garments or braces
- Abdominal exercises
- Posture training
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a very common condition which can have numerous causes, including pregnancy and childbirth.
It can be contained solely to your lower back or radiate down to your legs and feet.
In addition to pain in the lower back, you may also feel cramps, muscle spasms, and stiffness.
Generally, this lower back pain will go away in time, however if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, fever, or loss of bowel control then you should see your primary care physician.
Physical therapy for lower back pain will tend to focus on improving range of motion, reducing stiffness, and increasing strength.
Other postpartum conditions which can be helped through physical therapy include, but aren’t limited to:
- Cervical pain
- Core weakness
- Pelvic organ prolapses
- Pelvic girdle joint pain
- Muscles spasms
When Should You Seek Postpartum Physical Therapy?
There is no question that the act of growing a whole new human being inside you, carrying it around for nine months, and then giving birth can have an adverse effect on your body.
Most people who go through this process can expect to need some time to recover.
However, it doesn’t mean you need to suffer from excessive pain, or need to continue living with embarrassing side effects such as incontinence.
If you experience pelvic, hip, low back, or groin pain following childbirth, then it’s worth a conversation with a physical therapist.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Are you experiencing issues such as excessive pain related to having given birth?
Or maybe you’re due soon and want to be proactive in learning what exercises can be used to help manage or reduce symptoms before they start.
We’re Capitol Physical Therapy and we can help.
Our experienced physical therapists can help guide you through pregnancy and beyond.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC