What Conditions Can A Postpartum Physical Therapist Help With?

What Conditions Can A Postpartum Physical Therapist Help With? | Capitol Physical Therapy | Washington DC Physical Therapists

Have you or someone you know recently given birth?

Giving birth can be a wonderful thing.

With bringing new life into the world, you have so much to look forward to as you get to know your new baby.

There are numerous milestones to be experienced, that may come with feelings of joy.

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.

They may cause some feelings of embarrassment, which may prevent you from seeking help.

The Postpartum phase of pregnancy is the phase after the birth of the baby.

This phase ends after the mother’s body is at the pre-pregnancy state.

This phase usually lasts about 6 to 8 weeks, and there are various postpartum conditions that can occur during this phase.

Physical therapy may be able to help with these postpartum health conditions.

If you’re a new parent experiencing some kind of postpartum issue, then know that there is help for you.

Our team of therapists have unique solutions for women’s health, including postpartum conditions.

Keep reading to learn about how physical therapy for postpartum 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.

These changes and challenges can vary from person to person.

Some of the challenges you may experience as a postpartum individual include:

Aside from the challenges listed above, there are many other issues that may be present in postpartum individuals.

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, and, in childbearing individuals, the uterus.

These muscles are attached to other areas of your body.

They’re attached at the front of your body, near your public bone.

They also are attached to your back near your tailbone and where the base of your pelvis is.

Your ability to contract and relax the muscles in this area affects your ability to urinate and perform bowel movements.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is when you are unable to relax and use these muscles to perform a bowel movement.

One of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction you may experience is urinary incontinence, which will be explained later on in this article further.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can be brought on due to a number of reasons, including menopausal hormone changes, which may benefit from physical therapy.

Pelvic floor dysfunction may also occur due to excess pressure placed on the pelvic muscle 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.

RELATED: Physical Therapy Treatments For Pelvic Floor Dysfunction In Women

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence is the unintentional release of urine from the bladder.

If you’ve urinary incontinence, know that you’re not alone when dealing with this issue.

Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone, and it’s common in pregnant and postpartum women.

In fact, during and after pregnancy, urinary incontinence is experienced by about 4 out of 10 women.

Even though this is common, you may be dealing with feelings of embarrassment.

Others are as well, so you’re not alone here either with your feelings.

You may want to determine what type of urinary incontinence you have.

The many different types of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence, which is typically a small leak of urine due to sneezing, coughing, or laughing
  • Urge incontinence or the sudden need to urinate, followed by a loss of muscle control due to involuntary muscle contractions
  • Functional incontinence, which 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

Women can experience any of the above during postpartum but stress incontinence is the one experienced by most post postpartum women.

This condition often accompanies pregnancy and postpartum because the pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter muscles can become weakened due to pressure during pregnancy and childbirth.

Exercises such as kegels or pelvic floor contractions can be used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

Be careful when you perform these exercises though that you don’t overdo it, as you can over tighten a muscle.

You want to make sure to allow your pelvic floor to relax completely between reps when doing the kegels.

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.

RELATED: How Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Urinary Incontinence

Diastasis Recti

Most commonly associated with pregnancy and postpartum, diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate from each other in the center.

These muscles meet at the middle of your abdomen and are the outermost abdominal muscles.

This condition occurs when the connective tissue, which holds the abdominal muscles together (the (the linea alba) stretches beyond what is considered normal.

This can result in symptoms such as:

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 your treatment may include:

  • Muscle stimulation
  • Support garments or braces
  • Abdominal exercises
  • Posture training

RELATED: Physical Therapy Treatments For Diastasis Recti

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.

This pain can interfere with your everyday life.

It can cause issues with sleep or when sitting at a desk.

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, you may want to consider that this may be time to seek help.

If you’re experiencing 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 your range of motion, reducing stiffness, and increasing strength.

Exercises such as pilates can help with a number of health issues, including lower back pain.

RELATED: Understanding Back Pain: Lower Back Pain

Other Conditions

Postpartum can come with a variety of health conditions and changes to the body in addition to the issues listed above.

Other postpartum conditions which can be helped through physical therapy include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Cervical pain or neck pain
  • Core weakness
  • Pelvic organ prolapses
  • Pelvic girdle joint pain
  • Muscles spasms
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Constipation

You may also struggle with discomfort during sex, and want to seek out physical therapy to help with painful intercourse.

Common Postpartum Conditions Helped By Physical Therapy | Capitol Physical Therapy | Washington DC Physical Therapists

When Should You Seek Postpartum Physical Therapy?

Many individuals go through pregnancy and postpartum.

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.

It’s common to experience some levels of fatigue or discomfort or some feelings of sadness after you’ve given birth.

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, lower back, or groin pain following childbirth, then it’s worth a conversation with a physical therapist.

There are also symptoms you should consider seeking emergency help for.

These health complications include severe chest pain, seizures or obstructed breathing.

Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today

Are you experiencing issues such as excessive pain related to having given birth?

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.

Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.

Capitol Physical Therapy
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005

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9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

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Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC