Physiotherapy can help with many Pre and Post-Natal Conditions.

Common Pre and Post-Natal Conditions Physio Can Help With.

Common signs, why they happen and how Physiotherapy can help.

 

PREGNANCY-RELATED LOW BACK PAIN (PLBP)

What is it?

60-70% of pregnant women report experiencing lower back pain
Pain is defined as being anywhere below the ribs and above the gluteal muscles
This pain is often fatigue-related and not due to disc pathologies
Common aggravating factors can include bending forward to pick things up from the floor and twisting in the car

 

What causes it? 

The causes of PLBP are often a combination of movement and hormonal changes to the body
Body weight increases up to 25% during the pregnancy due to growth of the uterus
This increase in weight at the front of the body shifts the centre of gravity (COG) of the body forwards
This COG shift causes over-stretching and weakening of abdominal and gluteal muscles meaning they are unable to generate the same level of force in these stretched positions
Increase in hormone production leads to increase in laxity in ligaments which if not met by an increase in strength in muscles can lead to pain
Tightness in lower back muscles, hip flexors and weakness in pelvic floor muscles 


How can Physiotherapy help?

Provide education regarding posture (sleep, rolling in bed, standing), activity modifications and self-management
Manual therapy and braces where indicated
Exercises focussing on restoring movement, reducing pain and retraining for stretched/fatigued muscles

 

 

UPPER BACK/THORACIC/POSTURAL PAIN

What is it?

Upper back/thoracic pain is very common during both pre and post-natal
Thoracic pain can be related to posture, weight gain because of pregnancy, or an increase in sustained /repetitive movements
We define thoracic pain as pain felt in the middle-and upper spine

What causes?

During pregnancy the diaphragm is pushed upwards by about 4cm by pressure from the uterus which causes the ribs to flare more to be able to maintain normal breathing volumes
Increase in rib movement places increased strain on the upper back muscles and joints, which can lead to fatigue and pain
Breast size also increases during pregnancy which often causes the shoulders to round forwards more, placing increased strain on joints and muscles in the upper back
Post birth thoracic pain is often caused by sudden increase in new sustained postures such as – breastfeeding, nursing and repetitive lifting of the baby and stroller

How can Physiotherapy help? 

Assistance in identifying the cause and nature of the pain
Provide you with manual pain relief as well as home management strategies and exercises to increase mobility and strength in the upper back
Reduce symptoms and work out ways of caring for your baby which will not aggravate the pain

 

 

CARPAL TUNNEL

What is it? 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a neuropathy which is caused by compression of the median nerve as it runs through the wrist’s carpal tunnel
Carpal tunnel is commonly worse at the end of the day and involves pain around the wrist/hand/thumb or index finger and patients can experience a loss of sensation/tingling in the fingers

What causes it? 

Pain in a wrist. holding hand to spot of wrist pain.During pregnancy, carpal tunnel is most commonly caused by swelling. Pregnancy results in increases in hormone levels, which can cause swelling most commonly in the limbs (legs and hands)
This increase in fluid combined with softening of vessels leads to compression of the median nerve causing tingling and pain
Post birth, carpal tunnel is most commonly caused by prolonged/sustained wrist flexion because of feeding/holding the baby 

 

 

How can physiotherapy help? 

Treatment with physiotherapy will include a combination of swelling management, soft tissue release and strengthening exercises
Physiotherapists may also prescribe/refer for a splint for immobilisation for a period.

Don’t let pain affect your pregnancy. Book an appointment today.

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Libby Gracias
Symmetry Physiotherapy

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