Monday, October 17, 2011

Pregnancy Discomfort vs. Pain

The musculoskeletal system goes through many changes with pregnancy. One of these changes is the increase levels of progesterone and relaxin the body.  The increase in these hormones causes the connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) to soften and to allow for the belly to expand and the pelvis to prepare for the child birthing process.

If a woman has been hyper-mobile, or highly flexible, throughout her life span, then these hormones may cause instability. Instability causes a painful back, pelvis, sacroiliac joint, knees, ankles and other parts of the body.

So what are normal discomforts of pregnancy vs. pain?  Usually discomforts do not limit women in functional mobility, meaning, they are able to perform their daily activities normally with minimal interruptions. Pain is what limits a woman from sleep, performing her job, taking care of herself and her family.

If there is pain that prevents a pregnant woman from performing her daily activities, and sleeping at night, a physical therapist can help in several ways. Exercise, belting, soft tissue mobilization (therapeutic massage) are skills of a physical therapist.  An obstetric physical therapist has specialty training for the pregnant body such as bracing, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, biofeedback, taping, pressure points and trigger point therapy.

I have heard many say that pain with pregnancy is normal. This is not true. Pain is not normal. Pain is the body’s message that something is wrong. A physical therapist, specialized in women’s health can analyze the body to find what is unstable and painful.

I have been fortune in my practice to have many resources.  Our clinic has a private therapeutic pool, acupuncture and pregnancy massage specialists. My credentials include certification in biofeedback for pelvic floor dysfunction and physical therapy credentials in obstetrics. The women I have treated have become pain free in their pregnancies, and actually improve as they progress, which leads to a healthier child birthing process.

Thank you for all your emails comments and topics. Attempting to respond personally to specific questions and post to the most popular.

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