Postpartum Pain and Weakness? Can Physical Therapy Offer Solutions?

–  Submitted by Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP. 

Going back to work after having a baby is hard enough but if you are also suffering from postpartum pain and weakness it makes it even more difficult.  Pregnancy takes a toll on both your muscles and joints.  Between the physical stress of carrying a child and the pregnancy hormone, Relaxin, which relaxes all the ligaments as well as those attached to the pubic bone, and then add the fact that delivery can sometimes sprain or even break the tailbone, it’s not surprising that your body after pregnancy hurts.

Once your baby’s born, there’s the stress you put on your muscles and joints while multitasking.  You’re constantly lifting and carrying your baby, diaper bags, strollers, groceries and everything else you need as a busy mom on the go.  All of these factors can exacerbate postpartum pain and weakness and make working at the top of your game almost impossible.  Like most new mothers, you’re so busy that you have little time to attend to your own needs.

 

Physical Therapy Postpartum Pain Postpartum Weakness

Physical Therapy can help relieve postpartum pain and weakness

What you can expect from Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy can help relieve pain, increase trunk stabilization and increase strength after delivery.  Physical Therapy can also provide modalities for aches and pains associated with having a new baby or toddler.

As a new mother, Physical Therapy can help with neck, back, hip, and even carpel tunnel pain.  You can benefit from many of the same treatments that help non-moms: stretching and strengthening exercises, posture retraining, hands-on techniques, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat and ice.  In most cases, you’ll see results after six to twelve visits for postpartum weakness and pain provided you don’t have a pre-existing condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.  Physical Therapy can get you back on the road to your pre-pregnancy self.

–  Submitted by Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP. 

About Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP

Genny graduated from Shenandoah University in 1993 with a Master of Physical Therapy degree and later returned to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in 2004. Since then, she has become a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, and has also received her certification in Trigger Point Dry Needling as well as receiving her Private Practice Management Certificate. Genny has taken advanced training in Pilates for Rehabilitation and Physical Mind Mat and Apparatus Concentration programs. She also has extensive Manual Therapy, Myofascial Release, Cranial-Sacral and Osteopathic-Based advanced training. Outside of work, Genny enjoys traveling, visiting family, yoga, hiking, the outdoors and spending time with her dogs. She also enjoys cooking international dishes, especially Persian dishes.

Migraines? Does Physical Therapy Really Work?

  [contact-form to=’[email protected]’ subject=’Migraine Blog Comments’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] Physical therapy for migraines?

Chronic migraines occur in about 15% of the general population. Migraine headaches can be severe and debilitating, causing the sufferer to miss extended periods of time from work as well as fun activities and everyday life.  The cure for chronic migraines is generally elusive and many times, involve lots of various medications.  Some individuals do not tolerate migraine medication due to side effects or prefer to avoid medication for other reasons. Physical therapy is an alternative treatment option available for migraine sufferers.

Migraines are caused by a disorder in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) involving the nerves and blood vessels.  Medications affect the central nervous system to try and address the dysfunction whereas physical therapy primarily involves the muscles and joints in the peripheral nervous system.  Depending upon the extent to which the muscles and joints are involved in the headache determines how well a chronic migraine sufferer will respond to physical therapy.

Muscles, Joints, and Pain, OH MY!

For individuals with musculoskeletal problems involving the neck and/or jaw, physical therapy is highly likely to be helpful and may even prevent migraines from occurring in the first place.  There are several ways that dysfunctions with muscles and joints can produce migraines:

  • Referred pain – meaning pain felt in a part of the body other than its actual source. For example, many times the upper trapezius muscle on the top of the shoulder, which is commonly overused during activities such as computer work, can develop trigger points, which are basically a “muscle knot” or a small patch of muscle tissue in spasm.  This contracture can refer pain up the neck and into the head causing the migraine.
  • Neck or jaw structure – in some individuals, cervical spine issues or muscle tightness can create pain and trigger a migraine.

In these instances, treating the problem with physical therapy may greatly reduce or even eliminate the individual’s migraines.

Will physical therapy work for me?

A thorough evaluation by a physical therapist that is knowledgeable and experienced in treating individuals with migraine headaches can determine whether and to what extent physical therapy treatment may be helpful.  The goal of physical therapy is to reduce stress and tension on soft tissues and joints, as well as addressing posture, alignment, and strength issues in order to normalize the musculoskeletal system.

About Dr. Genevieve Griffin, PT, DPT, OCS, GCFP

Genny graduated from Shenandoah University in 1993 with a Master of Physical Therapy degree and later returned to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in 2004. Since then, she has become a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, and has also received her certification in Trigger Point Dry Needling and a Private Practice Management Certificate. Genny has taken advanced training in Pilates for Rehabilitation and Physical Mind Mat and Apparatus Concentration programs. She also has extensive Manual Therapy, Myofascial Release, Cranial-Sacral and Osteopathic-Based advanced training. Outside of work, Genny enjoys traveling, visiting family, yoga, hiking, the outdoors and spending time with her 2 golden retrievers, Lucy and Sissy. She also enjoys cooking international dishes, especially Persian dishes.

Young businesswoman has splitting headache pain migraine

Young businesswoman has splitting headache pain migraine

Feel Better Faster With Direct Access

Feel Better Faster With Direct Access

I lifted a heavy box from the floor at work a week ago and now it still hurts when I twist or turn. I love to play tennis, but afterwards it hurts so much that I can’t open my file cabinet or turn the doorknob. I have been playing basketball for a long time without any injuries, but this time I fell on my knees and now my knee hurts during my practice as well as when walking up stairs to my office. Using my computer is so painful, but I have to keep doing it. Do any of these sound familiar? If any of these kinds of pain have limited your ability to function fully in your daily life, then “Direct Access” to physical therapy is the right choice for you.

What is “Direct Access”?
In the state of Virginia, a physical therapist who has completed a doctor of physical therapy program or who has obtained a certificate of authorization may evaluate and treat a patient for no more than 30 consecutive days after an initial evaluation without a referral. To simplify, a physical therapist may evaluate you and treat you for up to 30 days even though you have not seen your medical doctor. Your physical therapist will reach out to your medical doctor and if your medical doctor agrees with the plan of care set by your physical therapist, you can continue your therapy after 30 days.

When the pain hits, the last thing you want to do is wait.
It is very common, and may already have happened to you, that you had to wait for weeks to see your medical doctor. Once you saw your doctor, chances are, your doctor gave you a physical therapy prescription and by the time you finally saw a therapist you may have even more pain or limitations.

Faster is better!
“Direct Access” provides you with the ability to receive immediate medical attention. Evidence-based research has shown that seeing a “Direct Access” physical therapist can save you time and money – less cost per episode of care, less visits to get better, less harm to your body with fewer side effects of medication, less exposure to imaging radiation, and less days of missed work.

It’s simple!
If you are having any pain and not sure if physical therapy can help alleviate the symptoms, simply visit a physical therapist. Physical therapists are there to evaluate your symptoms and provide you with a care plan if physical therapy is your best option to address your pain.

Direct Access FAQs

About Purvi Trivedi, PT
Purvi graduated with her Bachelor’s in Physical Therapy from India in 2006. Since then, she has been practicing in New York before moving to Virginia and joining Loudoun Physical Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and sports rehabilitation. Purvi feels very fortunate to be able to make a difference in people’s lives and help them to get better faster. Apart from her work, she enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and exploring nature.

Direct Access can save both time and money

Direct Access can save both time and money

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