Tag Archives: women’s health

diastasis recti abdominal separation

What You Can Do About Diastis Recti (Abdominal Separation)

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diastasis recti abdominal separation

There’s a lot to absorb when you become pregnant. You have a whole new person growing inside of you, and with that the excitement of what they’ll look like — and what kind of mother you’ll be — to this brand new human. And of course, there are a lot of physical changes that women undergo. From morning sickness to foods that seem unpalatable (or highly desirable), our bodies seem to have a mind of their own when pregnant. Along with gaining a healthy amount of weight and planning on what birth will look like for you, there’s also residual effects. One of them that can come with motherhood but can also affect other people is called diastasis recti (abdominal separation).

This condition occurs with the dramatic change in belly structure that happens when women become pregnant. The abdominal walls separate, leading the belly to stick out more. Who else does this affect and how can you deal with it? This graphic explains it.

What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it
“What is Diastasis? And What You Can Do About it” on Health Perch

Ask for Help.

If you are unsure of whether or not you have diastasis recti talk to your OB-GYN or physical therapist and ask them to evaluate your core. If you do have abdominal separation, a physical therapy program can give you all of the tools you need to bring the muscles back together.

Physical therapy programs for diastasis recti patients may include:

  • Core stabilization and postural strengthening
  • An abdominal brace to provide support and reduce pain
  • An exercise program designed to stretch overly tightened muscles
  • Education and training on how to lift and carry your baby as your abdomen recovers

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SI pain physical therapy

Women’s Health: The Sacroilial (SI) Joint and How It Affects You

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It has been estimated that about 95% of the population will experience low back pain at some point during a lifetime. Low back pain may be due to many different causes and anatomical structures, one such structure is the SI joint. Here is some pertinent information about the SI joint and how it may affect your general health.

8 FUN FACTS:

What is the SI joint?
It is a joint connecting the sacrum and the ilium, 2 bones included in the pelvis. The pelvis connects the upper body to the lower body, more specifically the spine to the hips.

What does the SI joint do?
It helps to stabilize your core during functional and work activities and helps with shock absorption during weight-bearing activities including walking. Stability is also assisted by the ligaments, fascia, and muscles that attach to the joint. This includes back, gluteal, hip, and pelvic floor musculature.

Who feels SI pain?
People with leg length discrepancies, asymmetrical lower extremity weakness, scoliosis, pregnant women due to increased ligamentous laxity, women > men due to pelvic anatomy, and those who have experienced a traumatic event such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident or that perform repetitive activities with poor body mechanics including lifting and bending.

Where would you feel SI pain?
Directly over the SI joint, in the buttock, lateral or posterior thigh, or sometimes in the groin.

When may you feel SI pain?
Rolling in bed, rotating your trunk, walking, stair ascent or descent, standing from a sitting position, single leg activities

What positions/activities should be adopted?
Sleep with a pillow between your lower extremities, perform slow, controlled movements, maintain equal weight-bearing through lower extremities with transitional movements and standing, log roll during bed mobility to keep lower extremities symmetrical, swing lower extremities out of the car before standing up to prevent trunk rotation.

How can PT help?
Physical therapy has been found to help patients with SI pain get pain relief, reduce inflammation and muscle spasms, improve healing, muscle extensibility, joint mobility and range of motion, strength, muscle control, and gait mechanics.

What does PT treatment for SI pain involve?

Stretching, mobilization techniques, education on proper body mechanics with functional activities, massage, myofascial release, modalities including electrical stimulation for pain modulation and ultrasound to assist with healing and inflammation, muscle energy techniques, and a core stabilization and strengthening exercise program, tailored to the individual patient. If a leg length discrepancy is found, a heel lift may be helpful to restore abnormal forces being placed through the SI joint with weight-bearing activities. An initiation of a home exercise program is also an integral part of physical therapy treatment.

women's health

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Women’s Health

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Women’s health can cover a multitude of subjects, from pregnancy to aging – the female body undergoes many changes. Physical therapist’s most common women’s health clients come in experiencing incontinence, osteoporosis and pregnancy related back pain.

URINARY INCONTINENCE
Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control that results in leakage when the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak or overactive. Causes include child birth, hormonal changes, surgical trauma, pelvic fractures, chronic cough, obesity, muscle weakness or even repetitive lifting. Physical therapy can help decrease or resolve urinary leakage, identify bladder irritants and strengthen pelvic floor muscles through an individualized exercise program.

OSTEOPOROSIS
Keeping the bones strong as you age, especially after menopause, is a challenge many women face. An excessive decline in bone mass is called osteoporosis, and it is a leading health care concern for women. A physical therapy program can help improve your posture and strength, prevent falls, and decrease your risk for fractures.

A physical therapist that specializes in women’s health treating pelvic floor dysfunction can help as well.

older_woman

PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION 
Exhibits Several Symptoms: 

Urinary Incontinence
Fecal Incontinence
Constipation
Diarrhea
Pelvic Floor Pain

PREGNANCY RELATED BACK PAIN
Many women experience low back pain during pregnancy. This is due to several factors such as:

Hormonal Changes – this causes increased looseness of the pelvic ligaments to prepare your body for birthing your baby.
Increased Weight Gain – This places increased stress on all the joints of the body. Increased breast weight can overload
the neck and upper back.
Postural Changes – Body weight shifts forward as the baby grows and this increases the arch in the lower back. Stomach
muscles and the lower pelvic muscles become weaker which decreases support for the lower back.
Altered Movement Patterns – Due to your changing body, women often begin to move in different patterns that can increase stress to the low back or pelvic joints.

This information was written by Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 24 locations in Georgia and Florida. Advance Rehabilitation is a physical therapy practice that focuses on providing the highest quality rehabilitation services. We specialize in physical therapy, sports medicine, industrial rehabilitation and athletic training. Our staff includes highly-trained professionals that serve as a bridge between injury and recovery to help patients get back to pre-injury status as quickly as possible. For more information click here.

Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight

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Prenatal care can increase health benefits for both mother and baby as well as reduce the risk of certain complications. It not only includes seeking medical care but also adopting certain lifestyle habits. Good nutrition and regular physical activity have both been linked to a number of benefits including a healthy birth-weight for babies.

Researchers from Canada wanted to estimate the influence of structured prenatal exercise on birth weight. A secondary assessment was done on the rate of cesarean since one reason for cesarean is a larger than normal fetus. The study, published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found that that structured prenatal exercise reduces the risk of having a large newborn without increasing the risk of low birth weight babies. Exercise was also associated with a lower risk of cesarean section.

About the Study
The meta-analysis included 28 randomized trials evaluating exercise interventions in 5,322 pregnancies for which birth size information was available. Participants were assigned to a standard prenatal care group or a standard prenatal care group plus supervised prenatal exercise group of at least 1 exercise session every 2 weeks throughout the study duration.

Participants who were in the prenatal exercise group were:

  • 31% less likely to have a large newborn (birth weight of 8.8 pounds)
  • 20% less likely to need cesarean section
  • no more likely to have a low birth weight baby than those without exercise program

The mothers that participated in the regular exercise program also gained less weight than those in the group that did not receive the exercise intervention.

Information provided by the EBSCO Health Library

low back pain in pregnancy

Low Back Pain in Pregnancy?

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low back pain in pregnancy

Pregnancy and new motherhood should be times of joy and promise – not pain. Fortunately, times have changed, you don’t have to live with pain or other problems related to pregnancy or delivery.  That’s because physical therapy has changed too. It is no longer solely for joint problems; it’s also a safe, proven and widely prescribed treatment for pregnant women and new mothers.

Physical Therapy can help you manage your low back pain in pregnancy safely!
Many women experience low back pain during pregnancy. This is due to several factors such as:

  • Hormonal Changes – this causes increased looseness of the pelvic ligaments to prepare your body for birthing your baby.
  • Increased Weight Gain – This places increased stress on all the joints of the body. Increased breast weight can overload the neck and upper back.
  • Postural Changes – Body weight shifts forward as the baby grows and this increases the arch in the lower back. Stomach muscles and the lower pelvic muscles become weaker which decreases support for the lower back.
  • Altered Movement Patterns – Due to your changing body, women often begin to move in different patterns that can increase stress to the low back or pelvic joints.

A physical therapy evaluation will include an assessment of:

  • Pelvic/Sacro-iliac joints
  • Abdominal Musculature
  • Spinal Alignment
  • Strength/Flexibility
  • Posture
  • Body Mechanics

Treatment objectives are to:

  • Reduce Pain
  • Promote improved posture
  • Education re: safe movement patterns
  • Teach proper exercises for strengthening and flexibility and guidance toward cardiovascular fitness

The physical therapist may also plan a specialized exercise program for a pregnant or postpartum patient.
The goals and benefits of exercise for pregnant women include:

  • Promotes good posture
  • Increases or maintains aerobic fitness
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Improves sleep
  • Prevents low back pain
  • Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Improved physiological and psychological health
  • Prepares mom for labor and delivery

The goals of an exercise program for new moms (postpartum patients) are.

  • Faster recovery from labor and delivery
  • Increased endurance for taking care of self and baby

If you are experiencing low back pain in pregnancy please check out our Find A PT Page to find a women’s health specialist in your area.