TreaTment for Postpartum
The postpartum period is not limited to the first 6 weeks after birth. Every woman who has birthed a baby will always be considered postpartum. The word “postpartum” tends to have a negative connotation associated because mothers (and fathers) are navigating this new way of life with responsibilities greater than they have ever experienced. This can be mentally and physically demanding, but it can also be very rewarding. Whether you are 1 month postpartum or 5 years postpartum, it is important to identify your needs and prioritize self-care.
As hormones continue to shift immediately after birth and throughout the first couple of years postpartum, the musculoskeletal system is directly affected. High levels of the hormone Relaxin remain in the body up to one year after weaning. Relaxin causes ligaments to be relaxed (which allows the pelvis to expand during pregnancy) and this then results in tight muscles which kick in to help stabilize the mobile joints. While some joints become more mobile, others become restricted and tight. A great example is a new mother and father’s upper back and shoulder blade region. This area can become very “stuck” after holding the baby. This can lead to headaches, neck tension, shoulder blade pain and even numbness and tingling in the arms. A gentle chiropractic adjustment performed on this area can restore motion in the joints and decrease pain and discomfort associated.
Soft Tissue Therapy
As with the other types of muscle pains, soft tissue therapy is beneficial in releasing pain and tension in the overused muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves for the postpartum patient. A mother/father’s body is constantly placed under stress due to caring for children, the lack of sleep associated and trying to return to activity that they once enjoyed. This technique can be beneficial in stretching the tissue and allowing the bits of scar tissue that have developed to function more like normal tissue. This will decrease pain and ultimately increase function.
Active Release Technique, trigger point therapy, instrument assisted soft tissue therapy (Graston or ConnectX), and cupping, are just a few ways our doctors can help you with regions of pain and tension.
Therapeutic ultrasound is a gentle approach to calming down irritated tissue. Sound waves are used to increase blood flow, decrease inflammation and promote healing within the tissues. It is performed by the doctor in the office during your visit. It can also be effective in resolving an acute case of mastitis among nursing mothers.
Exercises and Rehabilitation
Exercises and rehabilitation should be specific to the changes in the postpartum woman and are an effective way to rehabilitate and rebuild the connective tissue during this time. Exercises can help make activities of daily living more comfortable. We understand that it is a healing process and will meet you where you are in this stage to help you reach your goals.