Why Physical Therapy Is Essential for Every Mom

Have you been told that now that you’re a mom, you just need to accept that you will have leakage, back pain, hip pain or that you should not feel confident in your body? Have you been told that all of this is normal and that there is nothing that you can do to fix it? You aren’t alone and there IS something that you can do to take control of your health and wellness.

In other countries, physical therapy is a normal part of postpartum care, and every new mom, regardless of whether or not she is feeling symptoms, will go to physical therapy for a wellness check. Childbirth is stressful for your body, and your body goes through so many changes, and making sure that you have a successful recovery is key! Things here in America are a lot different, and most new mothers just have a six month follow up with their OBGYN where they do not even bring up their concerns because society has told them that their problems are just “part of being a mom”. We have recently seen some new mothers for a six week wellness check after their OBGYN recommended that they come see us, but that is definitely not the norm.

During these wellness checks, we ask a lot of different questions to see what you are struggling with as a new mom, what your goals are, and give you the tools to help empower you to overcome those challenges and reach your goals. We actually go through a whole checklist of common (but NOT normal, and DEFINITELY treatable) problems that new moms struggle with.

One of the most common struggles we hear is dealing with low back and hip pain both during pregnancy and afterwards, as well as feeling like you have no core strength.

Most women do not know what core exercises are okay to perform during and after pregnancy, and avoid doing core work because of it, when core work should be a part of both preparing for childbirth and recovering from it! This can be a part of why a lot of women experience low back pain, but it can also be due to a pelvic floor problem. Your core, pelvic floor, and diaphragm (the muscle that controls your breath), all need to work together to give you stability and strength. If any one of those isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to back pain, hip pain, or even pelvic pain. We recently had a young woman who hadn’t had children who had seen other Physical Therapists for persistent hip pain on both hips, and nothing was working. She came here, and we found that she had a pelvic floor problem, which led to hip pain with yoga. We helped her retrain her core and pelvic floor to work together, and she is no longer feeling held back in her yoga practice, and is getting back into horseback riding!

Another common struggle we treat here is leaking when sneezing, laughing, jumping, deadlifting, jumping rope, or lifting heavy things.

We find that a lot of new moms struggle with this, but we have also treated women in their 50’s and 60’s who were struggling and had been for years because they didn’t know that physical therapy could help them. We have even seen athletes that are strong and fit struggle with leakage during CrossFit and Bootcamp class because they were told that it was “just part of being a mom, and there isn’t anything that you can do about it”. Our most recent client was an active yogi in her 60’s who had struggled with leakage when she laughed ever since her daughter was born. It had gotten so bad that she avoided watching late night comedy shows with friends, and would leak during yoga. She had tried kegels, and hadn’t seen the results that she was looking for.

It turned out that she hadn’t been performing kegels optimally for her body, and wasn’t progressing them appropriately, so she wasn’t getting stronger. We worked on making kegels work for her, and progressing them, and she hasn’t leaked in months, and her OBGYN even noticed how much stronger she was!

This is another common myth that we hear: “Just do your kegels, and your problems will go away”.

Sometimes, yes, your pelvic floor (the muscles that are in your pelvis and support your organs) is actually weak and needs to be strengthened. However, sometimes, your pelvic floor is tight, and doing kegels could make your problem worse. Usually women with a tight pelvic floor experience pelvic pain, and have pain or difficulty during intercourse.

How do you know if your pelvic floor is tight or weak, or if kegels are right for you? That’s where we come in! As physical therapists, we can figure out if your pelvic floor is tight or weak, and let you know if kegels are what you need. If they are, we can make sure that you are doing them correctly, because we find that most women who do not see results with kegels aren’t doing them properly, or are not progressing them.

If kegels aren’t what you need, we can give you the other tools that can help you restore your pelvic floor and reach your goals. If this sounds familiar, or if you are a mom wondering if you have a problem that CAN be fixed, click here  to download our free resource “The Top 6 Signs That You Are Suffering From a Pelvic Floor or Core Strength Problem that CAN be Fixed” to learn how to restore your core and reach your goals!

About The Author

Dr. Kaitlin Herzog

Dr. Herzog attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She went on to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Wheeling Jesuit University. Kaitlin has been an athlete for most of her life and was introduced to physical therapy when she had several sports-related injuries. She decided to become a physical therapist to help others maintain an active lifestyle while staying pain free. Kaitlin uses a hands-on approach to help people of all backgrounds optimize their movement and performance. Dr. Herzog is a record-holding competitive powerlifter, and you can find her training or competing in her spare time. She also enjoys Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, yoga, sports, hiking, baking, crafts, traveling, and exploring Greensboro with friends.​

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