Careful when you ask a woman who recently gave birth “How ya doing?” Most likely, they’ll answer with one of the following: trashed, demolished traumatized, destroyed. These words were used by eight new mammas to describe what their bodies felt like one to five months post parturm.
Between the actual birthing process, learning and struggling with the painful breastfeeding process, and simply trying to get back into a normal routine that might allow them to do a walk or stretching session for 15-20 minutes, it was obvious these new mammas’ bodies needed some attention, recovery, focus, and guidance.
In response, The Core Studio at Alpine has launched its New Mammas Pilates Group. For new moms, it is difficult to focus on your own body when it has been shared and nearly taken over by another small bundle of life, but with the guidance of the professionals at The Core Studio new moms get the help to get back their bodies faster and more effectively, with support of other new moms. An hour once a week allows new moms to have time, space, and instruction on what muscles to fire, what muscles to relax, and the importance of breath, focus, and balance. This class provides new moms the chance to reduce back and neck pain, manage incontinience, return to enjoyable sex, appreciate their new babies, and learn life long tips to keep healthy and strong while being a mom.
Last Wednesday, The Core Studio offered a free one hour session to introduce the foundations of Pilates to the New Mammas. Sam Schmidt, MPT instructed proper pelvic recruitment, abdominal activation, correct breathing, and spine safety to the group. This was an opportunity for the New Mammas to understand what the classes would focus on, gain the fundamentals of the Pilates method, and get a chance to meet other new moms with similar issues and goals.
The New Mammas commit to four classes during the month ($60 total) then have eight oppornities to use these. Classes are held on Wednesday evenings and late Friday mornings. If they want to do more than the four classes they can pay as they go. All New Mamma’s Pilates Group have access for a free consultation with one of the Alpine Physical Therapy’s PTs.
If you know a new mom who is needing some support, guidance, and space to focus on her body and get healthy for her baby, The Core Studio will be offering another FREE session on the fundamentals every last Wednesday of the month at 7:30pm at Alpine Physical Therapy North. Give us a call at 541-2606, or stop by our north clinic at 2965 Stockyard Road, just behind Carino’s.
Having worked as a physical therapist for 10 years, I know how new activities can tax the body. I know the importance of good body mechanics and keeping a spine in the best neutral position. I know that fatigue and not feeling well can create poor posture.
However, as a new mom, my PT mind shut down as I focused on getting my daughter, Charlise, off to the very best start in life – which meant mastering breastfeeding, sleeping in 1-2 hour stints, holding her for long periods of time until she calmed – and when I did get time to focus on my body it was about caring for my healing pelvic floor, preventing engorgement in my breasts, or getting a quick shower or meal in.
Into the second week of Charlie’s life, I was experiencing severe headaches, shoulder pain and weakness, jaw pain, light sensitivity, and full body diffuse joint pains. The headaches were getting so bad I had trouble concentrating and would nearly become nauseous from the pain. As a breastfeeding mom, I was afraid to take any medication besides ibuprofen. I was taking nearly the maximum medically recommended dose, and it wasn’t even touching my pain.
Oddly, it was my doctor who recommended (yes to this 10 yr PT) that I seek out the help of a physical therapist. DUH? Why I did not come across this idea, I am not sure, but I immediately called my coworkers at Alpine PT to get scheduled. By that afternoon, they had an opening come up and got me in.
As soon as Angela (aka Alpine’s spine ninja) started working on my upper neck (C1 and C2) I knew I was in the right place. She performed an extensive examination, then started with some manual joint mobilization of my upper neck followed by some muscle energy techniques and stretching. She then addressed poor scapular control of my left shoulder. She finished by reminding me of proper positioning and some very basic yet super effective home exercises. Needless to say, I went to Alpine PT with a high 8/10 headache, neck pain, and left shoulder issues. After just after an hour with Angela, I left with close to a 2/10 pain level and felt SO MUCH better!
I was so happy to return to my house where my daughter was meeting many of our good friends. I felt renewed and reset. Moreover, I could now be there for Charlise 100% now, and I could enjoy my visitors and this very special time in our lives.
I will be working on a handout for those new moms out there, a handout that will include exercises and recommendations to prevent this type of injury and also to remind them that even one PT visit can help dramatically! Someone told me I would learn more than I thought possible as a parent. This is only the beginning, I’m sure!
For more information, visit our clinic website by clicking here, or call our clinic at 251-2323.
My thanks to Tara Mund, DPT, women’s health specialist in physical therapy and Director of Her Health at Alpine Physical Therapy for submitting this informative article.
Pelvic floor strengthening or Kegel exercises are terms that are familiar to most women when preparing for and recovering from child birth. Kegels or pelvic floor muscle contractions also play a large role in rehabilitation for incontinence (leaking of urine or feces) prolapse, or even various pelvic pain conditions. But how many should you do, how long should you hold them, and how often should they be done in a day? The answers to these three questions are paramount in treating the conditions for which Kegel exercises are prescribed.
Three things need to be determined before an accurate prescription can be given for pelvic floor strengthening. First, we need to know how strong or weak the muscle is, Second, we need to know how long the pelvic floor muscle contraction can be sustained, and third, we need to know how many contractions can be done prior to fatigue. Based on these three factors, an individualized prescription can be given for pelvic floor muscle strengthening that is both effective and tailored to address the specific problem you may be experiencing.
Physical therapists can be specially trained to evaluate the pelvic floor muscles and determine each of these three factors on a personalized basis. If you are experiencing problems associated with pelvic floor dysfunction I encourage you to seek individualized treatment from a physical therapist to ensure you are not only performing the exercises correctly but that you are following the prescription that is right for you.
Additional information on this topic and others is available on our clinic website at www.HerHealthMT.com.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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