By: Samantha Crisafulli, PT, DPT
Studies show that over the last 40 years, the average age of women having their first child has risen from 21 to 25. Women are also pursuing higher education due to the competitive nature of today’s workforce compared to when our parents and grandparents were having children. Therefore, women are less physically active in their busy lives, resulting in an increase in back pain as well as decreased strength and flexibility throughout pregnancy; all things that a physical therapist can assist with. Physical therapy during pregnancy can help a woman have a smoother pregnancy, birth, and even post-partum recovery.
As the uterus and the baby grow, the mother’s center of gravity shifts forward and causes decreased posture and stress on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and back. Research suggests that 50-70% of women experience back pain throughout pregnancy. Back pain can also increase for other reasons including:
- Increased hormones
- Additional weight gain
- Added stress
With a referral from your doctor, either during pregnancy or post-partum, a physical therapist with perform a mechanical and musculoskeletal exam that includes an assessment of posture, joint alignment and testing of muscular strength, flexibility and nerve involvement. Physical therapy will focus on increasing physical endurance, strength and flexibility most likely concerning the hips, back and abdomen. It will also include soft tissue mobilization to increase blood flow to a region where pain is experienced with the aim to allow woman to get back to their daily life and work-related activities pain-free.
Many women are afraid to exercise or perform weightlifting activities during pregnancy and especially after pregnancy. Therefore, your physical therapist will go through all exercises that are safe and unsafe both during and after pregnancy to limit the risk for complications. Your physical therapist will also go over home exercises to ensure a healthier and easier pregnancy as well as recovery post-partum.
At Professional Rehabilitation Services, we treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions using the latest in evidence-based therapies provided by highly credentialed physical therapists. Professional Rehabilitation Services has eight convenient locations in Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Surfside Beach, Market Common, Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, and Little River.
For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP at Professional Rehabilitation Services (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, STC, OCS, CWcHP (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, MPT, OCS, Cert. SMT, CWcHP (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Jill P. Phelan, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Conway) (843) 773-3031, Lisa O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Karl Ehlers, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Little River) (843) 281- 4222, Samantha Crisafulli PT, DPT (Carolina Forest) (843) 282-0440, Zach Daniels PT, DPT (Market Commons) (843) 213-6338 or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation.