Neck, shoulder, back, and pelvic pain, perineal stitches and scar tissue, numbness in hands, fatigue, flaccid belly, incontinence. These were just some of the issues I was dealing with post-partum. Even though I have worked with child-bearing women for over 12 years all my wisdom and knowledge on self care flew out the window during and after birth. Our bubble of intensity, love, and bonding consumed me and the educated mind takes a back seat. Traumas of childbirth, sleep deprivation, and actions of caring for a baby create new problems, and can also exacerbate physical problems we may have had before. Yet if our bodies are falling apart as parents, we are less capable of being the best parents we can be, of enjoying this time, and celebrating the miracle our bodies have done.
I am here to tell you it isn’t that hard to take time for yourself and your family. A few moments here and there to recharge, rebalance, and refresh the body are vital to fast recovery and enjoying baby life. As a Women’s Health Physical Therapist I specialize in treating the worst case scenarios of how a body can go awry during childbearing/rearing including herniated discs and compressed nerves, diastasis recti, pubic symphysis separation, perineal tearing, and incontinence. I also teach parents about positioning and self/partnercare before, during, and after birth. In France and Canada all women see a Pelvic Physical Therapist after birth to help them recover faster and reduces problems like pain with sex, prolapse, back pain, and incontinence down the line. A little bit of self care goes a long way to avoid and prevent major issues as well as improve your physical well being. If pain or discomfort are keeping you from ease, please seek professional help from a medical professional you trust.
One simple technique you can do right now will take just 30 seconds and you will feel more relaxed and invigorated afterwards. Sit or stand tall reaching your feet and sitting bones into the earth like roots. Stretch your arms and fingers out as wide and comfortable as you can, like leaves reaching the sunlight. Nod the chin keeping the head tall and breath in deep. As you exhale grow even taller through the spine and relax the arms down. Breath in again, reaching arms wide, this time let your ribs and chest open and rise. Relax the chest as you breath out. Repeat as many times as you like!
This easy and enjoyable stretch opens the spine and shoulders to reduce nerve compression and rotator cuff problems. It balances the pull on neck, chest, shoulder, and back tension. It increases oxygen to the brain and body, reduces blood pressure, and elevates the mood. If you can do all that in 30 seconds, imagine what you can do with more time! Take a walk, go to an exercise class, share a massage, use pillows and supports when feeding and snuggling with your baby. Have an orgasm!
For more information come to Secrets to Sleep, Sex, Spine, Shoulders, and More, a class for pregnancy/postpartum, partners, birthworkers, and baby caregivers on Saturday, May 19th at 2pm, call the Fit for Life Physical Therapy office to schedule a free consultation with a women’s health physical therapist.