Postpartum Physical Therapy Options
There are a variety of physical therapy treatment options aimed at addressing some issues associated with pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
They may include:
Therapeutic exercise includes flexibility and/or strengthening exercises based on each patient’s individual needs. The goal is to always restore normal, pain-free activity.
Manual therapy is the gentle manipulation of tissue (muscles, connective tissue, scar tissue, nerves, etc.) that helps release restrictions and soften tense tissues.
Biofeedback allows a patient to “see” their muscle activity at rest and tension produced during various strengthening or relaxation exercises. This helps increase a patient’s awareness that they are using their muscles correctly, which is essential for correcting dysfunctional or uncoordinated muscle activity.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) consists of gentle and soothing pulses that are applied via external electrodes surrounding an area of pain. The stimulation prevents pain signals from reaching the brain and increases endorphin (the “feel-good” chemical) production. TENS can be used during labor and postpartum to assist with early mobility from reduced muscle tension and overall pain. Ultrasound (US) is a machine that uses sound waves to generate heat within a body part. The effect is increased circulation and decreased inflammation within the region. US is often used in preparation before soft tissue manual therapy is performed.
Education/Comfort Measures include hints on body mechanics, support cushions, braces and comfortable, safe ways to take care of yourself and your new baby.