Postpartum pain and weakness

Physical Therapy for Postpartum Pain and Weakness

Giving birth is a culmination of many months of excitement, pain, planning, and emotional highs and lows. After 40 weeks, the end result shouldn’t be suffering, but unfortunately, there are new challenges. We often focus on baby and their needs, but for new mothers, it is common to go through another few months of both physical and mental challenges, all of them often accompanied by a lack of sleep. 

While every female is unique, there are some very common, physical issues that happen after childbirth. This includes lower back pain, pelvic pain, pain in the hips and tailbone, as well as incontinence. 

For many individuals, after delivery, prescription pain relief is a standard option, but physical therapy is an additional, highly effective way to return to a normal life and find time to enjoy a new baby. With the help of a specialized physical therapist, common postpartum pains and weakness can be one of the first things you can say goodbye to. 

At Evolution, our experienced PTs and DPTs can work around your schedule and help provide the comfort and support you need during one of the most understated but important times of personal recovery.

Is it Normal to Have Pain or Weakness After Having Your Baby?

Directly after giving birth, it is very common to experience postpartum symptoms. In fact, this time period is even known as the ‘fourth trimester’. Pain is a subjective word, however, as it can be both mental and physical, or it may range from mild to extreme. The goal of physical therapy will always be to help prevent injury or illness and help a patient recover faster and with the fewest complications.  With this in mind, it’s important to note that for a majority of women that experience a certain degree of pain and some weakness, this is a normal occurrence. 

Lower back pain, pelvic pain, generalized weakness, and hip pain, along with weakness of the abdominal area, can be treated by more than the passage of time. A physical therapist can help with pain relief, expediting the return to normalcy and making it that much easier to cope with some of the other symptoms that strike during this 6-8 week time period.

Many of the causes of postpartum pain and weakness simply can’t be avoided. The very act of childbirth alone, for example, is a contributing factor, while compression of nerves during childbirth can cause tingling and numbness in the body. Recovering from a procedure like a C-section or vaginal birth takes a toll, and to some degree will result in inactivity and stress on the body. All of these add up to cause not just pain, but weakness post-delivery:

  • Experience of Childbirth
  • Hormonal Changes
  • General Fitness Levels
  • Pelvic Floor Weakness or Dysfunction
  • Nerve Pain
  • Changes in Weight
  • Inactivity

In time, symptoms can absolutely fade. However, physical therapy can go a long way in treating many types of pain, is non-invasive, and overall highly beneficial. 

Another factor to consider is that it can remove the need for some types of pain relievers. As many women experience lower back pain, knee, pelvic, and hip pain after giving birth, some form of relief is incredibly important. The less time spent on prescription pain relief or even over-the-counter meds, the less likely dependence on this type of pain-reliving method. This is especially true in regards to opioids if prescribed.

In short, physical therapy can alleviate persistent symptoms and focus on muscle recovery as well as prevent injuries that may occur due to weakness or fatigue.

Can a Physical Therapist Treat Postpartum Pain and Weakness

Physical Therapists are highly effective at treating your pain and overall weakness after giving birth. For some women, there may be certain conditions that are more of an issue than others, which is why your therapist will work with you on a custom treatment regime that utilizes the current, medical best practices and adheres to your comfort level.

Some treatments may include:

  • Stretching
  • Manual therapy
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Pelvic Floor therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

When to see a Physical Therapist for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

If you have given birth and are struggling with pain, or you are about to have a baby soon and want to plan for your recovery, a physical therapist can be an important person to have in your corner.  At Evolution Physical Therapy, we have locations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Long Island, with specialist PT providers that offer a range of physical therapy services and help to provide you with the treatment, education, and additional support you need on your road to recovery. Reach out to us today, by calling us to set up an appointment at a location near you, or filling out our Request an Appointment form.