Returning to exercise is on the list for many mums but if you try too hard, do the wrong type or aren’t ready, injury can follow.
This is the case for one of our new mum patients – a 40 year old who was in so much pain, she couldn’t lift her baby from the cot for night feeds.
But it wasn’t just the physical pain that was upsetting her – she was also very tearful, thinking she couldn’t care for her baby properly. It’s common for our physical pain and problems to affect our mental health negatively.
This patient had back pain five months after birth following a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session, then hip pain a couple of months later after yoga.
After two months, this patient came to us for help – because she was finding that everything day-to-day was difficult, she was frustrated and wanted to get back to exercise but couldn’t.
The diagnosis was pelvic floor dysfunction due to a history of urinary incontinence. She had already been diagnosed with posterior wall prolapse by a gynaecologist and had associated hip pain due to pelvic floor weakness.
She had back pain and leg pain, and so treatment began straight away and results were evident straight away – she was almost pain-free after her first physio session with one of our women’s health specialists, Sarah Parker.
Sarah gave this patient breathwork, gentle progression of Pilates-style exercises, pelvic floor stretches and a strengthening program. Manual therapy techniques including deep tissue release externally and gentle neural and spinal glides, alongside safe lifting and carrying techniques were also taught, to make sure when she picks up her baby, she is not causing further pain.
She is now pain-free in the day time and able to care for her baby at night without discomfort or upset.
She is continuing her exercise programme at home and is nearing her goal of returning to exercise.
Nerve pain was the final hurdle and took longer to reduce than the back and hip pain, but her exercises are making this manageable.
After six sessions, we will progress the exercise campaign with the aim of returning her to HIIT exercise without injury risk or further problems.