Postpartum

Is my Diastasis Recti treatable?

Hi Ladies! Are you a busy mom who is struggling with a condition like diastasis recti (abdominal separation)? Any mother who has been asked, “When is your baby due?” AFTER she has already had her baby completely understands this and how frustrating it can be.

IS MY DIASTASIS RECTI TREATABLE?

The answer is yes, if you focus on identifying the factors contributing to your diastasis recti symptoms and perform the RIGHT exercises and strategies for YOU. This is why a generic fitness program of exercises will not work for many women. Our specialists see many contributing factors like scar tissue, intra-abdominal pressure problems and rib flare to name a few. Many women have more than one factor making recovery not so straight forward.

Individual treatment sessions are the gold standard for diastasis healing and strength and will speed your recovery compared to generic exercises. Our goal is to reduce your symptoms by making you stronger doing the activities you need or want to do not eliminating those activities from your life.

Each woman is as unique as the baby she has welcomed into the world and our treatment of mothers needs to reflect this
— Anne Madden, Founder of Proximity Telehealth

WHERE DO I START?

Breathing! We always start with breathing. I know what you are thinking. That isn’t an exercise…is it? Yes it actually is. Your diaphragm, the muscle that controls breathing, is active 24/7. Breathing significantly affects how you use the rest of your core system. Click on the video below to learn from Dr. Anne Madden, a women’s health physical therapist, what a “360 breath” looks like and how to do it.


What’s next after breathing?

After looking at a woman’s breathing patterns, the next place our specialist look at is your ribs. Rib positioning, movement, and angle can play a significant role in diastasis healing. Click below to see EXACTLY how we assess a patients ribs and how you can perform these assessments on yourself to identify if your ribs may be contributing to your symptoms.

Are you Ready to Start Working Out Again After Having a Baby? Here are Three Signs That You are NOT

We all know that having a baby is a happy and joyful time, but there are some very common physical problems that can occur that I wish someone had warned me about during my pregnancy. I am a physical therapist and mother of three, and my goal, like most of you, was to get back to activity and be a healthy mom. Instead, when I thought I was doing something healthy for my body, like returning to running and exercise, I was really overwhelming a system that wasn’t ready for it. I started to have every one of the symptoms below and felt like my body was falling apart.

“I am a physical therapist and mother of three, and my goal, like most of you, was to get back to activity and be a healthy mom.”

I used my knowledge as a PT and extensively researched my conditions and the treatments available. The common solutions were surgery or kegels, and nothing in between. Kegels didn’t work and surgery wasn’t acceptable to me. What changed things for me was a small group of women and pelvic health focused PTs who were determined to provide treatment for these conditions without surgery. I was ready to join that movement and took all the education I could get my hands on to solve my own problems. This inspired me to focus my practice on educating and helping women get back to the activities they love, like I was able to do.

Three Common Symptoms

Here are the three most common symptoms I treat in my women’s focused PT practice that you need to consider as you get back to activity after having a baby.

1. Leaking - Your Body is Telling Your Something is Wrong

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Incontinence, unintended leaking of urine or feces, happens to up to 40% of women after having a baby. Most often this occurs when women cough, sneeze, or jump. Because this symptom is so common many women accept this as badge of motherhood. Here is the reality - leaking is your body telling you that something is wrong, just like a faucet only leaks when there is a problem. The pressure and stress placed on your system is overwhelming its ability to function properly. Continuing to place those same stresses on your body will only further weaken your system. I’ll say it again...leaking is not OK and is important to resolve now. Take care of your body so that you are not one of the 50% of women over the age of 65 who are incontinent in the U.S. today.

2. Bulging or Heaviness - aka Prolapse

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Prolapse literally means falling out. In this case, we are talking about internal organs such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum that can descend to the point of coming out of the vaginal opening or give you the feeling of falling out.  Again, if you have a heaviness or bulging in your vagina then your support structures are currently being stressed beyond their maximum capacity. Further pressure and stress without treatment will continue to weaken the system and ultimately lead to failure of the support structures.

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3. Abdominal Separation

Diastasis Recti, a separation between your abdominal muscles along the midline, often leaves women continuing to look pregnant or have a “pooch” long after they have given birth. This is a symptom that your abdominal muscles are currently stressed beyond capacity and unable to heal due to continued stress, pressure, and/or weakness. This separation can be wide and deep and its important to know how deep and wide yours is. Over the long run, this condition can lead to further symptoms like back and hip pain as your body tries to compensate for this weak link in the system.


Go From These Symptoms To The Activities You Love- There is Something You Can Do

The common theme here is that stress and pressure beyond the capacity of the system can cause these symptoms to occur. In my case, I became my own most important physical therapy patient and learned I could train my pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to handle stress and pressure better. Through that, I eliminated the symptoms I was experiencing. For you, no matter how long you have had this condition, there is something that can be done.

Take Our Free Pelvic and Core Health Mini-Course

In this course, you will get a series of three videos sent to your email to see EXACTLY what I teach my patients on breathing and managing the pressure in their abdomen during their initial treatment sessions when they present with one of these three issues. Enjoy!

Don't Ignore Your Pelvic Floor

What difference does a good foundation make?

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About a year our house was completed, we noticed large diagonal cracks were forming above the doors. We patched the cracks and then three months later noticed they reappeared and were slowly getting bigger and bigger. Nail pops in the ceiling came next, followed by doors that would no longer open or close correctly.

Time to call in the experts

What is going on here? Why do these issues keep reappearing and getting worse? We quickly realized that we needed help. We needed experts to assess what was really going on. We called in foundation experts who performed all kinds of tests and determined the symptoms we were seeing, the cracks and misaligned doors, were caused by a faulty foundation.

What does this have to do with my pelvic floor?

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We see the same type of pattern in our bodies. The foundation of your body (your pelvis and pelvic floor) need to be functioning well to support the rest of your house (shoulders, knees, neck, etc). When your foundation is faulty, the pain and symptoms can be felt in body parts that are far from the problem site. These symptoms are like the nail pops and cracks in my house and cannot be resolved without correcting and maintaining your alignment. We know that your body is not in a static position all day long (or shouldn't be) so we need a healthy pelvis and pelvic floor to function during our movement/work/daily activities. Once you have a healthy foundation in place, you have a solid base from which your arms and legs can work.

Time to get to work

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Good news for you! Physical therapists are the foundation experts for the body. We assess your normal standing and sitting alignment and pelvic floor function. We teach you how to find your ideal alignment to get your pelvic floor activated and stabilizing your pelvis. I refer to this as your "home base." In the beginning, we teach you to start from home base before you move and over time your body will naturally return to this new home base without consciously thinking about it. Like with our house, you may need professional guidance or expertise to figure out how to adjust your foundation or change your habits to maximize the ability to use your body in pain free ways. Have you tried to spot fix your body only to have the pain return or new pains begin?

If this sounds like you...It might be time to call in an expert.

Book a Discovery Session today to see how Proximity experts can help!

Kegels Not Working For You? 3 Reasons Why

If you are a woman, chances are you and kegels have crossed paths before. Kegels have traditionally been the ONLY exercise prescribed to women trying to recover after giving birth. Unfortunately, studies have shown that pelvic floor muscle training programs (kegels) are successful for only about 55% of women. So what about the other 45%?

I have been a physical therapist for over thirteen years and own a practice focused on women returning to activities they love with a healthy pelvic floor. Our specialists know that there is so much more to offer women than just one exercise. Here are the top 3 reasons we see kegels fail for women and what else women can do to recover!

1. PELVIC FLOOR WEAKNESS IS NOT ACTUALLY YOUR PROBLEM

Traditional pelvic floor exercises, such as kegels, treat the symptom of the pelvic floor weakness. But is your pelvic floor actually weak? Or is your problem that the communication between your brain and the pelvic floor has been disrupted due to having a baby, having surgery, changing medication, trauma, or having been on bed rest?  With the women I work with, I want to discover why the pelvic floor is not functioning correctly before prescribing exercises.

2. YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES MAY BE TOO TIGHT

Many women have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight. Performing a kegel exercise on top of an already too tight muscle will only make it tighter. A tight, short pelvic floor that cannot relax then becomes weak and can cause symptoms of incontinence and pelvic pain.

3. THE TIMING AND STRENGTH OF YOUR KEGEL

A healthy pelvic floor responds automatically to stress from gravity, movement activities, and increased pressure in your abdomen. Your pelvic floor should react differently depending on the type of challenge. For example, your pelvic floor will need a stronger contraction when you are lifting your toddler vs. lifting a pencil. Training the pelvic floor with proper timing and with proper force is essential for healthy function. A traditional kegel trains your pelvic floor to react one way and when you are laying or sitting. Most women have symptoms of pelvic floor problems when they are up and moving. We need to train the muscles to react correctly in the movements where the symptoms happen.

Sign up here for “Pelvic Floor Recovery from the Pros”

As a mother of 3 and a women’s health physical therapist who suffered with incontinence and prolapse after having my children, I know how embarrassing, frustrating and depressing it is to struggle with these conditions. Kegels did not work for me and in fact made my symptoms significantly worse. If this sounds like you, join me here for “Pelvic Floor Recovery from the Pros.” We will give you 3 of our best tips on pelvic floor recovery and what to START doing today to immediately improve your pelvic and core control and function.

Why You Should Consult a Physical Therapist After Having a Baby

Ask any woman who has recently had a baby if her body changed during that 9 month process. The resounding answer will be “Yes!” These body changes affect the way you sit, stand, walk, and even sleep. Then comes the birth of your baby! There are hours of stretching, pushing, pulling, potential tearing, and even possible major surgery in the form of a cesarean. Does that sound like a walk in the park or more like a serious injury?

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Here is some common advice new moms get, “Just rest, recover, and slowly ease back into exercise as you feel you can after your 6 week checkup.” Sound familiar? Does that seem like adequate medical advice for what you just went through or what activities you hope to return to? How do you know when you are ready to return to the gym, running, Crossfit, or yoga? What are the symptoms that your pelvic floor is not recovering as it should? Is there a danger in returning to activities too soon?

Great News! That outdated care and lack of information is about to go out the window. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) released new recommendations in April 2018 acknowledging the lack of follow up care for women post delivery.

ACOG now recommends that postpartum care should be an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter

Women have different problems at all different times in that first year of recovery so a single visit at 6 weeks post delivery is no longer cutting it. Each woman's recovery from birth is as unique as her new baby. These 6 areas that now must be included in care:

• mood and emotional well-being
• infant care and feeding

• sexuality contraception and birth spacing
• sleep and fatigue
• physical recovery from birth
• chronic disease management
• health maintenance

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Do you want to return to being a fit and healthy person even though you are a mother now? Of course you do! Physical therapists are the ideal providers to address the majority of these conditions. We will customize a plan for you based completely on your strengths and struggles but most importantly on who you want to be at the end of the sessions.

Want to get started right now? Join our FREE Pelvic and Core Health Mini-Course to see EXACTLY what I teach all my patients during their first one-on-one treatment session.