Virago Physical Therapy

Conditions Treated

Pre/Post Natal Care

Most physical "ailments" experienced during pregnancy can be treated with physical therapy. A common pregnancy woe is low back pain, but it is treatable with physical therapy which includes relaxation techniques, proper body mechanics, and stretching and strengthening exercises. Some of these carry over into the post-natal period. Thus, it is important for pregnant women to receive pre-natal care and if required, post-natal care.

Below is a summary of some changes that may occur during pregnancy:

First Trimester:

  • Low back pain
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Nausea ("morning sickness")
Second Trimester:
  • Diastasis Recti
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Low back pain
Third Trimester:
  • Low back pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Back pain
  • Leg edema
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constipation
Back Pain:

Back pain may manifest in the lumbar spine, sacro-iliac joints, or lumbo-sacral joint. Commonly, the pubic symphysis is also affected. Back pain may appear in any of the trimesters and may result in sciatica. Causes: Postural changes to accommodate the growing fetus/uterus, ligament laxity, weak abdominal wall, hormonal influence (relaxin), posterior core muscles or hip muscle tightness, etc. Treatment: postural evaluation and correction, body mechanics, myofascial release, deep tissue massage, stretching, strengthening.

Diastasis Recti:

During pregnancy, the rectus abdominis muscle can separate from the midline. It is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscle from the mid-line; above, at, or below the umbilicus. A separation of 2 cm and more is considered significant. Predisposing factors may include weak abdominal tone or hormonal influence (relaxin) in pregnant women. The diastasis may appear during the second trimester and result in low back pain. A diastasis renders abdominal support weak, and may result in herniation of abdominal contents through the separation. A diastasis can be corrected with the use of support belts and exercise.

Shortness of Breath:

During pregnancy, the growing uterus blocks the descent of the diaphragmatic muscle and by the 3rd trimester results in its elevation (passive) by approximately 4 cm. An elevated diaphragm may result in shortness of breath or dyspnea with mild exertion. Proper posturing, breathing mechanics, and myofascial release can alleviate symptoms.

When a pregnant woman lies on her back, the uterus compresses the diaphragm which increases the pressure on the inferior vena cava. Thus, it is advisable for a woman to lie on her left side or on her back with a rolled towel placed under her right hip. These positions place the least pressure on the blood supply.

Post-Partum Care:

After childbirth, women should have a follow up with a physical therapist in order to be put back on a proper exercise and stretching program. Some women notice changes after childbirth, that might have not been present during pregnancy. Again, these discomforts can be treated.
  • Back pain
  • Diastasis recti
  • Scarring
  • C-Section, episiotomy, or perineal tear
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Prolapse
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Pelvic pain
Physical Therapy Treatment Includes:
  • Soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, tissue massage
  • Muscle energy techniques/li>
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Posture, lifting techniques and biomechanics