How physical therapy saved me during pregnancy

Photo by Olivia McCarty

I always heard how your second baby would be a tough pregnancy, but I was in for a surprise. Being fairly healthy and working out consistently didn’t make a difference for me. Being only 15 months out from my first baby, my body still hadn’t fully adjusted back to normal yet. By about month 4 or so into my second pregnancy, I started having terrible back spasms at night, waking up screaming. Thankful for my husband all these nights for waking up and helping me, massaging it and comforting me. I was familiar with normal achiness from my first pregnancy, but I knew this was different. It was my upper right back and nothing was helping. Heat made it worse and I was at a loss of what to do. I became so frustrated and sad, not being able to do everyday tasks or fully able to play with and take care of my daughter. That was truly the worst part. I was already going through the anxiety of welcoming another baby where she wouldn’t get my full attention. So like any determined parent would do, I sought help and answers. I wouldn’t take no for an answer and chalk it up to “normal pregnancy symptoms” as many doctors and others had told me.DSC04790

I called around to my insurance to see what would be covered. I reached out to my facebook mom groups for guidance to see if anyone experienced something similar. I talked to physical therapist family members. A lot of people recommended chiropractic care. So I decided to try it. I went to one complimentary appointment and left there not feeling convinced it would offer relief. It wasn’t for me. (And this doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, I just felt uneasy about all the adjustments during pregnancy) And honestly, I left there with a suggestive problem of scoliosis. And I wasn’t convinced.

I reached out to my Fit4Mom family and several people recommended a physical therapy office near me. My first visit was amazing! They listened to what was ailing me, took measurements, gave me exercises to build strength, and did deep tissue massage in my upper back. It was instant relief (although still had a long way to go). This was early January and I am still going 1-2 times a week. I have built up strength, learned to be more aware of my posture, and do exercises daily to maintain my strength. I can’t say enough good things about the therapists at Performance Physical Therapy here in Lexington, Ky. I have spent the most time with Erin and she has done more than I would ever expect to help me. She is one of the most caring, kind, human beings I have ever met. With two small children of her own, she is familiar with everything that comes with pregnancy.

With a growing belly and other areas getting bigger contributing to the pain, carrying a toddler around, and prepping for a new baby, physical therapy has been life changing for me. I can sleep through the night and enjoy my daughter during the day. The pain is not fully gone, but it is manageable. No more spasms and screaming at night. In the evening I have exercises to do after a long day to help the muscles relax. And a massage chair has been great too!!

DSC_0748Photo by Olivia McCarty

So all you fellow mamas with pain- DON’T GIVE UP! There is hope for your pain relief. I hope to take these techniques and lessons into postpartum care too. You know, the times where you hunch over breastfeeding. I will definitely be more aware of posture and continue to strengthen the muscles. One thing I did learn is that your upper back/shoulder/rotator cuff area is super sensitive and you have to make a conscious effort to build strength. It is very fragile. IMG_7201

Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts! I hope if you are reading this, you advocate for your body during pregnancy. Only you know if what you are feeling is normal. You got this mama!

Thanks for reading!

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