Crap, after writing that title I can’t get Olivia Newton-John out of my head. I might just have to make you all suffer with me…
Now that we are all singing the same tune, let’s get back to my original topic… Physio (aka Physiotherapy)
So let’s start with why I needed Physio. Following my delivery, I was rushed off to surgery to repair severe 3rd degree perineal tearing, several lacerations, a torn blood vessel and an internal tear that spiraled down my vagina. Yep, popping out babies is hard work. After 5 days in hospital to recover, and then another 4 months of near inactivity and a heck of a lot of pain my specialist told me I was ready to start Physio.
Wait a minute! Isn’t physio for when you have some sort of crazy sports injury that you need to recover from? Well yes, but physiotherapists also specialize in a number of different treatments including post-partum treatments to strengthen your pelvic floor and help with diastasis recti (split muscles in your stomach). I was excited and terrified at the same time. I was terrified because I was still in significant pain. It still hurt to sit, to stand for too long, to squat, to go to the bathroom, etc. But, I was excited because I was hoping it would help because essentially I had tearing that was equivalent of cutting your bicep in half and I wanted to return to a pain-free quality of life.
Physiotherapy turned out to be exactly what I needed. I learned that a lot of my pain was caused by my scar tissue and the tight connective tissue around it. Through my physio’s expert treatment, and yes this was invasive, my scars have become loose and pliable and stretchy just like the rest of my skin. There was homework of course, and I was prescribed wax dilators (or as my husband calls them the medicinal dildos) to help stretch my inner scar.
I also learned that I needed to gain some pelvic floor strength, aka kegals. This would help with the leaky pee issue. I learned the trick to kegals is breathing while you do them. There’s none of this counting to 10 business, simply holding your kegal for 3 deep breaths for reps of 7 about 6 times a day does the trick. My physio taught me that breathing was key. I’ve mentioned this to a few of my other momma friends, and they also found this helped immensely. Basically if you aren’t breathing, you’re doing it wrong.
Finally, due to the extreme trauma to my pelvic floor and a slight bit of diastasis recti I had some definite core muscle strength problems, which have been causing back pain. My physio is helping with that as well. Everything from retraining my muscles to operate together to helping the alignment of my back which had become all twisted.
Post-partum physiotherapy has helped to give me my freedom back and I would recommend it to anyone with even slight pain or weak pelvic floors after pregnancy.
Can Any Physiotherapist Help?
Physiotherapists who treat pelvic floor issues are specialists who have recieved specialized training. Make sure you find someone with the correct area of specialization.
I remember asking my Physio how she got into this specialty area, and it came after she had her own children. She went to see another specialist because she was having problems with incontinence, and the specialist was able to solved her problems after 3 visits. She realized then, that if she a physiotherapist couldn’t help herself, there was a lot of women out there who could benefit from her specializing in the field.
Should You Go?
This is probably a question best answered by your doctor/specialist/midwife especially if you need a referral for health benefit reasons. But if you have had any significant tearing, problems with incontinence, or diastasis recti (split tummy muscles) a physiotherapist specializing in this area can more than likely help.