Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pregnancy and Physical Therapy - a Public Service Announcement

I went back for my first pregnancy PT appointment last week. It was great getting to see Patti and Dawn (my two PT's from my previous six months of therapy, 2 years ago). I think know they were really excited to see me pregnant.

I was really hoping for just a "tune up"/do -this-and-that and come-see-us-in-a-month type appointment. I really should have known better. That "my tailbone is about to come through my skin at any moment" pain should have been my first clue.

Due to my previous therapy having to do mainly with my pelvic floor and interior hip muscles, must of the modalities of care took place internally. Hence the reason all those lovely "" ultrasounds with our fertility specialist weren't that big of a deal. As much as I love Dawn and Patti, that round of PT is, to date, the most violating experience I have ever been through! Ha ha I mean really, who enjoys having computer leads, probes, and other various equipment hooked up to/in your...ahem...lady business? Enough on the past miseries... onto the present.

Patti started throwing our words that I hadn't had to think much about in the time since I was discharged from PT -  psoas, ileo-scarcral this that and the other, rotated L3 and L4, and my forever nemesis - that stupid pirformis! Granted, pregnancy hormones can get the best of you when you least expect it, and most the time I go into new situations knowing water works could start at any unpredictable time. However, I was not expecting to cry again/ever at PT! Slowly, I could feel them coming on. Luckily, I think my PT could see them quickly coming on and assured it was not as bad as last time  and would not  entail the same types of corrective therapy. Praise the Lord, Thank you, Jesus!

I ended up being there over an hour and a half, getting my evaluation and treatment done. Part of the treatment included a long massage. And even if it was in my gluteal/hip region, it felt incredible! I definitely left in pain, but it was different pain then I went in experiencing. Good pain. Healing pain. I am pretty familiar with that type of pain now. And what I now realize, I was in pain I didn't even realize I was experiencing. It either crept on so slowly I didn't notice, or my body awareness is even worse then we all originally thought. I mean I did tackle a 3-4 year old boy in our office who walked "underneath" my 21+week preggo belly. And yes, I definitely mean tackle... with a touch of a drop kick. The good thing about being pregnant, people always leap to your aid/defense, and place very little blame  on you. Luckily the kid was physically fine. He is just even more scared of the pediatricians office now.:) 

The biggest, and most disheartening, surprise was the fact that I already am developing a Diastasis. I have been experiencing shooting umbilical pain since about week 4, and several of my doctors/NP's said it was just the early rapid growth of my abdomen. Not so much. More like my abdominal muscles splitting in half. Luckily, it wasn't very advanced, and should be easily correctable, even during my pregnancy. On the plus side, my lower abdominal muscles are stronger now, then the first time I was evaluated, not pregnant, two years ago! Thank you Turbo Fire/Turbo Jam!!!

I remember when I was first in PT, Patti telling me she thought I might need some PT if/when I got pregnant, and definitely rehab after delivery, in fact she thought all women could use some PT after child birth. One of my brothers is about to finish PT school himself, and I have heard him echo the same sentiments. Having been through all this PT and being a nurse, of course I have done my own research, and I could NOT agree with them more. AND, I highly urge any pregnant women out there not to just "take" the public and/or your doc's word on pregnancy=pain, live with it and deal with it... its only 9-10 months. Be proactive. Make sure you are taking the best care possible of your body, so that your recovery will go much smoother, and in a shorter period of time. After most traumatic medical events - sports injuries, accidents, surgeries - you get to go home, recoup, and be taken care of. Childbirth is the only medically traumatic even I can think of where you come home with a living, breathing, crying, sleepless, human being, that relies solely on your for their health and well-being. Not exactly the convalescence afforded during rehab/after surgery. Sure our bodies are made to nourish and deliver these little miracles of life, but that doesn't mean they do it perfectly.

Patti really helped reassure me with stretches, strengthening and toning exercises, etc... that won't hurt Ellie. I was using my TINS unit (if you don't have one of these and are a fairly active person, go out and buy one!) this past weekend, and Ellie started going crazy inside me. I freaked out and thought I was zapping her with electrical current. I became that patient that interrupted Patti's weekend at home with family, with a series of texts imploring assurance I wasn't electrocuting my baby. Of course, now on this side of that brief hormonal freak out, I realize how utterly absurd that notion was, but all the same, Patti was very reassuring that Ellie was fine.

So, if you are experiencing any type of hip, back, pelvic, tailbone, umbilical, etc... pain - be that that patient that says "You have a friend" who went to PT and it made all the difference in the world, and get yourself checked out. Do it for yourself, do it for your baby, and do it for you poor hubby who is already going to be in/on the biggest learning curve of his life.:)

Off to do my in-home therapy!

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