Ergonomics

 

Your body wasn’t designed to be sedentary for hours at a time.  But there are more ideal positions for your neck, arms and legs that can reduce the chance of sustaining a repetitive strain injury.  Whether you’re using a sitting desk, standing desk or are getting used to working from home, the right setup can make all of the difference. Check out the links below for a few of our posts on these topics!

 

FAMILY PHYSIOTHERAPY, ASSESSING AND TREATING PERSISTENT INJURIES AND PAINS FOR THE RESIDENTS OF THORNHILL, MARKHAM AND VAUGHAN

The physiotherapists at Family Physiotherapy have been providing high quality assessment and treatment techniques using safe and evidence based techniques to the residents of Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Vaughan and Toronto. Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and take the time to provide you with the one on one care necessary to quickly get you back to the activities you love doing.  Comprehensive assessment and treatment techniques are always one on one without the use of assistants or double booking patients to make sure that you achieve your functional and sports goals as soon as possible.  Our therapists would be happy to help you to achieve your goals, contact the clinic to schedule a consultation to get you back on track.  Don’t let pain ruin your day!

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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 working from home

Are you spending more time on your laptop in the comfort of your home? Many of us now do. With social and physical distancing rules in place, you may be working and studying from home.
You probably know that slouching for long periods of time can hurt your neck. It can cause shoulders to feel pain too. When you slouch, you curve your midback, placing your shoulder blades further apart and causing your shoulders to rotate in. This can create pain by putting your rotator cuff muscles on stretch. It can also lead to compression of your rotator cuff tendons, causing pain and inflammation of the tendons with movement.
That doesn’t sound good, but what can you do to avoid this?
  • as difficult as it is, do NOT use your laptop on the couch or in bed
  • invest a bit of time to set up a proper home work station
  • if you can, use a docking station and have a separate keyboard, screen and mouse
  • if you don’t have a separate screen, then place your laptop up to your eye level and use a separate keyboard and mouse so that you’re not hunching over, looking down and having your forearms unsupported
  • if you must use your laptop, as its name indicates, on your “lap”, then place a cushion underneath it, tilt the screen back to avoid looking down and support your arms with pillows under your elbows
  • take stretch breaks every 30 minutes
If changing your home work station isn’t enough to resolve your symptoms, our team of physiotherapists is also working from home and can help you. A virtual assessment respects social distancing and can get you back on track. Contact the clinic for more information!

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Are you noticing that your neck and shoulder muscles have been sore? Have you noticed if you’ve been spending more time in front of a computer or screen?  Poor posture from shortened muscles can be one of the reasons.  In a previous blog post we discussed how these muscles can cause headaches.  Watch the video to see how to stretch out the most common tight muscles.  

 

Related Posts:

 

 

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Bend your knees when you lift?

What are some of the ways that you can reduce the chance of injury when lifting? Is bending your knees always the best strategy? Check out our video post on a few helpful tips to avoid injuring yourself during the start of gardening season.

 

 

 

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Form Is King

By Chris Chee, PT

There’s more to exercise than repetitions

Exercising provides us with numerous benefits; they can make us stronger, make us faster, make us more flexible, give us more energy, and help with pain to name a few. But to get the most out of our exercises they need to be performed correctly. An exercise performed improperly will not give us the benefits we are looking for but more importantly can lead to injury.

Compensating is a common cause of performing an exercise improperly as your body is trying to use areas that are not the primary targets due to a lack of strength and/or mobility in other areas. If you have ever done an exercise and not “felt it” in the areas you expect chances are looking at how you are performing the exercise, or your form, would help to address this.

 

Squats are a common complaint

As an example, if you have ever done a squat and felt mostly your low back tightening up and not much happening in your hips and thighs, correcting your form can help. Some common compensation patterns that we might see with squats include: rounding the shoulders forward, flexing through the low back, tucking your tailbone underneath you, having the knees buckle inward, and starting the squat by flexing through the knees instead of the hips.

Can you spot the squat errors? It’s not always a matter of powering it up or engage the glutes

Form isn’t always just “stick your chest out”

If you’ve been trying to be conscious of your form and are not feeling your exercises in the appropriate location or if you are experiencing pain with an exercise, it’s likely that you may have muscle imbalances or joint restrictions that are getting in the way.  In these cases, the common cues of “stick your chest out” or “engage your abs” may not be appropriate for you.

 

Prehab is more cost effective than Rehab

Addressing the difficulty before the injury is usually much more cost effective than waiting for an injury to develop.  If you have already tried to be conscious of your form and are not seeing results the next step should be to consult with a physiotherapist that has experience in assessing sports injuries.  In addition to the manual, or hands on, treatment that you receive, our physiotherapists are well trained to assess posture and form and come up with an appropriate exercise plan to help you achieve your goals. So whether you have been working out regularly, are looking to get back into a regular routine again, or are looking to start working out, the team at Family Physiotherapy is ready to help you achieve your health and fitness goals!

 

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Protect your back!

Snow Shoveling Tips

By Marven Bani, PT

With winter upon us, forecasts says there will be a lot of snow on the ground this year. Snow shoveling requires a lot of work and can lead to many low back injuries if not done properly.  At Family Physiotherapy, we want you to protect your back, we have developed a list of tips on using the proper mechanics on safe shoveling.

Some helpful shoveling tips can be summed up by PROTECT:

Pace yourself. Ensure you take breaks for every 10-15 minutes of shoveling.

Right shovel. Choose the correct size for you and utilize an ergonomic shovel that can help minimize injuries. One with an adjustable handle to ensure upright posture and ideally a sturdy lightweight shovel will reduce the load of your lifting.

Other options. Stop shoveling and use a snow blower instead. When used correctly,  it can put less stress on your low back and utilize the power of your legs to do the work.

Take time to warm up before you shovel the snow. Cold muscles are more vulnerable to injuries when under strain. Therefore, before you begin shoveling, you can warm up your back using:

  • heat (hot water bottle or heating pad)
  • performing a dynamic stretching routine
  • staying warm when you’re outdoors

Don’t forget to ensure that you are also using the proper footwear and staying hydrated throughout the process.

Ergonomic lifting. Bend from your hips, not your low back. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and use your legs when lifting. Avoid twisting with your back and instead pivot your whole body when turning.

Core. Ensure you use your abdominals when lifting, activating your muscles to help take the load off of your low back.

Take your time and listen to your body.

If you have any pains or aches, ensure you speak with your healthcare practitioner regarding any prior injuries before you start snow shoveling. Treating problems before they develop into pain is faster and more cost effective than letting underlying problems develop into pain.    If pain or problems have prevented you from being as active as you’d like during the winter months,  give our clinic a call and one of our physiotherapists or massage therapists will be happy to get you back on track!

 

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Weight Loss and your Naturopathic doctor

By: Adam Amodeo, ND

 

Why Optimal Body weight is important

Quitting smoking, improving your sleep, and achieving your optimal bodyweight are three of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the top three leading causes of death according to stats Canada. One in four Canadian adults lives with clinical obesity. Living a lifestyle that doesn’t promote excess adipose tissue (body fat) is one of the surest ways to improve longevity and quality of life.

Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ

Ask most people what the purpose of body fat is and they’ll tell you it’s a reservoir for energy storage.

What most people don’t know is that adipose tissue is actually an endocrine organ, meaning it secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream. These bioactive molecules are known as adipokines, and can have effects both locally and systemically.

Not only that, adipose tissue has receptors that allow it to communicate with traditional hormone systems and the central nervous system. It is through this communication network that adipose tissue affects a variety of processes in the body, including energy metabolism and even immune function. This central role can mean adverse consequences if adipose tissue is either in excess, or deficient. An August 2006 systematic review in The Lancet found patients with a low body-mass index (BMI) below 20 had an increased relative risk for total mortality and cardiovascular mortality. Too little body fat can negatively affect a person’s health as well.

Excess adipose tissue can result in high blood levels of sugar and fat, blood pressure that is too high, and blood that clots too readily. It also can increase general inflammation in the body. Where the body fat is located on the body can change the effect it has as well. Subcutaneous body fat, occurring just below the skin evenly throughout the body, doesn’t have the same negative consequences on organ function as fat surrounding the organs. Food that increases blood sugar rapidly can affect dopamine receptors in the brain and cause addiction, and rev up fat storage hormones like insulin. The science of adipose tissue as an endocrine organ is still relatively new, with the discovery of the hormone leptin first described in 1994. What is clear is that fat does more than just store energy, and it has long-term consequences on all systems of the body.

 

Barriers to weight loss are different for different people

Losing weight can be complicated for some people. There can be barriers. Many people have tried many times in the past. If you’ve tried before without results, there are certain conditions that can cause weight gain. Hypothyroidism, depression, and menopause are all examples of conditions that can make it difficult for a patient to lose weight. Weight loss strategies need to be personalized, to take into account specific barriers to weight-loss, including situational barriers, stress, depression, food craving, lack of time, lack of motivation. Before barriers can be removed they need to be identified. What is stopping you from eating something different at lunch? Are there any simple barriers that can be removed?  For some it may be not keeping those fast food coupons, even though it’s nice to get mail. Motivation and purpose need to be personal, and real as well.

 

It’s never too late, benefits occur quickly

A landmark study took place from 1986 to 1992, called the Lifestyle Heart Trial. Its purpose was to determine whether or not patients could sustain intensive lifestyle changes for 5 years, and what the effects of these changes would actually be on coronary heart disease, without the use of lipid-lowering drugs.  These patients already had moderate to severe coronary heart disease. They were split into two groups, one group making moderate small changes, and the other group undergoing a more comprehensive lifestyle overhaul.

In the group that made comprehensive changes, the narrowing of blood vessel pathways improved 4.5% after 1 year, and 7.9% after 5. This was in contrast to the control group, which experienced a worsening of the narrowing by 5.4% after one year, and 27.7% after 5 years. Furthermore, after 1 year the experimental group had a 37.2% reduction in LDL cholesterol, and a 91% reduction in episodes of chest pain. The control group had 6% reduced LDL, and a 165% increase in frequency of chest pain.

These findings were encouraging enough to extend the study for 4 additional years to investigate whether or not maintaining these changes were realistic, as well as if further changes could be seen. 71% of patients completed the 5 year follow-up and had maintained the comprehensive lifestyle changes. 75% of the control group patients still made moderate lifestyle changes.

For the first time it was scientifically proven that heart disease is not only preventable, but is also a reversible process. This means it is never too late to develop good habits, the body responds relatively quickly, and you will reap meaningful benefits, some of which you won’t be able to appreciate immediately.

 

Weight loss and the role of a naturopathic doctor

Whether you are looking to lose weight for medical reasons, to reduce the pain of arthritic joints or to meet a personal wellness goal, a consultation with a naturopathic doctor can be the first step to provide you with a personalized road map to achieve your goals.

 

Family Physiotherapy, assessing and treating sports injuries for the residents of Thornhill, Markham and Vaughan

Family Physiotherapy have been providing high quality assessment and treatment techniques using safe and evidence based techniques to the residents of Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Vaughan and Toronto. Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and take the time to provide you with the one on one care necessary to quickly get you back to the activities you love doing.

 

References

 ERIN E. KERSHAW AND JEFFREY S. FLIER “Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2004 89(6):2548–2556

Dean Ornish, MD; Larry W. Scherwitz, PhD; James H. Billings, PhD, MPH; K. Lance Gould, MD; Terri A. Merritt, MS; Stephen Sparler, MA; William T. Armstrong, MD; Thomas A. Ports, MD; Richard L. Kirkeeide, PhD; Charissa Hogeboom, PhD; Richard J. Brand, PhD “Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease”  JAMA, December 16, 1998—Vol 280, No. 23

Amanda J Kiliaan, Ilse A C Arnoldussen, Deborah R Gustafson “Adipokines: a link between obesity and dementia?” The Lancet Neurology Volume 13, No. 9, p913–923, September 2014

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Fear of falling: Understand it. Beat it.

By Sarah Makary, PT

New year. New you. Together, we can put an end to your Fear of Falling:

 

risk of fallingHave you recently cancelled plans because you were worried about falling? Maybe you have already experienced a fall or are consumed by anxious thoughts of possibly falling. Fear of falling is a major concern among many older adults and can result in a decreased quality of life.

 

Before we go any further, let’s define what fear of falling is:

 

Fear of Falling Definition:

Tinetti and Powell define it as, “The ongoing concern about falling that ultimately limits the performance of daily activities.”

 

In other words, fear of falling is the loss of confidence in your ability to maintain balance.

 

Prevalence of people falling: You are not alone

In the community, fear of falling has been reported in 12% to 65% of older adults (60 years of age and up), who have not previously fallen. In those who have experienced a fall, fear of falling is reported in 29% to 92% of older adults.

 

As we can see the fear of falling is prevalent in both individuals who have experienced a fall and those who have not.

 

The downward spiral:

As a result of this fear, a snowball effect occurs in which anxiety builds up, social isolation and avoidance of activity occurs.  This results in deconditioning and increased frailty and thus a greater risk of falling occurs.

 

A study by Lachman et al. found that going out when it’s slippery and reaching overhead are two activities most people avoid due to fear of falling.

 

Causes of fear of Falling:

The fear of falling may be a more serious problem than actual falls in older adults and therefore deserves close attention. Many resort to justifying fear of falling as a “normal aging process.” Though it may have some validity, fear of falling is multifactorial, meaning there are many reasons that could play into why you feel this way. Some reasons may include, though not exhaustive:

 

  • Poorer health status and functional decline
  • Frailty
  • Impaired balance
  • Not being able to get up immediately or at all
  • Psychological factors: depression and anxiety

 

What should I do: overcoming my fear and getting my confidence back

 

Because falls and fear of falling occur from a combination of factors, they require a multifactorial, interdisciplinary approach, i.e. more than one health professional.  Programs that are targeted to multiple patient-specific risk factors are most effective. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on how physiotherapy can help you decrease your fear of falling and prevent any future falls.

 

As mentioned above, a major reason for fear of falling can be loss of confidence in one’s own balance. Training balance has been shown to significantly reduce falls.

 

A Physiotherapist can perform a thorough assessment looking at different musculoskeletal components that may play into impaired balance. These include, your lower body strength, range of motion, sensation in your feet, proprioception, foot deformities as well as your general posture and amount of sway in different positions.

 

With this information, your physiotherapist will determine your limit of stability. Your physiotherapist can help you safely push this limit and train your balance. In addition, there are several reliable tools that can be used to assess your balance ability along with questionnaires to assess the severity of your fear of falling. These tools can be used to target your treatment appropriately and provide you with an objective way to track change over time.

 

Cognitive-behaviour therapy (a type of therapy that can help challenge negative thoughts to avoid the consequence of negative behaviour) coupled with balance, gait and strength training by a physiotherapist has shown to help improve results on the outcome measures used to assess fear of falling and increase one’s confidence and functional performance significantly.

 

Training balance:

  • Balance can be trained statically (maintaining stability without movement) and dynamically (maintaining stability with movement).

seated balance

  • Balance can be trained in different positions:
  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Two point kneeling
  • Four point kneeling
  • Walking

 

 

  • Balance can be challenged in different ways:
  • Reducing your base of support (feet together, heel to toe, braiding)
  • Removing your visual feedback (eyes closed)
  • Various surfaces (foam versus a hard surface)
  • Internal perturbations (reaching over head or combing your hair)
  • External perturbations (having someone gently apply force moving you in different directions)

balance retraining

Most importantly, balance exercises can be performed doing functional tasks such as folding laundry while standing to mimic activities of daily living you find are limited in.

 

If you have fallen in the past 12 months or have a fear of falling, contact your Physiotherapist today to see how you can beat this fear and prevent any future falls.

 

 

Family Physiotherapy, assessing and treating sports injuries for the residents of Thornhill, Markham and Vaughan

 

The physiotherapists at Family Physiotherapy have been providing high quality assessment and treatment techniques using safe and evidence based techniques to the residents of Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Vaughan and Toronto. Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and take the time to provide you with the one on one care necessary to quickly get you back to the activities you love doing.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Gomez, F., & Curcio, C-L. (2007). The development of a fear of falling interdisciplinary intervention program. Clinical Intervention Aging, 2 (4), 661-667. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686320/
  2. Gillespie, L.D., Gillespie, W.J., Robertson, M.C., Lamb, S.E., Cumming, R.G., & Rowe, B.H. (2001). Interventions for preventing falls in elderly people. Cochrane database systematic review, 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11686957
  3. Legters, K. (2016). Fear of Falling. The journal of American Physiotherapy Association, 82 (3), 264-272. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/82.3.264
  4. Scheffer, A.C., Schuurmans, M.J., Van Dijk, N., Van Der Hooft, T., & De Rooij, S.E. (2007). Fear of falling: measurement strategy, prevalence, risk factors and consequences among older persons. Oxford Journals, 37 (1), 19-24. http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/1/19.long

 

 

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Located in Thornhill we are conveniently located near Markham, Richmond Hill and North York.

2300 John Street Unit #7 Thornhill, Ontario

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Eat, sleep and work.  Unfortunately for most of us that seems to be our daily routine.  While most of us take the time to adjust our car seat or a bicycle to make sure that it fits properly, why do so few people think about properly setting up their work station?

Why are ergonomics important?

The most common injuries associated with occupational computer use are musculoskeletal injuries of the arms, head, neck and back.  These can be related to repetitive use injuries of the wrists and fingers, pressure areas on sensitive such as the carpal tunnel and overuse of the large back muscles from poor sitting postures

Seated Office Ergonomics

Seated work station
Seated work station

Are you experiencing neck and/or back pain? Do you sit at a desk for most of your day? Perhaps your desk set-up is contributing to your symptoms. Here are some tips on ideal office ergonomics.

Adjusting your chair

Your chair should be adjusted to allow you to sit with your knees slightly lower than your hips and with your feet supported on the floor. You should adopt an upright sitting posture with your buttocks to the back of the chair and utilize a back support to maintain the natural curvature in your low back. Your shoulders should be relaxed and your elbows bent 90 degrees.  There should not be any hard or sharp objects on the arm rests.

Adjusting your monitor

Adjust your monitor so it is centred in front of you and at arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be no higher than eye level. If you have a window in your office, position your computer screen perpendicular to the window in order to reduce glare.

Positioning your mouse and keyboard

When in an ergonomically appropriate position the keyboard and mouse should be at the same level and allow the wrists and shoulders to stay relaxed.  When using your keyboard the wrist should be straight.  The Mouse should accommodate your hand and their should not be any pressure points at the carpal tunnel.

Your Phone and other needed objects

If you are frequently on the phone, consider utilizing a head set in order to avoid straining your neck by wedging the phone between your ear and shoulder.

Objects that you use frequently throughout the day should be placed within forearm’s reach, while objects you use occasionally throughout the day should be placed within one arm’s length from you.

To avoid sustained and static postures, it is a good idea to take frequent breaks that will allow you to stretch and get out of your chair. If you find you do not have time in your work schedule, try to plan your daily activities in a way that will allow you to alternate tasks frequently (ex. filing vs. data entry).

Standing Office Ergonomics

Standing office ergonomics
Standing office ergonomics

With the recent studies showing the health benefits associated with movement and reducing sitting time there has been a trend towards the use of standing or sit to stand desks.  While standing the guidelines for the position of the mouse, keyboard, monitor and other objects in your work space remain the same, there are some additional factors to consider with the elimination of a chair.

Your feet

When using a standing work station additional stresses are placed on the feet.  It is therefore not recommended to stand for long periods of time on concrete or metal floors.  Using a mat on the floor allows subtle movement of the calves and leg muscles.  It is also recommended that you use footwear that does not change the shape of your feet.  If your shoes are over compressing your feet they can reduce the ability of the muscles and bones of your feet to absorb your body weight.

Ergonomics and you

There is no “one size fits all” ergonomic solution for everyone.  Poorly set up work environments can be one of the factors affecting your ability to enjoy your sports and recreational activitie. The above examples are guidelines and are suitable for most people but may vary depending on your own personal health situation.  This may be due to a permanent limitation of joint movement such as with hip arthritis or due to a temporary condition such as a disc herniation or nerve root compression of the neck or low back.  Family Physiotherapy has put together two infographics to use as a reference to summarize general recommendations for sitting and standing office ergonomics. If you’re not sure if your symptoms may be due to your office setup then the first step is to have one of our physiotherapists assess your symptoms and the underlying factors that are contributing to them.

 

Family Physiotherapy serving the residents of Thornhill, Markham and Vaughan

The physiotherapists at Family Physiotherapy have been providing high quality assessment and treatment techniques using safe and evidence based techniques to the residents of Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, Vaughan and Toronto. Our therapists are continually upgrading their skills and take the time to provide you with the one on one care necessary to quickly get you back to the activities you love doing.

 

 

 

 

 

How to know when you’re ready for safe exercise after having a baby?

By Tanya Kestenberg, PT

 

  • Gentle exercise, such as walking, stretching and pelvic floor exercises can be started as soon as comfortable after uncomplicated delivery
  • If your baby was delivered by C-Section, wait 6-8 weeks to resume exercises, and do so only after your post-partum check-up by a physician
  • Practically speaking, walking is a great exercise to do with your baby, even a few weeks after C-Section since the baby is easily transportable in a stroller and will most likely enjoy being gently rocked as you push the stroller during your walk

 

What about more complicated exercises, such as weight lifting, Pilates and Yoga?

Do a simple self-assessment to see if you’re ready:

  1. Curl up test: lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted. Slowly try to do a crunch up (lift your head and shoulders, as you keep your chin tucked in).
  1. Leg lift test: lie on your back with both legs straight, then lift one leg slowly about 2 inches off the ground

 

Diastasis recti
Diastasis recti, a split in the abdominal muscle at the front near the belly button often is diagnosed in the last trimester or after delivery.  It does not resolve spontaneously but often is corrected with specific exercises

 

During either of the tests, you must assess for the following:

  • Do you have back pain or pubic area pain?
  • Do you feel a “soft” gap in your stomach (rectus abdominus) muscles?
  • Do you see any bulging (like a hernia) in the centre of your stomach?
  • Feel your pelvic floor (a space between your legs), do you have a bulging out at your vaginal opening?

 

If any of the above mentioned 4 symptoms occur, then see your family doctor, obstetrician and/or a physiotherapist for a complete assessment prior to beginning the exercises.

 

 

WHAT ARE NORMAL SYMPTOMS DURING DIFFERENT STAGES OF RECOVERY AFTER DELIVERY?

muscles of the pelvic floor0-8 weeks postpartum:

  • You may experience pain in the back, hips or pelvis
  • You may have difficulty controlling urine, gas or stool
  • Your neck, arms, backs and hips may be sore, as you’re recovering and getting used to new positions and demands as you’re caring for your baby

During this stage of healing allow yourself the time to heal, relax and rest

 

8+ weeks postpartum:

 

  • Your bleeding should have stopped, and incisions or tears should have healed
  • You should no longer feel pain in any of the above mentioned areas
  • You should have control over your bowel and bladder
  • You may be considering returning to your pre-baby activity level

 

What can I do to ensure healing goes as expected?

 

  • Use good posture as you care for your baby. Don’t slouch when you nurse your baby, but use pillows to lift the baby up to your breast instead of slouching yourself over towards the baby. When carrying your baby, engage stomach muscles and don’t lean back or arch your back.
  • Begin training your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles. You should not feel pain as you do these exercises. See a physiotherapist to make sure you’re doing them correctly or if you have any concerns.
  • Stretch or massage (with a tennis ball or Pilates roller) your neck, back, shoulders and legs to help relieve soreness.
  • Remember to rest and look after yourself, as you’re doing the most important job of caring for your baby.

 

How would I know if healing is not progressing as it should?

Here is a list of symptoms you should NOT feel:

  • Ongoing back, pelvis, groin or abdominal pain
  • Leaking urine, gas or stool with laughing, jumping, coughing, sneezing, walking, running and/or lifting
  • Being unable to control stool or urine when you feel an urge to go to the washroom
  • Pressure or bulging in your vagina or rectum
  • Bulging in your abdomen after 8 weeks postpartum during any exercise
  • Difficulty doing any of your daily activities due to pain or other symptoms 8 weeks post partum

A few final notes on Returning to Exercise after Pregnancy

  • Avoid stretching exercises to the area that has stitches, until the incision/tear has healed (6-10 weeks)
  • Start exercising gently and be patient. Remember, everyone is different and will recovery differently, so don’t compare and rush yourself. Exercising should feel good, listen to your body
  • Remember to maintain proper rest, nutrition and hydration
  • If you’re breastfeeding, you most likely would require extra fluid during the exercise and throughout your day
  • If breastfeeding, try to exercise after baby is fed and breasts are empty. At least wear a good supportive bra and not a sport bra (as it would compress the breasts too much, which is undesirable)

Your ligaments are going to be lax for some time after delivery, and even longer if you’re breastfeeding (for the entire duration of lactation and even sometime after). This means you may be more prone to injury caused by ligamentous laxity (i.e. twisting your ankle, seemingly unexplained joint sprains, back, pelvic and hips pain).

 

Related Posts:

 

Not sure where to start?

If you are having trouble returning back to your activities post partum, our team of physiotherapists, massage therapists and naturopathic doctors would be happy to consult with you.  An individualized plan addressing some of the pre pregnancy compensations can get you back to feeling your best and achieving your fitness goals.  Contact us for a consultation today!