Back Pain Blog

For Providers . . . Your Patients May Benefit From Obstetrics Physical Therapy!

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT
Physical therapists are uniquely trained to treat musculoskeletal dysfunctions. An Obstetrics PT specializes in the evaluation and treatment of women during pregnancy having pain or dysfunction related to pregnancy, delivery, or postpartum. Postpartum problems may arise immediately after delivery or anytime during the first year.
Who should be referred:
Back, sacral, hip, pelvic and rib pain
Neck or upper back pain
Sciatica, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet or other nerve symptoms
Decreased ability to perform work or home activities
Weak or tight muscles
Balance deficits
Urinary urgency or stress incontinence during pregnancy
Patients who desire to start or continue a safe exercise regimen
Diastasis rectus abdominus greater than 2 cm
Referrals can be phoned, faxed or emailed to:
Compass Rehabilitation Center
250 E. Saginaw St., East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 337-3080 – Telephone
(517) 337-3082 – Fax
Please include the following information on the script:
Treatment diagnosis (back pain, sciatica, etc)
Please note OB or Postpartum on the script!!!
Any precautions
‘PT eval and tx’ Attn: Karen Woodman
Please include a frequency and duration for treatment (i.e. 3 times per week for 4 weeks)
If possible, please include the nurse’s name and direct number for PT staff to contact.
Please feel free to contact our office if we can be of assistance to you!

Yoga and Exercise Build Strength During Pregnancy

By Karen Woodman, Obstetrics PT


Yoga is a safe way to improve flexibility and build your strength during pregnancy, but there are some precautions. Keep in mind the following recommendations before you start any yoga program:
  • Avoid extreme end-range twisting movements. Remember, your ligaments are lax and you are more prone to spinal injury with extreme movements, especially if you are combining twisting and bending (never a good idea, actually).
  • Avoid 'Downward Dog'. Yes, I know…it is a common yoga pose, but it is not recommended during pregnancy because the increased pressure of the abdomen being pushed into your ribcage in a prolonged standing with head down position compromises the diaphragm and your ability to breath. It also can lead to lightheadedness. Just skip it to be safe.
  • Avoid 'hot' yoga. You don't want your core body temperature to rise over 102 degrees or there is an increased risk of neural tube defects.
  • Drink lots of water…you can dehydrate quickly with exercise.
  • Monitor your tolerance to exercise. If you feel like the exercise is causing you to pant or feel hot and sweaty, slow down.
To get started, try this Top Ten Pregnancy Yoga website for review of some of the videos available. Please let me know about any other good ones out there! I am not making any specific recommendations, so keep in mind the above tips when choosing any exercise program, and have fun!  

Pregnancy Related Lower Back Pain News Report

For pregnant women, back pain can make it hard to walk or do daily activities, often forcing a woman into bed rest. Compass Rehabilitation Center in East Lansing, Michigan has a solution. WILX News 10 has a special report on this new back pain therapy.

Nine months of back pain through pregnancy is especially taxing. The Compass Rehabilitation Center has a program made for women, by women.

"In a month my pain had gone from being so bad I couldn't walk or stand, to like a 2, which is really nothing." - Melissa Cooke

Physical Therapy Tips For Pregnant Women

  1. Wear shoes with good arch supports. All your ligaments are stretching out including the ones on the bottom of your feet.
  2. Pace yourself and keep hydrated! Your body temp raises quickly during exercise now that you are carrying extra cargo.
  3. Watch your posture, especially while sitting for long periods of time. Sit as tall as you can, on your 'sitz bones' instead of your tailbone.
  4. Breathe! Another reason to watch your posture is to allow enough room for your lungs to expand. Your baby has already taken up real estate in your belly pushing your diaphragm into the ribs.
  5. Do your kegals! The pelvic floor muscles cradle your growing uterus and provide support for the bladder and bowel. If they get weak, you leak!
  6. Move! Now is not a time to take up a new sport, but you can usually continue with familiar activities with modifications. Avoid high impact sports and anything that is going to put you at risk for falling on your belly. Rule of thumb: If it hurts, modify it or don't do it.
  7. Strengthen your inner abdominal muscle, the Transverse Abdominus, by pulling your belly button up and in while sitting or standing tall. This will help prevent back pain and help you get your flat stomach back.
  8. Consider asking your OB for a prescription to physical therapy if you are having back, pelvic, hip or other pain that is affecting your daily life. We can help!