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The 3 Reasons Why Pregnancy Is A Pain In The BUTT

… And What You Can Do About It NOW!

 

It’s no secret that pregnancy can be painful. In fact, I’ve written about it before (in this blog on the 3 Ways to Beat Pregnancy Pain).

A lot of my clients tell me that their doctors aren’t too helpful in helping them understand their pain, which why I have compiled this list of the 3 main causes of hip/back and glute pain in pregnancy and most importantly how massage during pregnancy can help you reduce pain, feel freer and more engergised!

 

Pelvic Girdle Pain (AKA: Pelvic Girdle instability)

 

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is a condition can affect 20% of women during pregnancy. PGP can occur due to changes in ligaments because of the hormone relaxin, which increases joint laxity.

Every day activities such as walking or standing can aggravate and cause strain within the joint. Pain may not be felt until several hours later. In some cases, pain can be constant.

PGP can be managed by avoid aggravating activities, such as lifting and weight bearing activities.  Strengthening exercise that support the abdominals, pelvic floor and lower back can also be beneficial.

Massage can also help alleviate the symptoms of PGP through releasing tight muscles and ligaments in the glutes, hips and lower back.

 

Round Ligament Pain

Several ligaments support the uterus as the foetus grows. One of these ligaments is called the round ligament. The role of the round ligament is to keep the uterus in a forward titled position.

As the round ligament stretches due to foetal growth pain can be felts from the top of the uterus to the groin and can even extend to the vulvar and upper thigh.

Depending on foetal positioning pain can be felt on one side, or both sides.

Massaging the abdomen can help to alleviate round ligament pain by assisting in maintaining uterine positioning and stabilising the lower back.

 

Sciatic Pain

Sciatica is the name given to a series of symptoms, not a specific problem. The sciatic nerve runs down the lower back, through the glutes and innervates the lower leg and feet.

A slipped or injured disc can be the primary cause of sciatica, but sometimes, the functioning of the nerve can be affected, causing pins and needles or pain down the back of your leg.

In some cases, tight gluteal muscles can mimic the pain symptoms of sciatica. Massage can assist in releasing tight glute muscles and provide support to balance the lower back.

 

The next step…

Just because pain during pregnancy is common does not mean that you must put up with it. Understanding the cause of pain can help in alleviating the symptoms so that you can have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

 

Struggling with Pregnancy Aches? Book a Massage now!

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3 Ways to Beat Pregnancy Pains

While a time of joy and excitement, pregnancy can also be a time of discomfort, pain and general feelings of exhaustion. Many women experience similar common ailments, such as low back pain and leg cramps. In this blog, I hope to give an overview of these common ailments, why they occur and more importantly, what you can do about it!

 

Posture

During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity shifts forward as their baby develops and their belly gets bigger. This causes a woman’s posture to, for want of a better term – “go outta whack”. Shoulders slouch and curve, the neck is pushed forward, bums stick out. In some cases, women enter pregnancy with postural complaints and these issues become exacerbated during pregnancy.

 

The Role of Hormones

Smooth muscles, connective tissue, cartilage joints and ligaments “soften” during pregnancy thanks to the hormones progesterone and relaxin.  This means that the hip, sacroiliac and pubic symphysis joints become less stable. Most women can cope with these changes, but for women with hypermobility (extra-flexibility) may suffer from additional discomfort.

 

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be the result of changes to posture. Slouchy shoulders cause tightness in the upper back, shoulder, neck and chest. Shoulder tension may also lead to headaches.

 

Shoulder and Neck Stretch

Sitting in a chair, place you left hand under your bottom. Then tilt your head to the right, drawing your right ear down to your right shoulder. Use your right arm to hold the left side of your head above your ear to intensify the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Click Here For A Visual Guide.

 

Leg Cramps and Pain

In the warmer months, many of my clients complain of leg cramps. Common from the second half of pregnancy, leg cramps can have a sudden onset and often occur at night.  Leg cramps can be eased by gently exercising and stretching the calf prior to going to bed. Painful legs can often be a result of increased weight in the lower half of the body. Extra pressure is placed on the inferior vena cava (the largest vein supplying blood to the lower limbs).

 

Leg Stretch

Place your hands at arm’s length on a wall. With your hips square, place your right foot behind your left. While keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor, bend your left leg slowly. Keep your back straight and hips forward as you hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Click here for a visual guide.

 

Low Back Pain

Low back pain may result from several factors. Women may enter pregnancy with pre-existing low back and gluteal pain. Low back pain can also be cause by tight or strained lower back muscles. The round ligament, one of the eight ligaments that holds the uterus in place, stretches rapidly. This can often cause pain on one side the body, depending on fetal positioning. Low back pain can be alleviated by sleeping in a side-lying position and placing a pillow between the knees and under the tummy.

 

Stretch – Cat Pose

Come on all fours, with your knees hip width apart, and your hands in line with your shoulders. Begin with the spine in a neutral position. Slowly tilt the pelvis under, flattening the lower back. At the same time, tuck your chin to your chest, causing the shoulders to curve and hunch. If wrists become uncomfortable, you may rest on your elbows instead of your hands. Hold the stretch for a few moments and return the spine to a neutral position. Click here for a visual guide.

 

Feel Freer With Massage

Massage is also a great way to manage the common discomforts of pregnancy. From releasing tight shoulders, applying gentle hip join mobilization and alleviating leg cramps. Treatments are personalized to suit you and your unique pain and discomforts.

 

Partner Massage During Labour

DID YOU KNOW – Massage during labour can help the mother to relax, ease her pain and enhance her overall wellbeing.

PLUS – Partner massage helps the two of you to feel more connected as you bring your new baby into the world together.

Supported and Empowered in Labour – Partner Massage training is held monthly. Click here for more information!

 

If you are not sure if massage is appropriate for you during your pregnancy, please contact Laura on 0407 512 009 or book an appointment now.

For more information on the benefits of pregnancy massage, please visit the blog archive.

 

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Feel the Love with Massage

Can Massage Make You Fall in Love?

You don’t have to be a neuroscientist to know that massage helps us to feel good, boosting our mood and allowing feelings of anxiety and stress to disappear. But can massage increase our feelings of love – towards our partners, ourselves and our new born babies? In this month’s blog, I explore the connection between massage and the hormone called Oxytocin.

 

So, what is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter and plays a part in our social interactions. Commonly known at the “love hormone”, oxytocin is increased when we hug or kiss a loved one. It increases our ability to show empathy and build trust. What’s even more amazing, is that oxytocin plays a role in maternal-infant bonding and breastmilk production.

 

What does this mean for Pregnancy an Postnatal Massage?

Author of The Oxytocin Factor, Dr. Kerstin Unvas Moberg states that massage is one of the most effective ways to increase levels of oxytocin, not only in the person receiving the massage, but the massage therapist as well! (This really explains my HIGH level of job satisfaction!)

Oxytocin can counteract the effects of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to high blood pressure, reduced immune function and depression over extended periods of time.  Even those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have been able to reduce their levels of stress and increase oxytocin levels with massage.

A study by Morhenn et al (2012) found that massage increased the levels of oxytocin and suggest that there may be a connection between social interactions and reduced morbidity and mortality rates. So massage can make you feel good, more connected to your loved ones and the community as well as boosting your health!

A study by Azriani et al (2016) found that there was an increase of breastmilk production when “oxytocin massage” is performed in the days following birth. So this is great news for my mamma’s that want to breastfeed their little ones!

That’s why we feel so good after a massage and why massage should be a part of your health and wellbeing routine as your journey through the stages of pregnancy and into motherhood!

For more information on how to take better care of yourself with massage, head to our blog archive.

If you want to feel the love – book a massage now!

 

 

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/oxytocin

 

Oxytocin: The Hormone of Peace and Trust

 

Morhenn V1, Beavin LE, Zak PJ. (2012) Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. Altern Ther Health Med.  Nov-Dec;18(6):11-8.

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251939)

 

Devi Azriani, & Sri Handayani, Politeknik Kesehatan Kemenkes Jakarta I (2016) The Effect of Oxytocin Massage on Breast Milk Production Dam Vol 1, Issue 8, Page 47-50,

(http://www.damaacademia.com/issue/volume1/issue8/DIJR-A-005.pdf)

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Why Massage is a Vital Part of Your Exercise Program!

Does this sound familiar?

So, 2018 has started and before the champagne has gone flat you have signed up for a gym membership – vowing that this year will be different and making a commitment to “sweat it out” 7 days a week – rain, hail or shine!

You go to the gym in the first week of January, the first session feels good, great even. But suddenly – BAM – you feel like you have been hit by a bus. Muscles you didn’t know existed hurt. You tell yourself “it’s OK to have a rest day” but that days turns into a week, then a month, and before you realise it’s Easter and you haven’t return to the gym.

 

How massage can help…

Making changes can be hard, especially when it comes to exercise – but it is also an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Regular remedial massage treatments can help, and here’s why. Allow me to get technical for a moment…
Remedial massage therapy involves the systematic assessment and treatment of soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues and can assist in the recovery of injury and rehabilitation of people who exercise regularly.
The role of a massage therapist is not to diagnose illness, but to perform assessment and treatment in relation to musculoskeletal dysfunction. Massage can help people restore normal health post-injury, through balancing soft tissue length and increasing blood flow and eliminate adhesions and scar tissue.
Massage can benefit people to prepare for exercise activities and plays a vital role in the recovery process of these activities. Following exercise, massage not only reduces muscular tension, but it can enhance the reabsorption of metabolites, aid the removal of lactic acid and other wastes and reduce the impact of delayed onset muscles soreness, or DOMS as it is affectionately known.

 

What’s next?

At your initial appointment, after a comprehensive discussion about your primary muscular pain and extensive testing to determine restrictions and limitations in range of motions, a treatment plan will be implemented in line with your health goals. During a massage session, various techniques such as trigger point therapy, sustained myofascial tensioning and cupping may be used to get the best results.

So, try it for yourself and see how massage can enhance your workout routine, assist you to reach your peak performance and maintain exceptional health!

For more information, contact us or book your next appointment now!

 

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5 Ways To Feel Radiant During Pregnancy

Pregnancy massage is a time to pause and acknowledge the physical, emotional and mental changes that occur during pregnancy. Not every pregnancy is the same, so treatment is tailored to suit the needs of mum-to-be. Pregnancy massage uses techniques specific to the common musculoskeletal issues that are unique to pregnancy.

It is recommended that mothers coordinate their massage treatment with their GP, OB/GYN or midwife check-ups. This ensures that we can provide the best massage treatment relative to your health and your baby’s development.

Some of the benefits of pregnancy massage include:

Deeper Sleep:

Pregnancy massage can help the mother sleep more easily and deeply by soothing and relaxing the nervous system.

Manage physical changes during pregnancy:

Studies indicated that massage is safe and effective in managing physical changes of pregnancy, such as the increased lumbar lordosis that causes discomfort in the lower back and pelvis.

Reduced depression:

Massage during pregnancy has been shown to increase dopamine and serotonin (the happy-feel-good chemicals) and decrease levels of cortisol and norepinephrine (stress hormones).

Decreased likelihood of premature birth:

Studies show that pregnancy massage can improve neonatal outcomes and decrease incidences of prematurity and low birthweight.

Manage Labour Pains:

Studies show that women who received prenatal massage felt more relaxed, experienced less tension and reduced anxiety during the initial stages of labour.

PLUS – Partner Massage during the first stage of labour can help you feel supported and relaxed during childbirth!

Pregnancy massage assists in managing many of the common discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as:

  • muscular discomforts, lower-back pain, upper-back pain, neck pain
  • joint aches, such as sacroiliac and hip joint pain
  • headaches
  • leg cramps
  • sciatica
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • fatigue
  • oedema/swelling of the lower extremities
  • constipation

If you would like more information or advice to see if Pregnancy Massage is suitable for you, contact us or book now!

Resources and Links:

http://pregnancymassageaustralia.com.au/

Field T1, Diego MA, Hernandez-Reif M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Massage therapy effects on depressed pregnant women. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Jun;25(2):115-22. Viewed 20/9/17

Oswald C, Higgins CC, Assimakopoulos D. Optimizing pain relief during pregnancy using manual therapy. Can Fam Physician. 2013 Aug;59(8):841-2. Viewed 20/9/17

Smith CA, Levett KM, Collins CT, Jones L. Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 2. Viewed 20/9/17