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Heather Jeffcoat at Healthline
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Alina Hvostikova/Stocksy United
Alina Hvostikova/Stocksy United

The following are some excerpts from an article on Healthline.com which quotes Heather Jeffcoat on a number of topics related to prenatal (and postpartum) joint pain. There is a link to the full article at the bottom.

Relieving joint pain during pregnancy

Joint pain is the worst, especially during pregnancy. But the good news is there are several safe ways to find relief.

Correct postural dysfunctions

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, owner of Femina Physical Therapy, says there are two places to start:

  • correcting postural dysfunction to reduce joint strain
  • ensuring adequate flexibility and strength around the affected joints

Beyond postural correction, she also recommends looking at what joints are under strain and developing a rehabilitation program specific to your needs.

First trimester exercise tips

During the first trimester, Jeffcoat says the first relaxin peak occurs around 8–12 weeks, making this is an especially vulnerable period for a pregnant person’s joints and the ligaments that support them. To help, she says strengthening and cardio exercises should be done in a controlled manner that avoids hyperextension of the joints to reduce the risk of injury.

She also recommends prepping your body for postural changes, starting with pelvic floor and deep core strengthening. The first trimester is an ideal time to learn how to do a pelvic brace, which you’ll use before performing any exercise throughout your pregnancy.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart. Place your pelvis and low back into a “neutral” position. To find neutral position, make sure you’re resting on the back of your pelvis to create a very small space in your lower back (your back should not be pressed into the floor).
  2. Inhale to prepare, then exhale and perform a Kegel.
  3. Slightly draw the lower abs in with the Kegel. Inhale and relax the abs and pelvic floor. Exhale and repeat the contraction.

 

Continue reading by clicking here.

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by M.M.

My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

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