Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2013

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technique @work | the science of movement | Energy work | Myofascial techniques Soothing Moms' Aches and Pains Soft-Tissue Strategies for New Mothers By Whitney Lowe Looking for a great Mother's Day gift for a new mom? How about a massage? It may sound like some kind of advertisement, but there is no joking around with the serious level of musculoskeletal pain new moms endure. Having a child is a joyful time for many mothers, but it can be complicated by significant pain complaints. Sure, some of this pain will be mitigated by the high level of "love" chemicals coursing through a new mom's veins (opiate-like chemicals the brain releases when triggered by a new love, i.e., the baby), but this effect gradually decreases. Here are some of the common musculoskeletal pain complaints that new moms have, and a discussion about the very important role massage can play in bringing relief. 1 102 massage & bodywork Leaning forward for prolonged periods stresses the upper back and neck. may/june 2013 Pregnancy creates psychological changes The hormone relaxin is released during pregnancy in order to increase elasticity of the ligaments and allow the pelvis to expand for the baby's delivery; it can take several months for relaxin levels to return to normal after the birth. During this time, moms can be at greater risk for back and sacroiliac pain due to excess ligamentous laxity. Stability issues at other joints may also cause similar pain or biomechanical dysfunction. While some pain will be reduced after the birth, as the load of the baby is no longer there, any pain complaints as a result of ligament and tendon changes, or postural distortions developed during the pregnancy, are likely to continue. If the mother was not in good condition in the first place or already had posturalrelated pain, then pregnancy will likely have exacerbated these issues.

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