Having a baby is an exciting time, from blooming in pregnancy to the wonder of birth, to the joy your new baby brings, or so romantic films would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing time, but it doesn’t always run as smoothly as you had it planned in your head, and it isn’t always that easy! From the stresses and strains (both physical and emotional) that your body is placed under during your pregnancy, to the sleepless nights of caring for a newborn, where caring for yourself goes completely out of the window. Here at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic we’re here to help; we offer various therapies to support you through each stage to support your good health.
Osteopathy is a gentle, hands-on treatment, suitable for people of all ages, from newborn babies and children, their pregnant mums, to their grandparents and great-grandparents. It is based on the principle that an individual’s health is reliant on a good functioning of the skeleton, muscles, and connective tissues of the body; the aim of osteopathic treatment is to address any tensions, strains or imbalances in the recipient’s body to return it to an improved state of health, where it can function more efficiently. This principle applies to every patient, independent of their age.
During your pregnancy, there are many changes going on that your body has to deal with. Your spinal curves and posture may change as your abdominal muscles stretch with your growing baby; the resultant changes in how your spine is loaded can lead to low back pain, sacro-iliac joint pain or pelvic pain. Your body starts to produce a hormone called relaxin, which makes your ligaments more elastic, in readiness for the birth process. This may lead to an improvement in musculoskeletal symptoms in some women or can contribute to low back or pelvic pain in others. Or, it may be that tension is building in your shoulders as you anticipate the arrival of your new little bundle of joy, or problems taking a deep breath in due to pressure on your diaphragm from a growing baby pushing in to it. Osteopathy can help alleviate the symptoms caused by all of these things and help you cope with them better.
After the birth, the pressures acting on your pelvis return to normal, and pregnancy-related back pain normally resolves, though your abdominal muscles will still be stretched which maintains the deeper curve in your low back. Visiting an osteopath post-partum can help address any residual tensions or pain in the pelvis. Exercises may be prescribed to strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to help regain stability in your back. You may now be getting neck pain as you drop your head to look adoringly into your baby’s eyes as they feed. Again treatment, or postural advice can be important in addressing, limiting and resolving such problems.
The birth process is a miracle of nature, but it is inherently stressful for both you and your baby. Depending on what position your baby is lying in, if it’s a natural birth, if forceps or venteuse used, or a caesarean section delivery and how fast or slow the process is can all lead to tensions building in different parts of their skull and body, which, just like in adults can affect the overall function of their growing bodies. Osteopaths work on the principle that unresolved tensions in your baby’s musculoskeletal system can lead to discomfort, just as it does in your body. Your baby may find that gentle osteopathic treatments help to soothe and relax them, by using gentle balancing techniques to unwind tension patterns we aim to make a positive change to issues like poor sleep, irritability and digestive issues.
Each treatment at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic is tailored to your individual requirements, which dictates the appropriate style of treatment. Cranial techniques are subtle and gentle and are often beneficial when working with babies, while stronger articulation or mobilisation techniques may be advised when working with adult patients.
Our osteopathic treatment often also includes a combination of hands-on treatment, provision of health information, self-management advice and support, and/or exercise therapy, dependant on what each patient requires.
Our resident osteopath is qualified to work with babies and children, and has completed a number of postgraduate courses in paediatric osteopathy. He would be more than happy to discuss with you any aspect of osteopathic treatment or its application; we have a dedicated Parent & Baby session at our Jesmond clinic where Will offers free 15-minute osteopathy consultations to support parents, carers and babies, call us on 0191 233 0500 for more information.