Of all the things she prepared for in being a new mom, Ashley Koza wasn’t expecting this....
“Right around four-five months I started getting some central back pain. The bigger I got, the harder it was to deal with. And I also started getting numbness in my ribs,” says Ashley Koza, new mom.
Her obstetrician suggested she give therapy a try. Not just any physical therapy, but techniques fine-tuned for pregnant women. Many which experience the same pain, resulting from their bulging baby bump.
“They’ll have pain going all the way around, especially as they get a little bit heavier. Their ribs start to flare out a little bit and they start to have pain there, and a little shortness of breath. But usually I’ve had patients with thoracic pain, mid-back pain,” says Pat Curr, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.
The problem grows as the belly grows. But there are solutions. In women’s health rehabilitation, they use a combination of massage and exercise techniques, to take some of the pressure off.
“I went twice a week from 45 minutes to an hour. And in the beginning it was a massage and she would work on my back to move things in place and see where the problems were, but eventually we started doing exercises. She showed me how to strengthen my shoulders, my arms, my back, all of that, in order to hold the baby better,” says Koza.
“We teach them how to self manage with body mechanics and strengthening exercises. You can still strengthen your core when you are pregnant. And then afterwards sometimes they are left with issues, weak muscles and stretched ligaments and we can help them re-cooperate,” says Curr.
She’s still carrying baby Lily, but Koza has newfound strength to go with her new mom status.
“I started telling every pregnant woman I knew, because it made a big difference,” says Koza.