Having a baby is exciting, fascinating, and nerve wracking. If you have never been through the process before, chances are you have a lot of questions and concerns about what changes your body will go through during your pregnancy, what the birthing process entails, and how your recovery will go once you’ve had your baby.
Join us and childbirth specialist, Ashley Brichter, in our final Pelvic Health class of the year to discuss the ins and outs of having a child.
In today’s society, most of us spend time in front of the computer or other electronics for work, school, or pleasure, which contributes to poor postural habits including rounded shoulders and forward head postures. Being in these positions will cause your muscles around your shoulder and neck to accommodate into that rounded position, resulting in inefficient lengthening of some muscles and shortening of other muscles, which results in an imbalance of strength and stability and high potential for injury. Having rounded and inefficient shoulder stability can cause neck and shoulder pain, and can affect your breathing.
The experienced physical therapists have extensive training on evaluating and correcting postural alignment. They can help with posture by identifying where your limitations are and evaluating your flexibility and specific muscle weaknesses that could be contributing to poor postural alignment. They also investigate what may be causing postural malalignments by evaluating your postural strategies in sitting, standing, walking, sports, and functional activities. Focusing on ways to be in a more balanced position will help put less stress and tension through your musculature and joints allowing for increased ease in maintaining proper posture with various movements.
A good way to facilitate a more neutral shoulder blade and shoulder position is with the exercise “Pivot Prone” (Institute of Physical Art, Johnson and Johnson). To start, first turn your head to the right and then to the left. Notice the excursion of movement and if you find it to be difficult or limited. Now, shrug your shoulders up a few inches, rotate your arms back enough where your pinkies are pointing forward and your shoulder blades coming together. Once you feel that your shoulder blades are back relax your shoulder blades straight down. Now rotate your head again to the right and left and notice if there was a change. You should feel an increase in ease of movement and more range of motion. At this point you should be able to appreciate that when you are in a more neutral alignment there is less stress and tension around your shoulders and neck. A common mistake with this exercise is to want to lift your rib cage up when you bring your shoulder blades back, so make sure that the shoulder blades are the only things moving during this exercise in order to maintain a good vertical alignment.
This photo shows the pivot prone maneuver being done step by step
This exercise is perfect and simple enough to do throughout the day. For example, when you are standing waiting for the train, waiting on line, and sitting at your desk at work or school. By continuously repeating this motion your body will eventually remember it, and down the line you should notice that you automatically will maintain that position!
Check out photos from BBPT’s recent inservice on functional mobilization of the shoulder!
Being able to get pregnant is sometimes a little harder than society will have us believe. The female reproductive system is a complex and intricate part of our bodies and there are many factors that go into fertility. If having children is a goal of yours, do not miss our free reproductive health seminar on April 27th at 7pm with physical therapist, Melissa Stendahl. Melissa will be discussing how both nutrition and pelvic and abdominal tissue health can optimize your reproductive function and help with painful reproductive conditions like endometriosis and pain with intercourse.
By: Fiona McMahon, DPT
Hey Ladies!!! In our next installment of our Pelvic Health 101 course, we are hosting a women’s only session to allow for a safe and non-threatening place to discuss many issues that can affect the health of your pelvic floor. This class one of Stephanie Stamas’s (the founder of PH101’s ) favorites and is definitely not to be missed. Join us at 7pm on April 20th, 2017 Please register at pelvichealth-101.eventbrite.com.
Like doctors, nurses, and many other practitioners, physical therapists are required to do clinical rotations in order to gain experience and graduate from their program. Every year, Beyond Basics participates in hosting a final year physical therapy doctoral student to complete his or her clinical. This year is no different, except this year we took two! Both of our students Monica and Julia are in their final year of their doctoral program at Columbia University. They were selected to join us because of their high academic achievement, interest in pelvic floor rehabilitation, and completion of pelvic floor continuing education classes. We are honored to have them and we want to take some time to introduce them to you. Our first profile is that of Monica.
1.) Where are you from, if you are from somewhere else, what brought you to NYC?
I was born here in New York City and then raised in Central New Jersey. For undergrad, I went to New York University where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama and have stayed in New York to complete my doctorate at Columbia University.
2.) Did you work before PT school, if so what did you do?
I was a fitness trainer for 10 years before physical therapy school school, working as a master trainer and spokesperson for New York Sports Clubs, as well as the Official Trainer for Subway Restaurants. I was also a contributing editor for Fitness Magazine. Currently, I train and teach yoga privately.
3.) What made you want to be a PT?
Although I loved working with healthy clients as a trainer, I always wished that I could help people more when they were injured. Physical therapy allows me to help people on that deeper level. Plus, I also always loved learning about the human body and wanted to go beyond the advanced personal training certifications I was collecting. Working with people has always been a part of my life and physical therapy allows me to continue connecting with individuals while I’m given an opportunity to improve their lives.
4.) What made you want to intern at Beyond Basics?
When I was volunteering at PT clinics before I began PT school, I had THREE different friends who needed pelvic PT at the same time. One friend needed rehab after surgery for endometriosis and also had dyspareunia. The second person had severe back and pelvic pain post-partum. The third friend was having urinary incontinence issues during the second trimester of her pregnancy. Fortunately, these friends invited me to come to their PT sessions to observe their treatments. I saw how much pelvic health rehabilitation improved my friends’ lives first hand. This helped me realize my desire to become a Pelvic Health therapist. Beyond Basics’ reputation for quality patient care is well known and I want to learn from the best. After attending seminars at Beyond Basics and experiencing the warm, welcoming, professional atmosphere, I had no doubt as to where I’d want to complete my final internship.
5.) What do you do for fun?
I’m the principal director for the Class of 2017 for Fairytale Physical Therapy, a group of physical therapy students that brings musical theatre to children in hospitals. Each show teaches the kids two choreographed dances that are composed of therapeutic exercises. Last week, I played Elsa at Blythedale Children’s Hospital and LOVED it (My husband jumped in and played Kristoff too!). My 4 year old dog Lola and I also compete in agility (think: jumping over hurdles and through tunnels). I also teach Pet CPR/First Aid and am a Reiki Master Teacher.
6.) What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in PT school?
Physical therapy school is like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. There’s only so much you can drink at once and that’s okay. You’ll have a whole career ahead of you to understand absolutely everything. Schedule time for yourself. Make time for your loved ones. Even if it’s only 30 minutes. You will be refreshed and efficient for school if you allow yourself to take breaks every once in awhile. Breathe. Focus. Believe in yourself.
Sex should feel good… really, really good. But when it doesn’t, you may start to wonder, what’s wrong with me? Am I broken? Am I a prude? Am I frigid? Painful sex isn’t something we talk about. No one would look at you twice if you walked into work complaining of pain in your elbow, but if you walk into work complaining about pain in you vagina or penis, you may end up having a meeting with HR.
On April 13th, at 7pm, we at Beyond Basics are breaking down those taboos and having an educational seminar, followed by an optional question and answer session at the end. We will discuss the many causes of sexual pain and how physical therapy can help. The event will be hosted by one of our therapists, Stephanie Stamas, DPT, ATC. Stephanie will give a detailed seminar about pelvic health and take time to clear up some common misconceptions many people have concerning their bodies and sexual function.
Guys! This is one of my favorite stretches ever. Both for myself personally and also for my patients. It’s called the happy baby pose, which comes from yoga. I mean, how cute is that. If you’ve ever seen a baby try and stick his feet in his mouth you know where the name comes from. This stretch is awesome because it stretches a ton of muscles at once, even the pelvic floor. It is an integral part of my stretching routine and I hope it becomes part of yours.
Stretch Type: Static: Best if performed after workouts on warm muscles. Exercise caution if stretching cold muscle, because unwarmed muscle doesn’t stretch as well as warmed up muscles.
Caution: If you feel pinching in your hips or pressure or discomfort under your kneecap, move your hand position to back of the thighs. If you still feel pain while attempting this modification, it is definitely time for a physical therapy appointment.
As always: No stretch should ever be painful. If a stretch is painful, stop and consult your physical therapist for modifications.
Directions: Lying on your back, grip your feet on the outside of your feet and bend your knees up towards your armpits. If this is too difficult, grasp your legs at the calves. Make sure that your neck is relaxed and hold for 60-90 seconds and repeat. Add deep breathing to enhance the relaxation. Enjoy!
Check out our student showing off her great happy baby pose!