Relieve Joint Pain Caused By Menopause With Our 3 Tips!

Navigating through menopause can often feel like maneuvering through a maze of physical and emotional challenges. One common obstacle that many women face is joint pain.

Aching joints can drastically reduce quality of life, making everyday activities a struggle. But rest assured, it’s not an insurmountable problem.

In this blog post, we will explore a variety of tips and techniques to help you relieve joint pain caused by menopause.

By understanding the causes and treatments, you can mitigate this discomfort and carry on with your life, unhindered by pain.

Menopause is a natural part of life, and it’s an opportunity for growth and empowerment. You are not alone on this journey, and with these valuable tips, you’ll be fully prepared to embrace the challenges ahead with confidence and grace.

How Does The Menopause Cause Painful Joints?

During menopause, the natural decline of oestrogen levels can have significant effects on your body, including causing joint pain.

Oestrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones and joints, and a drop in this hormone can lead to an increase in inflammation, which in turn can cause joint discomfort and pain. However, there are ways to relieve joint pain during this phase.

Additionally, oestrogen helps regulate fluid levels, and when its levels decrease, it could result in joint stiffness and aching due to less lubrication.

Understanding these hormonal changes can provide a clearer picture of why joint pain can occur during menopause.

Lifestyle factors can also contribute to the onset of joint pain during menopause. As we age, changes in our daily routine, such as a decrease in physical activity and alterations in our diet, can exacerbate menopause-induced joint pain.

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into our diet and reducing the consumption of processed and fried foods can help alleviate joint inflammation and increase overall comfort.

Similarly, maintaining an active lifestyle can prevent stiffness and aching in joints. Regular physical activity helps keep joints flexible and strengthens the muscles that support them, thus relieving joint pain.

Relieve Joint Pain With Our Top 3 Tips!

Strength Training

Strength training is an effective strategy to relieve joint pain caused by menopause. This type of training involves working against resistance to build and strengthen muscles, which in turn offer enhanced support for the joints.

It’s essential to understand that strength training needs to be initiated gradually, especially if you’re a beginner.

Starting with light weights and slowly increasing intensity can help prevent potential injuries and ensure that you’re comfortably adjusting to the routine.

Incorporating strength training exercises into your regular routine can significantly relieve joint pain by providing your joints with stronger shock-absorbing muscles, reducing the stress on them.

Additionally, it can improve your overall body strength and flexibility, which further helps to relieve joint pain and enhances your general well-being.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Adopting a nutritious diet is an effective way to relieve joint pain associated with menopause. A balanced, wholesome diet not only helps maintain your overall health but can also significantly impact your joint health.

Including anti-inflammatory foods in your daily intake can work wonders in helping to relieve joint pain.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or flaxseeds, and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, like berries and leafy greens, can reduce inflammation and thus help relieve joint pain.

Additionally, spices like turmeric and ginger possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve joint pain.

Thus, eating a well-rounded diet, enriched with anti-inflammatory foods, is an excellent strategy to relieve joint pain caused by menopause.


Incorporating a regular stretching routine is another effective method to alleviate joint pain during menopause. Stretching can help increase flexibility, reduce stiffness, and improve the range of motion in your joints.

For instance, gentle yoga poses such as the ‘Child’s Pose’ can stretch and relieve tension in the lower back, hips, thighs, and ankles.

Another beneficial stretch is the ‘Chest Stretch’, which can help combat the forward slump often associated with joint pain and improve posture by stretching the chest and shoulder muscles.

We recommend dedicating at least 20 minutes per day to stretching activities. Consistent practice can help increase joint mobility and decrease discomfort, aiding your journey through menopause with less pain.

Looking For Women’s Health Advice?

Here at Focus Osteopathy, we know it can be a little scary to take your health into your own hands, but that’s why we’re here!

We want to give people like you help with everything from aches and pains to their nutrition and healthy habits so that you can overcome whatever life throws at you and enjoy every single day feeling healthy and happy.

Throughout September we’re offering you the chance to take the first step to a healthier future with a free women’s wellness assessment. During your free women’s wellness assessment, you will be able to speak to one of our resident osteopaths who have years of experience behind them find out where you need some extra support and lend a helping hand.

If this sounds like the answer to the pain that you’ve been searching for, arrange your free women’s wellness assessment by filling in our simple web form or call our Mount Waverley or Murrumbeena clinic at 1300 003 007 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

Other Free Resources For Women’s Health

Are you in the early stages of pregnancy right now? Why not download our free pregnancy-related pain report to get 7 ways to journey through pregnancy including support to empower yourself and your little one to prepare for labour and recover well after birth?

Download Your Copy Of Our FREE  Pregnancy-Related Pain Report Here!

Read Our Blog – What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

Follow Us On Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

3 Important Aspects Of Women’s Health And How To Maintain Them

Women’s health is a critical aspect of overall well-being, often requiring a unique approach and understanding to ensure optimal health.

It encompasses more than just the physical; it also incorporates mental and emotional health, which play equally significant roles in a woman’s overall wellness. Proper self-care is not a luxury for women, it’s a necessity.

It’s not just about having pamper days but about recognizing and responding to your body’s needs, be it rest, nutrition, exercise, or mental space.

Neglecting these essential aspects can lead to severe long-term consequences. This blog post aims to highlight three significant aspects of women’s health and provide practical tips on how to maintain them so you can have the confidence you need to feel good every day!

Physical Activity

Physical activity plays a pivotal role in maintaining not just fitness but overall health, especially in the context of women’s health.

Regular exercise goes beyond burning calories and building muscles; it’s about preserving overall well-being and preventing a myriad of health issues.

For instance, regular, moderate-intensity exercise can help keep common aches and pains at bay. It strengthens the musculoskeletal system, improves flexibility and posture, and reduces the risk of chronic conditions like arthritis, thereby ensuring you stay active and pain-free.

Moreover, physical activity has been shown to have surprising benefits for pelvic health. Exercises specifically targeting the pelvic floor muscles, such as Kegel exercises, can aid in preventing urinary incontinence, a common issue among women, especially post-childbirth.

Furthermore, maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor is crucial for keeping incontinence at bay and having good abdominal core stability.

Therefore, physical activity is not just a cornerstone of fitness, but a comprehensive health strategy that encompasses an array of physiological benefits.

Getting Plenty Of Sleep

Sleep is often an underrated component of women’s health, especially for women who are balancing the demands of work, family, and personal life. Yet, sleep is a foundational element of holistic well-being, and its importance cannot be overstated.

Studies show that a lack of quality sleep can result in physical health issues, and it can also exacerbate mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

For women juggling multiple roles, the challenge becomes even more prominent. The pressures of caring for children, managing household tasks, or meeting work deadlines often mean sleep is deprioritized, leading to a chronic sleep deficit. This sleep deprivation can have severe implications not just for immediate functioning but for long-term health.

A healthy sleep routine looks like consistently getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. This sleep should be uninterrupted and of good quality, meaning you wake up feeling refreshed and restored.

Achieving this often requires careful planning and the implementation of good sleep hygiene practices. This means maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, to regulate your body’s internal clock and increase the likelihood of falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. It also involves creating a conducive sleep environment, which is quiet, dark, and cool, with comfortable bedding.

Furthermore, reducing screen time before bedtime is critical. The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, computers, and TVs can interfere with your sleep because it suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

Lastly, consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your pre-sleep routine, such as reading, meditating, or taking a warm bath. These can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Diet And Nutrition

Proper diet and nutrition are pivotal aspects of women’s health, impacting everything from energy levels to overall wellness.

A balanced, nutrient-rich diet is integral to maintaining optimal health and preventing various health conditions.

For instance, foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals, are crucial for bone health, helping to prevent osteoporosis.

Iron-rich foods like lean meats and beans are crucial for women, particularly during menstruation, to counter iron deficiency and anemia. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Moreover, consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds can support brain health and potentially mitigate mood disorders.

Therefore, maintaining a nutritious diet is not merely about weight management, but it is an essential strategy for preserving all aspects of women’s health.

Looking For Some Women’s Health Advice?

Here at Focus Osteopathy, we know it can be a little scary to take your health into your own hands, but that’s why we’re here! 

We want to give people like you help with everything from aches and pains to their nutrition and healthy habits so that you can overcome whatever life throws at you and enjoy every single day feeling healthy and happy. 

Throughout September we’re offering you the chance to take the first step to a healthier future with a free women’s wellness assessment. During your free women’s wellness assessment, you will be able to speak to one of our resident osteopaths who have years of experience behind them find out where you need some extra support and lend a helping hand. 

If this sounds like the answer to the pain that you’ve been searching for, arrange your free mom-ready assessment by filling in our simple web form or call our Mount Waverley or Murrumbeena clinic at 1300 003 007 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

Other Free Resources For Women’s Health

Are you in the early stages of pregnancy right now? Why not download our free pregnancy-related pain report to get 7 ways to journey through pregnancy including support to empower yourself and your little one to prepare for labour and recover well after birth?

Download Your Copy Of Our FREE  Pregnancy-Related Pain Report Here!

Read Our Blog – What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

Follow Us On Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

Should You Worry About Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?

During the unique journey of pregnancy, many expectant mothers encounter various physical changes and discomforts — one such discomfort being pelvic pain.

It’s understandable that any occurrence of pain can cause worry and anxiety, especially when you’re carrying a little one.

But, here’s some comforting news: More often than not, pelvic pain during pregnancy is quite normal.

Many mothers-to-be experience this and it’s usually nothing to fret about. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on this common concern, its causes, and how to conquer pelvic pain during pregnancy. So, sit back and let’s ease those worries together!

How Common Is Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?

Pelvic pain during pregnancy is actually quite commonplace, affecting a significant number of expectant mothers.

It’s one of those common discomforts that pregnancy brings along. We understand that experiencing it can be distressing and might lead you to think something is wrong.

But the reality is, in most cases, it’s a standard part of the pregnancy process, similar to morning sickness or fatigue. Just as each pregnancy is unique, so too is the experience of pelvic pain – some may feel it more intensely or frequently, while others might experience it only occasionally.

Please remember, that experiencing pelvic pain does not mean you are doing anything wrong or that there is necessarily a problem. We’re here to reassure you that you’re not alone in this, and it’s perfectly okay to seek guidance and support when you need it!

Causes Of Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

The causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy are diverse and largely linked to the natural changes your body is undergoing.

One of the most common sources is a condition called ‘symphysis pubis dysfunction’ (SPD). Simply put, this happens when the ligaments that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned become too relaxed and stretchy due to hormonal changes.

This results in the pelvic bone becoming unstable, causing discomfort or pain.

Another cause is ’round ligament pain’, which is typically experienced in the second trimester. Your body builds the round ligaments to support your growing uterus, and as they stretch, you might feel sharp, jabbing sensations in your lower belly or hip area.

Lastly, pressure from your baby’s head can also lead to pelvic pain, as it can compress nerves in your lower spine. This is more common as you approach your due date and your baby settles into the pelvis in preparation for birth.

While these aches and pains can be disconcerting, they are typically a normal part of pregnancy’s physical changes.

Getting Through Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Managing pelvic pain during pregnancy requires a combination of care, caution, and physical activity.

First, ensure that you maintain good posture—avoid standing or sitting in one position for too long, and when lifting objects, bend at your knees, not your waist.

When standing, imagine a straight line running from your ear, through your shoulder, hip, and knee, down to the middle of your ankle. This visualization can help you in keeping your body aligned. It’s also beneficial to engage your core and tuck in your pelvis slightly, which can take some pressure off your lower back.

Second, engage in pregnancy-safe exercises, such as prenatal yoga or swimming, which can help strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility.

Third, consider seeking the assistance of an osteopath specializing in pregnancy-related concerns (like us!) We can provide specific exercises and techniques to support you, and your baby, and alleviate your pain.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of rest—ensure you’re getting adequate sleep and take short breaks whenever necessary during the day.

Are You Concerned About Your Pelvic Pain In Pregnancy?

Here at Focus Osteopathy, we know how daunting it can be for new mums if they experience pelvic pain and it can often be a worry. But we don’t want you to stress!

Instead, we’re here to help you with any concerns you have about your pelvic health and to listen to your worries and put them at ease.

This month, we’re offering you the chance to take the first step to a pelvic pain-free pregnancy with a free mom-ready assessment. During your free mom-ready assessment, you will be able to speak to one of our resident osteopaths who have years of experience behind them and find out the actual cause of your pelvic pain and work with you to find the best solution.

If this sounds like the answer to the pain that you’ve been searching for, arrange your free mom-ready assessment by filling in our simple web form or call our Mount Waverley or Murrumbeena clinic at 1300 003 007 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

Other Free Resources For Pregnancy 

Why not download our free pregnancy-related pain report to get 7 ways to journey through pregnancy including support to empower yourself and your little one to prepare for labour and recover well after birth?

Download Your Copy Of Our FREE  Pregnancy-Related Pain Report Here!

Read Our Blog – What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

Follow Us On Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

Your Menopause: What You Need To Know

Ah, menopause. The unwelcome visitor dropping by at the most inconvenient time.

If there were ever a word that could potentially strike fear, shame and palpable annoyance into a woman’s day-to-day life and mental state, it’s menopause. For many women, this phase is often dreaded to such an extent that the word itself seems almost taboo.  

If menopause were a troublesome plot twist in a movie, you can picture a scene where someone utters something unmentionable and instantaneously, a whole room of people go deadly silent and look round aghast.

Menopause could easily be that unmentionable. You can imagine the uttering of ‘We do not speak of such things here’ after someone has either fainted or a valuable object has been loudly dropped. Seriously, it’s that bad. 

More Healthcare Articles From Focus Osteopathy

It’s tempting for a woman to pretend menopause is something that just happens to other women. If she herself gets round to admitting it has landed, that moment has probably been avoided for as long as possible.   

After the bane of monthly periods over many years, perhaps with brief interruptions of pregnancy and childbirth, it is perhaps naïve to believe a woman would be relieved to be menstruation-free.  Some women indeed welcome the conclusion of their reproductive years but sadly the vast majority do not.  

The fact that menopause lands within a woman’s mid-life does not help matters. This is usually a highly pressurized time where raising children, caring for aging relatives and juggling career demands are all simultaneously on-going, leading to exhaustion and overwhelm.  

Menopause, and all the symptoms it brings, is the equivalent of an unwelcome visitor arriving at the most inconvenient time. You want to say ‘Now’s not a good time’ but menopause simply doesn’t listen.  Annoying, huh? 

But what actually is menopause anyway? 

What is Menopause and Why Does it Happen?

Menopause clock on a pink background

Menopause is an entirely natural process that happens to every woman, usually occurring sometime between the late thirties and the late fifties. It is a process in which the two primary female reproductive hormones – estrogen and progesterone – begin to decrease, eventually leading to the complete cessation of a woman’s periods and therefore her ability to conceive.   

Although menopause is an unavoidable biological phase in every woman’s life, the process is often anticipated and experienced with mixed feelings of dread, confusion and anxiety. 

This is in part because the menopause varies in how it affects each individual woman and partly because menopause symptoms are commonly considered to be undesirable, unpleasant and embarrassing.   

Add in the fact that menopause has elements of social stigma attached to it as well as the fact that doctors often do not clearly explain what is going on to the woman who is experiencing the process and you can begin to see how numerous factors stack up to make menopause feel like an unwelcome and stressful obligation that must simply be endured. 

Another factor that contributes to many women dreading the menopause is the fact that many women are waiting longer than proceeding generations before they themselves start a family. 

Progressing within a career or first trying to establish the foundations of a secure home and financial stability prior to conception now means that many modern women are delaying motherhood until their late thirties, mid-forties and even the early-fifties.

Unfortunately, menopause symptoms are not entirely clear cut, with no defining test to confirm if a woman has indeed gone into menopause, hence why a woman’s mid-life is often termed ‘the crisis years’ as she inevitably panics that she may have left starting a family too late.   

Going from a regular monthly cycle to erratic menstruation and finally a non-existent cycle is what leads up to menopause, with both symptoms and the various stages of the process taking place over many years.   

So what are the different stages and what can be expected? 


Perimenopause - pad with question mark on a pink background

Of all the stages of menopause, perimenopause is the least understood, the most confusing and the most challenging phase as well as the longest.  The term Perimenopause can be translated as ‘before menopause’ but many women would argue it is actually the main event and it can certainly feel like it! Why so? 

Perimenopause is the beginning of the menopausal process but a woman is not considered, in medical terms, to be menopausal as she goes through this first stage.  Confusing? Yeah, we hear you! 

Perimenopause is not regarded as the menopause because menopause is defined as only being a day in length. Meanwhile, perimenopause is the lead-up to that point and that particular day.  As we work through the various stages, this will begin to make sense. For the time being, let’s focus on perimenopause. 

As a woman moves into her mid-thirties and beyond, it is normal for her fertility potential to decrease. Unless she has been diagnosed with a gynecological condition that can affect her period, she is likely to still have a regular cycle while not registering any unusual symptoms relating to her menstruation.  

However, things are beginning to subtly change. The quality of her eggs naturally begins to decrease and the number of eggs that remain in her ovaries are getting lower.  Additionally, at some point, her reproductive hormones of estrogen and progesterone will begin to decrease too.  

It is usually progesterone that begins to lower first with estrogen following in step slightly later.  When these hormones lower enough, she will cease menstruating altogether. 

In the meantime, as she continues to get older awaits what many would consider a ‘wild ride’ as these two reproductive hormones become unbalanced with each other, causing multiple menopausal symptoms and changes to the periods themselves.   

Symptoms such as night sweats, increased anxiety, fatigue, unexpected weight gain, migraines and feeling faint begin to make themselves known as the reproductive hormones decrease.  Meanwhile, the timing of the reproductive cycle usually becomes somewhat unpredictable as menstrual bleeding often becomes heavier while the periods themselves lengthen. 

Stages and symptoms of menopause

It can be helpful to compare a perimenopausal woman’s cycle – as it becomes increasingly erratic – to a mechanical engine that is coughing and spluttering.  It is unclear if the engine is either going to stall or kick into full swing. 

Similarly, as a woman’s body increasingly tries to produce progesterone and estrogen while she herself is getting older, her periods will come and then temporarily disappear before coming back all over again. 

This is when perimenopausal confusion peaks because it is entirely possible to have semi-regular periods while also having symptoms associated with the menopause in between.   

Gradually, as this phase of perimenopause begins to wind down, a woman’s periods will become lighter and less frequent.  It is common for many months to pass with no period at all and then suddenly another.  Eventually, this will cease and when this occurs, so begins the next phase. 


Following on from perimenopause is menopause itself. Unexpectedly, for all the talk of women ‘going through the menopause’ and the previous phase’s symptoms being mistaken for menopause, the big event is actually only a day in length.   

In medical terms, a woman is usually regarded as having been through the menopause and therefore menopausal if she has not had a period for 12 consecutive months.  More cautious estimates recommend waiting 24 months before menopause is officially deemed as having occurred.   

Either way, menopause is merely a point in the calendar that marks either 12 or 24 months since she had her last period.  Menopause marks the point where a woman’s eggs have run out and menstruation has ceased.  Although she will still have a low level of reproductive hormones residing in her body, at this point she is no longer able to conceive. 


Postmenopause is the final stage of the menopausal process and is one that a woman will remain in for the rest of her life beyond the official marking point of menopause. 

Throughout postmenopause, a woman’s reproductive hormones will continue to reside albeit at a minimal level.  Although this is natural, the significant reductions in both progesterone and estrogen mean that it is a good idea for a woman to incorporate lifestyle changes within this stage in-order to prevent other health issues from arising. 

For example, reduced estrogen levels can drastically increase a woman’s risk of osteoporosis and therefore the possibility of broken bones.

Additionally, as metabolism naturally slows with age, unintended weight gain can also occur.  This, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as a variety of musculoskeletal problems. 

It is therefore important for a postmenopausal woman to keep active with a strong focus being on building muscle mass, thereby boosting metabolism while also reducing the risk of many conditions and problems closely associated with aging. 

Reach out to us.

Going through the menopause can leave you feeling unnerved, confused, overwhelmed and anxious. We can help you understand what’s going on and guide you though the process.

Please don’t suffer in silence. Help is only one message away. 

Ease Your Pelvic Pain In Pregnancy

For an expecting mum, experiencing any physical pain in pregnancy can be challenging and scary. But don’t worry too much as this is totally normal and it’s natural to be concerned!

As your pregnancy progresses your pain might gradually come and go, which is why we think it’s important that pregnant mums to be should be armed with some simple, natural tips for managing your pelvic pain in pregnancy.

From maintaining exercise levels to practicing relaxation in the bathtub, these tips might just help soothe your discomfort and let you focus on the excitement of bringing a little one into the world!

#1 Regular Low-Impact Exercise

Low-impact exercise is a great way for pregnant mums to stay active and reduce pelvic pain in pregnancy.

Two examples of low-impact exercises that are perfect for expectant mothers are swimming and prenatal yoga.

Swimming allows pregnant women to stretch and strengthen their muscles while also taking the weight off their joints, making it easier to move around without any added discomfort.

Prenatal yoga, on the other hand, focuses on gentle stretches and breathing techniques that help reduce pelvic pain, improve flexibility, stability, and posture.

Overall, regular low-impact exercise during pregnancy can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the pelvis and reduce the amount of pressure on the pelvic floor, which can help prevent or alleviate pelvic pain in pregnancy.

And on the plus side, if you’re out of pain and feeling refreshed, you have more time to cherish your pregnancy before your little one makes their grand entrance to the world!

#2 Strengthen Your Core Muscles

We cannot stress enough how crucial it is for women to maintain strong core muscles during pregnancy, especially if they’re experiencing pelvic pain!

Strengthening your core improves your body’s posture, stability, and balance, which can alleviate pelvic discomfort. Exercise also helps boost your mood, and when you feel good, it can make a significant difference in your pregnancy experience.

Two safe and effective core exercises for pregnant women with pelvic pain are Kegels and bird-dog.

Kegels are great for strengthening the pelvic floor, and you can easily do them anywhere, anytime.

Bird-dog helps to build your core muscles and enhance your stability, starting on your hands and knees, and maintaining a stable spine position while alternating your arms and legs.

#3 Avoid Sitting For A Long Time

As a soon-to-be mum, it’s important to take care of yourself and your growing baby. One thing you may not have considered is the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time, especially if you’re experiencing pelvic pain in pregnancy.

This discomfort is likely due to your changing body and the added weight in your abdominal area, which can put pressure on your pelvis.

By sitting for too long, you may exacerbate this pain and even cause other issues like stiffness and poor circulation.

To combat these problems, it’s recommended to take regular breaks and move around throughout the day. Gentle stretches and exercises can also help relieve tension and decrease discomfort.

With a little effort and mindfulness, you can keep yourself comfortable and healthy during this exciting time.

#4 Take A Relaxing Bath

It is important to highlight the therapeutic benefits of a warm bath for pregnant mums who are experiencing pelvic pain during pregnancy.

While it may seem counterintuitive to immerse oneself in the water while experiencing discomfort in the pelvic region, the warmth of the water can actually provide significant relief to many pregnant women in this situation.

By submerging in a warm bath, the buoyancy of the water helps to support the body, reducing the pressure on the pelvis and easing pain.

Additionally, the warm temperature of the water helps to relax muscles and loosen tension, making it easier for mums-to-be to find a sense of calm and comfort amidst the discomfort.

For those experiencing pelvic pain in pregnancy, a relaxing warm bath can be a simple and effective way to find relief from discomfort and reconnect with the calm of their bodies.

#5 Wear Comfortable Clothing

Wearing comfortable clothes can significantly prevent and alleviate the discomfort caused by pelvic pain. The extra weight and pressure from the growing baby can cause strains on the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic region.

Tight and restrictive clothing can exacerbate these pains and discomforts. Opting for loose-fitting clothing, such as maternity pants and dresses, can help reduce unnecessary pressure on the pelvic region, allowing the muscles to relax and alleviate the pain.

When it comes to pregnancy, comfort is key, and moms-to-be should prioritize their comfort in order to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy.

Are You Concerned About Your Pelvic Pain In Pregnancy?

Here at Focus Osteopathy, we know how daunting it can be for new mums if they experience pelvic pain and it can often be a worry. But we don’t want you to stress!

Instead, we’re here to help you with any concerns you have about your pelvic health and to listen to your worries and put them at ease.

This month, we’re offering you the chance to take the first step to a pelvic pain-free pregnancy with a free mom-ready assessment. During your free mom-ready assessment, you will be able to speak to one of our resident osteopaths who have years of experience behind them and find out the actual cause of your pelvic pain and work with you to find the best solution.

If this sounds like the answer to the pain that you’ve been searching for, arrange your free mom-ready assessment by filling in our simple web form or call our Mount Waverley or Murrumbeena clinic at 1300 003 007 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

Other Free Resources For Pregnancy 

Why not download our free pregnancy-related pain report to get 7 ways to journey through pregnancy including support to empower yourself and your little one to prepare for labour and recover well after birth?

Download Your Copy Of Our FREE  Pregnancy-Related Pain Report Here!

Read Our Blog – What Pelvic Floor Exercises Should I Actually Be Doing?

Follow Us On Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

Breastfeeding Ergonomics – How To Avoid Pain While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Can Become Painful.

If you’ve opted for ‘breast is best’ and have begun to breastfeed, you will inevitably hope that the time spent feeding your little one is intimate and special as well as a wonderful way to bond. 

Gazing down lovingly as your newborn obtains natural nourishment from you should be rewarding. So why do so many new mothers quip, after just a few weeks, that breastfeeding has become both painful and somewhat dreaded?

Breastfeeding is of course a natural process that offers numerous benefits to both mother and baby.

However, because breastfeeding is natural, we are also inclined to assume that the process will not cause any undue discomfort to a new mother. 

Yet, as osteopathic specialists, we know that any new physical undertaking carries potential to cause pain and other issues if not carried out in an ideal way.

Breastfeeding is a surprisingly demanding challenge for a mother’s body, requiring her to feeding every few hours while counteracting the growing baby’s weight each and every time.  

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While a new-born understandably becomes a new mother’s sole focus and priority, it is not uncommon for her body to struggle to adapt to all of the physical demands now suddenly asked of her as she breastfeeds.  

Albeit an unwelcome truth, a new mother’s ligaments and muscles will soon begin to grumble about repetitive bouts of bad posture and prolonged static positions just as they would’ve done before motherhood began.

As there are so many different ways to breastfeed, the discomfort that develops varies too. 

If you’ve not long begun breastfeeding and have noticed more headaches than normal as well as new aches and pains within your neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, elbows, wrists and hands, there’s a high chance that you’re not feeding in an optimal manner and are beginning to experience the after-effects.

However, take heart in the knowledge that there are numerous osteopathic strategies that you can use to make breastfeeding comfortable and pleasant again. 

Many of these strategies make use of items that are likely already in your home or require nothing more than a slight adjustment to your positioning. Let’s take a closer look.

Incorporate Breastfeeding Ergonomics

The most effective way to avoid pain while breastfeeding is to incorporate some ergonomic strategy into your routine. 

Ergonomics might sound complicated and something that’s more geared towards ensuring office workers are positioned correctly with their computer but, overall, ergonomics are actually just some simple steps towards having good posture while you’re doing what you’re doing. 

We understand that a new mother might not be interested in the term ‘ergonomics’ when she has her little one to admire but, if small postural changes are made early on, they can make a big difference and prevent pain right from when breastfeeding commences.

There is no need to be uncomfortable while performing the admirable task of breastfeeding. This is particularly relevant in a time when lingering pain from childbirth, fatigue, overwhelm and post-natal depression can all simultaneously add to the workload of being a new mum. 

By subtly introducing some ergonomics into your feeding sessions, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of developing musculoskeletal discomfort while also feeling confident that you’re feeding correctly and giving yourself the chance to enjoy this cherished time pain-free.

Additionally, having good posture as you breastfeed also helps to ensure a healthy and steady milk flow.

Tap into Local Breastfeeding Support

Did you know that you can seek in-person advice and support from a local breastfeeding group

Meetings run by breastfeeding support groups are designed to teach what is required during breastfeeding as well as sharing what is normal and what is not.  You can tap into other people’s experiences and share thoughts generally on breastfeeding. 

Ideally, you want to get ahead and start attending a breastfeeding group before baby arrives but new mothers, partners and hungry little ones are just as welcome as they work together to get things going.

Set-up a Feeding Station and Add Physical Support

Given the numerous hours that breastfeeding entails, it’s an investment to spend a short amount of time setting up a bespoke feeding station for you and your little one. 

Aim to find a comfortable spot within the home that can accommodate a supportive chair, a small table that can sit alongside (ideally reaching up to the same height as the arms of your chair) and a foot stool. 

Combined, these will all enable you to sit comfortably and supported while breastfeeding over prolonged periods. 

Make sure to sit all the way back in your chair as this will help prevent back pain and use the foot stool to raise your feet up as and when necessary. 

When sitting without the foot stool, place both feet flat on the floor. Try to avoid raising your little one up to you by pushing up off the floor with your toes. 

Instead use a large, flat pillow or two beneath baby to fill any gap between you by positioning the pillows on your lap to bring baby up to the level of your nipple. This will help avoid bad postural hunching and strain within the leg muscles.

Meanwhile, your nearby table can be used to ensure that all you need is to hand when sitting in your chair.

What you choose to have here is entirely down to personal preference but common choices include extra pillows, cloths, a cup, drinks and snacks, a book, a TV remote control and a mobile phone.

Adopt an Array of Breastfeeding Positions

Using the same breastfeeding position time-and-time again may be a tempting lazy option but, over the long-term, this can become boring while the use of a sole position equates to excessive strain being placed on a very limited range of muscles and leads to pain.

There are a great many ways to hold baby while enjoying a comfortable angle and strong latch between you. Trial as many different positions as you can for you’ll inevitably find some positions work better at home whilst others prove more practical when out and about.

Among our favourite, ergonomic-friendly breastfeeding positions are the cross-cradle hold, the laid-back position, the football position, the side-lying position and the sweetly-named Koala hold.

The cross-cradle hold is a particularly good position for new and inexperienced mothers, allowing for good control of baby’s head. 

It is good practice to support baby from between the shoulder blades rather than pushing from behind the head for, with the latter, little one will simply push back against you. 

Cross-cradle is also helpful for premature babies or where there is a poor latch.

The laid-back position is also good in the early stages of motherhood. You’ll be surprised how good  baby is at instinctively knowing how to seek out a feed and it’s a good opportunity to let them explore using hands and smell before they latch on with you. 

The football hold is recommended where a Caesarean delivery has occurred and mum is therefore trying to avoid the Caesarean wound.  The use of pillows – behind mum’s back and under baby – helps enormously with this position.

The side-lying position is a favourite for night-time feeds and a particularly relaxing technique to try.  Side-lying is another position recommended for mums who are trying to avoid contact around their abdomen post-Caesarean. 

Not only does the koala hold make us feel nostalgic for home, this cute position can help where neck tension or spasms are proving problematic as your legs and knees support baby’s weight, giving your upper body some welcome relief.  

Learning a handful of positions not only introduces variety into your breastfeeding routine, but it will also challenge and strengthen baby’s motor skills while helping you avoid pain.  You can learn these positions at a breastfeeding support group, via online tutorials or with us here at the Focus Osteopathy clinic

Keep Moving

Whichever breastfeeding positions you choose, aim to avoid being in any given position for more than 45 minutes and switch to another when this time has passed.

This is because holding a prolonged static position causes a build-up of lactic acid within muscle tissue, causing pain.  At the same time, circulation and oxygen levels in the muscle decrease, causing us to feel stiff.   

To counteract these issues, use any winding breaks as an opportunity to move or walk around for a few minutes.

Another simple yet effective trick is to switch sides.  This encourages even milk supply from both breasts as well as giving your muscles equal opportunity to work and recover.  Setting a timer to switch sides after 15 minutes can be a helpful reminder. 

It’s also a great idea to take a few minutes after breastfeeding to do some gentle stretches as this helps relieve any tension that has developed while you’ve been with baby. 

We recommend trying rotational movements from side-to-side whilst sitting in a chair, turning your head from side-to-side and rolling your shoulders. Additionally, rolling over the back of your chair or a big supportive pillow on the floor can help open up the chest and remobilise the upper back.

Try to incorporate gentle post-feeding movement into your routine. It’ll become a welcome treat after a job well done.

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Bun In The Oven? Why Your Wrist Pain Is Pregnancy Related.

Ouch! My wrist has begun to hurt since pregnancy. Seriously, is this a symptom? 

Amid the joy of a new pregnancy follows the need to adapt to a vast array of side-effects. 

From morning sickness to stomach cramps, headaches, puffy ankles, mood swings and sleeplessness, pregnancy brings many well-known symptoms meaning – even for the strongest willed of women – being a mother-to-be can feel like a lengthy test of endurance.   

But what about wrist pain?  Did anyone at the family planning mention that wrist pain is a surprisingly common symptom of pregnancy too?  

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Yes, it’s true. Up to 40% of pregnant women experience wrist pain in the run-up to delivering their child and sometimes beyond in the post-natal phase.  

Irritating wrist pain during pregnancy usually develops thanks to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), with pain making itself known during either the second or third trimester of pregnancy.   

Seriously, what’s the connection between wrist pain and pregnancy and why does your wrist suddenly hurt so badly? 

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition that is caused by unusual pressure that affects the nerves running through the wrist.  CTS pain is experienced from the base of the hand and radiating up into thumb and index and middle fingers.   

The carpal tunnel is a protective passage in the wrist that contains several tendons as well as the median nerve. The tendons are responsible for moving your fingers whilst the median nerve controls sensitivity throughout the hand.  It is a compact area not too dissimilar from the wiring you find packed inside telephone wires. 

However, problems arise when either the carpal tunnel becomes narrowed due to injury or when the pressure around the median nerve increases.  When the highly sensitive median nerve is compressed, notable pain can be felt through the wrist and hand. This has the potential to disrupt sleep as well as interfering with the ability to grasp objects firmly. 

In most cases, particularly in pregnant women, CTS will usually affect both hands simultaneously. 

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  

Besides considerable discomfort spreading up and throughout most of your hand, CTS can also cause numbness or tingling sensations as well as pain that radiates from the wrist and up through the arm, elbow or shoulder.  

It is common for the wrist or fingers to also look and feel swollen as well as pain being more problematic overnight. You are more likely to experience worsened CTS symptoms within your dominant hand.  

In advanced CTS cases, use of the thumb can be difficult.  Your hand may feel weak or you may find yourself dropping items by accident and feeling clumsy when trying to pick items back up. 

What is the connection between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and pregnancy? 

CTS affects pregnant women far more than any other group in the general population, with almost half of mothers-to-be getting to know CTS as they prepare for motherhood.  Up to 10% of pregnant women experience CTS to the point of the condition impacting upon their day-to-day activities. Up to 50% of these women will feel CTS symptoms in both hands.   

Pregnancy is one of the strongest risk factors for developing CTS but why is this so? It’s all to do with pressure. As you move through pregnancy, hormonal changes are abound which lead to fluid retention and swelling.  In turn, the carpal tunnel and the median nerve housed within are under far more pressure than normal. If your hands, feet and ankles that look puffy during your pregnancy, you are highly likely to also develop CTS. 

As pregnancy continues to progress, compression within the wrist increases hence why CTS tends to strike in the latter trimesters. This is when the median nerve begins to radiate pain thanks to the tendons becoming irritated and inflamed. Consequently, thanks to these issues, overall functioning within the hand then tends to suffer.   

The hormone relaxin, released during pregnancy to help the body cope with the growing baby inside, can also contribute to CTS.  As relaxin is released throughout the body, it affects many different types of tissues, including ligaments within the wrist.  Relaxin loosens these ligaments and they can sometimes partly collapse and entrap the median nerve.   

In addition to fluid retention and swelling, the physical adjustment by the body to a growing stomach and enlarged breasts that are readying themselves for feeding a new-born also contributes to CTS. As extra weight pulls on the upper shoulders and neck, the shoulders begin to internally rotate and the head juts forward. This leads to a tense upper body and reduced blood flow into the arms, hands and wrists, further enhancing the possibility of CTS. 

Furthermore, as if struggling to sleep in the late stages of pregnancy wasn’t bad enough, all those awkward sleeping positions that are being tried out can also exacerbate the CTS symptoms.  

Pregnancy and Risk Factors for CTS 

There are several factors that can increase risk for developing CTS during pregnancy. These include being pregnant with more than one baby, excessive body weight, having hypertension or the mother being over 30 years old. 

Additionally, if CTS has been experienced within the family, there is a higher risk of developing the condition for CTS is somewhat hereditary in nature.  Similarly, if CTS has been experienced in a previous pregnancy, it is common for this niggle to reoccur in a new pregnancy. 

Post-Natal Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  

Although CTS is much more common in pregnant women, it is also a condition that can carry on into the post-natal stage too. Of those who experience CTS during pregnancy, 50% will still have a degree of CTS one year after giving birth. Three years after giving birth, 30% of mothers still experience a degree of CTS symptoms. 

Although these statistics may sound disheartening, pregnancy-induced CTS ceases more readily than CTS that results from any other factor.  Indeed, as hormones resort to their pre-pregnancy state, CTS should gradually resolve after childbirth. This usually occurs over a period of a few weeks.  

However, if other risk factors are present or a repetitive wrist injury occurs from holding and caring for the child afterward, CTS can persist for longer.   

As a general rule, if CTS symptoms begin early within a pregnancy, they will normally take longer to resolve. 

Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome via Osteopathy 

If you suspect CTS during pregnancy, consulting with an osteopath can provide an accurate diagnosis. To confirm the condition, your osteopath will first conduct an examination of your neck, shoulders, arms and hands.  This helps to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to CTS.  This is likely to be accompanied by grip, sensory and range-of-motion tests.  These will establish the strength and dexterity that you have in your hands as well as highlighting when symptoms occur during regular daily movement.   

Preeclampsia – An Important Consideration 

Upon presenting with symptoms of CTS, your osteopath will be keen to investigate the possibility of another potential condition known as preeclampsia.   

Preeclampsia is a complex condition that develops during pregnancy and involves high blood pressure in combination with either protein within the urine or low platelets in the blood.  Not only can preeclampsia contribute to pain in the wrists and hands, it can also cause persistent headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, weight gain, unusual swelling, blurry vision and a feeling of being short of breath.   

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy and Beyond – How Focus Osteopathy Can Help 

Unlike many doctors, we do not apply the ‘wait and see’ approach. After all, that only leaves you in the lurch.   

We understand that although CTS is usually only a temporary inconvenience – experienced during and shortly after pregnancy – it is also a highly irritating problem and one you’re likely to be glad of assistance with.  As if you didn’t already have enough pregnancy symptoms to handle without painful wrists in the mix too! 

When dealing with the niggling symptoms of CTS, consulting with an osteopath offers up numerous treatment options that are safe for you and your baby, both throughout your pregnancy and beyond.   

After providing an accurate diagnosis and establishing exactly how CTS is affecting you day-to-day, we will then narrow down what’s required to manage your symptoms and reduce your pain.   

Often the simplest solutions work best so we would usually begin with guidance on how to avoid any specific movements that are causing you significant pain. We would also look at your overall posture and day-to-day activities to see if there is anything that can be tweaked to reduce CTS symptoms.  This could include incorporating rest periods and stretch breaks into your day as well as potentially adjusting a desk or workstation set-up.  

Additionally, we can teach you gentle exercises that will improve flexibility in the wrist, hands and fingers. These will increase blood flow and reduce pain.  Alternating hot/cold treatments as well as stress reduction and fluid draining massage can also prove beneficial.  

Splinting is another option, most commonly used at night. This helps to reduce overall strain within the wrist. Your osteopath can provide and adjust the splint for maximum benefit. A good night’s sleep may just well follow! 

When your new-born arrives, your osteopath can remain on hand as your wrists are highly likely to be challenged by having a baby to regularly pick up and hold. Here, we can advise on how to hold your new-born without CTS continuing to trouble you, allowing you to move on from wrist pain and focus on simply enjoying these precious moments with your new child. 

A Quick Note About De Quervain’s Syndrome 

De Quervain’s Disease/Syndrome sounds exotic, but you don’t need to travel amid the jungles to develop the condition. 

The syndrome affects the tendons located on your thumb, that run in a tunnel (tendon sheath). The thickening of the ligamentous structure over this tunnel causes pain when the thumb is used or moved. 

For men, it can occur out of the blue. Yet, for women, it can often be linked to pregnancy. Besides ‘joining the wrist-pain party’, it can also occur in young mothers when picking up their baby.  

Symptoms may include swelling or soreness on the thumb side of your wrist, alongside pain when using the tendons around your thumb. 

It’s always worth speaking to your Osteopath about De Quervain’s Syndrome as, occasionally, it can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, and vice versa. 

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Women! Why Putting Yourself First Is So Important

Are you the no-show patient? 

Is there an empty chair at your doctor’s surgery where you should be sitting instead?

Have you found yourself inundated with letters, text messages and phone calls from your healthcare clinic, all reminding you of that overdue check-up? 

Do you feel that medical appointments now pop up with the same irritating ardour as grey hairs – with attending one appointment usually resulting in invites to half a dozen more?

And all of this occurring amongst the ever-present ‘to do’ list and fervour of day-to-day life?

We hear you and we understand. 

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Even if you aspire to having good health and you’d be horrified to think your doctor viewed you as unmotivated, it is not uncommon to unintentionally become the ‘no-show’ patient. 

Life is busy and working hours are long.

There are commitments to uphold and people we don’t wish to let down. 

Even when we know a medical appointment is important or we would genuinely find it helpful to run something by a healthcare specialist, pinning down the time to go to a medical appointment can be notably challenging.

This is especially true if appointments are only offered during conventional office hours and things need to be juggled at work in-order to make yourself available. 

Factor in the inevitable competition for parking when you arrive at a clinic, unpredictable wait times as well as not being fully sure how you’ll feel afterwards and it all adds up to make ticking a healthcare appointment off your ‘to do’ list harder still.   

As a result, it can be a surprisingly long time before we have that long-intended chat with our doctor or get the results of a pending medical test. 

For all our good intentions when it comes to health, what does it take for us to put ourselves first? And why does it matter when it comes to women’s health? 

Why Do We Delay Our Healthcare Appointments?

There are numerous reasons why we delay seeing a healthcare specialist. Which one applies to you? 

Excuses, excuses  

Let’s face it.  Sometimes, we just don’t want to go.  

Amongst all else that’s going on, attending a medical appointment isn’t exactly the most exciting nor appealing of activities. 

Being in your specialist’s waiting room usually requires notifying your employer of the pending appointment, the travel and expense of getting there, and navigating your way through a complex maze of wards and corridors.

Not to mention enduring a frustrating wait whilst seated amongst strangers, trying to explain your complicated symptoms to a doctor who is usually pushed for time, undergoing medical tests that leave you feeling exhausted and then, on the way home, wondering why the appointment didn’t perhaps go better. 

Combined with plenty else demanding our attention elsewhere, it’s both tempting and perfectly understandable for us to use our hectic schedule to avoid going in the first place. Is it a case of excuses, excuses? 

Ignorance Is Bliss

Granted, medicine is an incredibly impressive and fascinating field.  But medicine exists for a reason – it is utilised when something goes physically wrong with us, whether that be an infection, an allergy or a physiological response to injury.

Much like when our car goes in for safety checks at the garage, when medical tests are performed, we’re effectively inviting in the possibility that we’re going to be told something is wrong or that we could be doing better.  Does anyone really like to be told either? 

Sometimes, our fear of what might be wrong stops us from seeing a healthcare specialist. In other cases, an individual can become burnt out by attending relentless clinics and taking repetitive medical advice.

This is common when someone has managed a challenging medical condition long-term or they feel the medical advice they’re being given is patronizing, no longer applicable or unhelpful. Sometimes, we just don’t want to know. Is it a case of ignorance is bliss?

Up Against It?

If you’re a real go-getter or you’re always the first to help others, being prompted to attend your annual check-up can seriously throw an unwelcome spanner in the works. 

With lengthy work commitments, promises and favours to friends and family, voluntary commitments on our down-time and an endless push to do better, it’s no wonder you’re rarely seen at the healthcare clinic!   

While being ambitious and mindful of other people’s needs is entirely commendable, it is important to remember that you can only pour for others if you first stop to fill the jug. 

Just like your career objectives, family plans and commitments within the community, you too are important. Skipping healthcare appointments is, in the long-run,   doing yourself an injustice.  Is it a case of needing to cut some strings and reduce being constantly up against it? 

Lacking Awareness

Sometimes we don’t even know there is a healthcare problem that needs addressed. 

Do you know what’s normal when it comes to having a period, every weird and wonderful symptom of pregnancy, how menstrual hormones affect mood as well as countless other processes within the body, when menopause is supposed to happen or how going to the bathroom too often or too little can actually stem from an unhappy pelvis and troubled reproductive system?   

Rather than ignoring what’s going on, we’re sometimes not attuned to there being an issue present in the first place. Could it be a lack of awareness? 

Lacking Confidence/Sense Of Shame 

Even as modern-day women, who are busy gaining ever-increasing confidence in forging careers for ourselves while showing the lads how it’s done, there’s nothing quite like having to address a women’s health issue within a medical clinic to test even almighty nerves of steel.   

From having to explain unusual pain in our nether-regions to embarrassing discharges and erratic bleeding to an inability to enjoy intercourse, boy isn’t it a challenge to get the words out in person in the clinic! 

Combined with undressing from the waist down to having to embrace the stirrups and show everyone what lurks down there, getting checked out on a women’s health problem usually involves a fair amount of leaving your pride at the door.  Is it a lack of confidence or a sense of shame that’s stopping you from booking that much-needed appointment?

The Degradation Of Health - Time Waits For No Woman

Whether we like it or not, time waits for no woman. Equally, burying one’s head in the sand does not usually make a problem go away and, when it comes to our health, a medical problem will happily wreak havoc and even progress while we play the cards of ‘ignorance is bliss’ or ‘I’m too busy’.

We hate to tell you but a medical condition possesses neither feelings nor regard for your state of mind, your commitments or overflowing schedule.

Frustratingly, within our clinic at Focus Osteopathy, we see a great many women who’ve allowed their schedule to derail their desire to seek out medical advice. 

Often, by the time patients arrive for their initial consultation, what had started out as a minor niggle some time ago has become a painful, overwhelming and thoroughly unwelcome medical condition. We can’t help but think ‘if only you’d come to us sooner!’.

While we understand the many difficulties and distractions that prevent patients from seeking medical advice, we would always encourage someone to speak with their healthcare specialist as soon as possible.

This is because a small health issue – which could be remedied quickly and with minimal intervention – can quickly snowball into something much more problematic and chronic if it is ignored. 

Make Yourself A Priority – Visit Us At Focus Osteopathy

To possess and retain optimal health, it is crucial to make yourself as much of a priority as your ‘to do’ list.

This is particularly true when it comes to women’s health issues.  Thanks to the complexity of female physiology as well as the various reproductive processes that are unique to women, there is significant potential over a woman’s lifetime for niggling health issues or an unexpected injury to occur.   

Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are all entirely natural processes but they are also sure-fire candidates for leaving you in need of either medical advice or assistance.

The pelvic floor can weaken, nerves can incur damage and surprising aches and pains may develop as new physical challenges arise and reproductive hormones fluctuate.  

In the absence of treatment, many women’s health problems will persist including pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), endometriosis and urinary incontinence. In pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain (PGP), symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), round ligament pain, carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) and rib pain will all usually get progressively worse.   

Here at Focus Osteopathy, our therapists can work on improving your muscle function and pelvic position, advise on workplace ergonomics and optimal posture, teach exercise and relaxation techniques and most importantly, work with you to maintain your health and wellbeing.

We use hands-on techniques to mobilize joints, soothe soft tissues and regain flexibility throughout the body.   

Isn’t it time to send that women’s health problem packing? If you can put yourself first and find a little time to see us, we are ready and willing to help you with a wide variety of women’s health issues here at Focus Osteopathy. 

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The Signs of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Experiencing urinary problems? Pelvic Floor Dysfunction may be to blame. 

When you’re experiencing urinary problems, there’s a high chance that a condition known as ‘Pelvic Floor Dysfunction‘ may be lurking behind the numerous symptoms that are frustrating, exhausting and embarrassing. 

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What is the Pelvic Floor?  

The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that form a bowl-shaped hammock, stretching between the pubic bone and the coccyx at the base of the spine.  It is a fundamental structure, sitting at a slight tilt and performing several roles including strengthening the abdomen and back, stabilizing the core and controlling urination and defecation.   

The pelvic floor holds many internal organs in place, among which are the lower intestine and bladder as well as the prostate in men and the ovaries and uterus in women. During childbirth, the pelvic floor must relax to allow the safe delivery of a baby. 

When considering the sheer load of what must be physically supported as well as its many differing functions, the pelvic floor possesses impressive capabilities

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction? 

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) is an umbrella term that indicates something has gone wrong with the pelvic floor muscles. Many problematic symptoms – including urinary issues – arise in the presence of this condition.   

There are two forms of PFD, each dictated by the state of the pelvic floor.

The first form is referred to as hypotonicity (or low muscle tone) and results from weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. In this case, the muscles possess a poor level of contraction, often leading to pelvic organ prolapse (POP) as well as urinary and faecal incontinence and many other symptoms. 

The second form of PFD is caused by hypertonicity, where the pelvic floor muscles are tense or tight and cannot fully relax. This can lead to voiding issues with the bladder and bowel as well as pain during intercourse and within the lower back. 

PFD is a notable problem among new mothers – the condition registers as the most common complication of childbirth.  In rare cases, PFD can be triggered by a sudden injury (e.g., a fall onto the perineum). 

PFD can be surprisingly debilitating, often thanks to the interconnected nature of the fascia (connective tissues) within the pelvis. This means that an issue in one area of the pelvic floor has a good chance of impacting another. 

For the majority of those with PFD, the problem has built up slowly as a result of multiple concurrent factors, with the condition only manifesting itself symptomatically when a high level of muscle weakness or tightness has developed.   

Symptoms of PFD 

PFD delivers numerous symptoms, many of which are painful and problematic.  Symptoms of PFD develop so gradually that they’re often mistaken as part and parcel of getting older.  

As a result, the issue may not be recognized by an individual for many years. Sometimes PFD is detected unexpectedly in a check-up (e.g., ultra-scan) for an entirely different medical matter.  

PFD is most commonly associated with urinary incontinence but this is not always the case.  

Other possible symptoms include pelvic pain, faecal incontinence, lower back pain, coccyx pain, difficulty sleeping, pain during intercourse, an inability to void or defecate fully, a general feeling of pressure within the pelvis, the urge to urinate frequently, repeated urinary infections and a weak urine stream.  

PFD and Urinary Issues in Women

PFD afflicts both genders but not equally.  Lifestyle factors such as partaking in high-impact sport, obesity or extended periods of sitting can increase PFD risk in both sexes. However, women are troubled by PFD much more thanks to the various strains and changes that the pelvis undergoes during a woman’s lifetime. 

A common cause of PFD in females is childbirth. Over 30% of women experience injury to the pelvic floor during labour. Without adequate muscle training, the pelvic floor is often weak post-partum.   

In later life, menopausal hormone changes can encourage PFD to develop. Over half of women over the age of 50 experience a degree of pelvic organ prolapse (POP).  

Often, caused by weakness within the pelvic floor, POP allows an organ to shift and this causes issues by putting unexpected pressure elsewhere in the pelvis.  Undergoing a hysterectomy will increase the chances of POP and PFD occurring.

On the other hand, significant POP can also be the reason why some women have a hysterectomy.  

One of the stand-out symptoms of PFD in women is urinary difficulty.  This can take the form of urinary leaks when coughing, sneezing and moving around (urinary incontinence) or difficulty emptying the bladder (urinary retention).  

Urinary incontinence is frequently associated with decreasing oestrogen levels while urinary retention is caused by either an obstruction near the bladder or dysfunction of a bladder muscle. 

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These issues can be caused by POP, changing hormone levels, a tumour or uterine fibroids compressing the urethra or neurological damage that stems from a chronic illness such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Occasionally, a retroverted gravid uterus can cause urinary retention post-partum.   

The bladder itself can prolapse within the pelvis. When this occurs, it is medically referred to as a cystocele. The fallen bladder then presses against the front vaginal wall, causing a feeling of heaviness. Bladder prolapse can occur solo or in conjunction with uterine or rectal prolapse and this is usually determined by the overall condition of the pelvic floor.  

Around a quarter of women will develop PFD but sadly, due to lack of awareness on the condition and the embarrassment that accompanies tackling the problem, only a small proportion actually seek treatment. 

Treating PFD and Urinary Issues with Osteopathy  

As osteopaths, it is frustrating to know so many women unknowingly develop PFD and then go on to experience its unpleasant side-effects while avoiding assistance thanks to embarrassment.  

This is especially true when we know that the condition is easy to diagnose and responsive to the appropriate treatment. PFD cases either disappear or significantly improve with manual therapy and rehabilitation advice, including osteopathy. 

Which specific form of PFD has arisen is diagnosed via its symptoms and from which organ the issues originate from.   

If you suspect PFD, do not let embarrassment stop you from seeking help. This is important for the longer PFD is left unmanaged, the more treatment is usually needed.  

For example, urinary retention is very uncomfortable and, if not addressed, it can be dangerous too. When the bladder cannot empty sufficiently, this can cause renal damage long-term and then both issues require treatment.   

To obtain an accurate diagnosis, your osteopath will find it helpful to know your medical background as well as what symptoms you are experiencing. PFD can be caused by other issues so be sure to give as much detail as you can. 

50% of people with constipation also have PFD, caused by the constant strain during defecation.  By remedying one issue, even if it may seem unrelated, you may also address PFD. 

Upon consultation, your osteopath will want to establish what issues, if any, are present within your pelvic floor.  You may be asked to breathe, sit, stand and walk within the clinic as moving around helps pinpoint posture issues that could be negatively affecting your pelvic floor.  

Your osteopath may also seek to identify muscle trigger points and tight connective tissues that add to your discomfort. Further insight can often be revealed by an internal examination as this allows both the strength and tightness of the muscles in the pelvic floor to be fully evaluated.  

Following diagnosis of PFD, your osteopath can develop a rehabilitation plan, which is tailored specifically to remedying the exact form and severity of PFD that you have as well as any associated issues that may also be lingering.  

In many cases, simply restoring a higher level of mobility and movement proves enormously beneficial. 

This is usually gained through, breath retraining, posture re-training combined with home exercises designed to either strengthen or relax the pelvic floor muscles as required.   

In addition, your osteopath may prescribe dietary changes to reduce overall pain and enhance your rehabilitation as you work on the physical elements of your programme. 

They may also introduce manual massage or myofascial release into your plan as well as the use of a transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) machine or the use of biofeedback sensors. 

However your osteopath guides you through rehabilitation therapy, the overall aim will be to combat PFD by restoring healthy function in your pelvic floor.  

Your osteopath will also be able to advise on lifestyle habits and either offer direct training or point you in the right direction for other helpful techniques such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and deep breathing. 

Combined, an osteopathic rehabilitation programme can significantly enhance your overall well-being as well as empower you to not let PFD affect your life and lifestyle for good. 

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Coccyx Pain – My Tailbone Hurts to Sit

 Ouch! Has sitting down become uncomfortable? It could be your coccyx… 

To sit down, to take a seat, to make yourself comfortable, to take the weight off one’s feet – it all sounds so inviting and oh-so-good, until it actually hurts to do so.  If you’ve found yourself saying ‘I’d rather stand thanks’ just a little too often lately, it’s possible you’re dealing with an uncomfortable condition known as coccydynia.  

This term relates to a range of symptoms including tenderness, stiffness and pain, which all stem from the tailbone and have the potential to make sitting a day-to-day nightmare.   

Coccydynia usually manifests itself as a relentless ache within the lower back as well as sharp pains that radiate from the area as you try to stand upright from a seated position or bend forward.  

In some cases, shooting pains are also felt down through the legs as well as around the hips and anus or backside.  For women, the pain of coccydynia can be prominent during intercourse and menstruation. 

Tailbone pain typically lasts a few weeks but, when the issue is not addressed sufficiently, symptoms often last far longer. Coccydynia can therefore become a long-term condition with pain that peaks and troughs in correlation with what’s going on in your lifestyle. 

Despite how prevalent a condition tailbone pain is, many sufferers simply shuffle around in their seats and put up with the ongoing discomfort.  This is partly because of an assumption that lower back pain is an inevitable part of working long hours behind a desk or that aches and pains are simply part of getting older.   

However, if you’re prone to thinking that long-distance travel is only bearable with high-class, squidgy seats beneath you or, better still, you’d ‘rather stand thanks’, coccydynia may be the reason why sitting has become so noticeably uncomfortable. 

What Is The Coccyx And What Does It Do? 

Difference between male and female hips.

The coccyx is a triangular bony structure, composed of three to five small bones that are located together at the base of your spine.  Also known as the tailbone, the coccyx serves as a framework for several pelvic muscles and ligaments to attach themselves to.

In doing so, this provides much-needed stability and support for the contents of the pelvis, including the bowel and urogenital organs, which would otherwise weaken the pelvic floor.   

Additionally, the coccyx possesses the ability to move slightly. Albeit possessing a limited amount of flex, the coccyx can move when the nearby pelvis, hips and legs are in motion as well as during childbirth.   

Although the overall purpose of the coccyx is modest, if all is not well here, the repercussions can be painful for this area is generously populated with nerves.  It is unlikely you will fail to notice an injury to the coccyx. This is particularly true if you are prone to long periods of sitting. 

What Causes Coccydynia? 

Female coccyx pain.

There are numerous causes for coccydynia, some of which bring the condition on suddenly while others gradually lead towards the problem.   

Within our osteopathic clinic, it is generally those who have noticed sudden tailbone pain that we see most often. Primarily, this is because cases of coccydynia that bring on severe pain – which previously didn’t exist – usually result from physical trauma to the lower back. 

This may occur during sport or, most usually, a slip and hard fall onto where the coccyx resides.  Around 50% of coccydynia cases occur thanks to unexpected injury and there’s nothing quite like sudden, sharp pain to encourage a visit to a healthcare specialist. When it is slippery outside, we tend to get busy! These traumatic injuries can include a fracture to the coccyx! 

For women, the possibility of developing coccydynia is up to five times higher than men. Because a woman’s pelvis is broader, the coccyx is more exposed and subsequently more vulnerable to injury. 

Furthermore, the nature of a woman’s pelvic anatomy leads to a natural inclination for more weight to be placed upon the tailbone during sitting, the load of which increases the likelihood of experiencing pain. 

Additionally, a woman’s pelvis endures a great deal of strain during childbirth while both the sacrum and coccyx move during delivery.  This can overstretch the muscles and ligaments attached to the coccyx. Although helpful during childbirth, this can result in postnatal discomfort.   

Other possible causes of coccydynia include natural wear and tear as well as osteoarthritic conditions as we get older, repetitive strain injuries from repeated movements, being either over or underweight, possessing an unusual curvature within the spine (known as scoliosis), infection within the lower back or a cancerous tumour located close to the coccyx.

It is often patients with these additional issues that we do not see as readily in our clinic for it is common for their tailbone pain to develop gradually and thus, mistaken as a nuisance that is simply to be endured. 

Interestingly, many cases of coccydynia are entirely preventable for they simply result from poor ergonomics – like sitting postures or inadequate lifestyle choices.  Long periods of sitting, cheap office furniture, insufficient movement and a lack of strength within the core muscles are all factors that can lead to coccydynia and then keep the resulting pain going, unnecessarily, for years afterwards. 

How Can I Tackle Tailbone Pain? 

What causes coccyx pain?

Many solutions exist for remedying tailbone pain and these are usually dictated by what has initially caused the issue.  

Our first recommendation is to acknowledge the problem and seek an expert diagnosis as soon as possible. You can obtain this either via your doctor or an osteopathic specialist. Ignoring pain, particularly if there is a genuine injury present, can lead to exasperating the issue further as well as prolonging the time that it will take to recover. 

By establishing exactly what is causing your discomfort, you will be able to receive medical guidance and precise treatment that is tailored specifically to you rather than working through several strategies that could prove fruitless and frustrating. 

Osteopathic Solutions For Coccydynia 

Coccyx and hips.

Call us biased but we genuinely believe that an osteopathic approach is the most effective way to rid yourself of troublesome coccydynia.  Not only is osteopathy a hands on specific treatment geared for solving the likes of tailbone pain, it is fully natural and does not require drug-based treatment. 

Avoiding drug-based treatment allows you to side-step recurrent trips to the local pharmacy as well as a whole array of unwanted side effects that are usually offered up by pills.  Impressively, osteopathy has been demonstrated to be more effective, in the long-term, than treatment via corticosteroid injections.   

Not only is an osteopath able to establish the position of both your spine and pelvis, they can also physically assist you to gently realign and therefore counteract the cause of your pain.  

Diagnosis is achieved via  a full medical history and extensive and thorough examination of the whole body – with particular interest around the pelvis, inclusive of the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments that have a relationship and connect to the coccyx .  Not only does this pinpoint how coccydynia has developed, it can also begin reducing the stress on and around the lower back. 

Most osteopathic therapies will then move into soft tissue manipulation, gentle stretches and mobility and fascial release techniques.  For greater healing, your osteopath may also recommend an internal assessment of the pelvic floor muscles and coccyx.  

Combined, osteopathic strategies offer a powerful yet natural solution for solving the irritating pain that results from coccydynia.  Additionally, your osteopath will also be able to offer detailed insight into how the condition developed and therefore how you can prevent a future reoccurrence.  

Are you sitting comfortably?  If not, why not let Focus Osteopathy show you how?