Physical Therapy Helps Ease Pregnancy Pain

You’re a tough woman. A tough pregnant woman.

You don’t take nonsense from anyone. So why are you just putting up with the body aches and pains you are experiencing while awaiting the arrival of your baby? Pain during pregnancy isn’t something you want to wait out, many of the issues you experience during pregnancy have simple solutions. Besides increasing your comfort and happiness, taking care of yourself now can be beneficial for years to come. Physical therapy is a holistic approach to getting you through a healthy pregnancy. A treatment program will be tailored to your specific needs and to your stage of pregnancy.

PregnancyMany women experience back pain during pregnancy and just accept it as a part of the process. Recently I was working with a patient who is about 6 months pregnant and she told me that her pain was “par for the course.” My response was simple: my mouth hung open for a minute and I said “why would you be ok with that?”  Studies have shown that 50-70% of women have back pain during pregnancy
. There is no reason to continue for months with back pain that could be managed and lessened with physical therapyA variety of musculoskeletal issues can arise as your body changes including postural changes, foot pain, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, and groin pain. With appropriate exercises and manual techniques we can be an important member of the healthcare team helping keep you and baby safe and healthy.

Some of you may be wondering if exercising during pregnancy is safe. Continuing to exercise during your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for your health and for your back pain.  All of the exercises that you will be asked to perform are safe and you will always be supervised.  As you grow, exercises will be changed to accommodate your baby bump and your increased difficulty with achieving certain positions.

In addition to exercise and manual techniques there are a variety of things that I will be able to educate you on. We can analyze your footwear, determine if you need a support belt, and examine your posture. When you come in for a visit you will be fully evaluated to determine exactly what YOU need. Physical therapy is not a cookie cutter treatment; for each patient a personalized plan of care is made and modified as your status changes.

You may also be wondering if your pain will just go away after you have your baby. That’s always a possibility, but do you want to take the risk of continuing to have back pain while trying to care for a newborn? More than one third of women continue to have back pain after delivery.

You need your health so you can be the best mom possible. Why not fix the problem now?


By Kirsten Szmaida, DPT

Back in Motion Physical Therapy ⋅ Portland, Maine

Learn More About Kirsten Szmaida


How To Travel Pain Free

Travelling for the winter break?

We have the inside scoop on how to make those plane rides a more comfortable experience.

  • Bring your neck pillow.
  • Make use of your soft jacket as a cushion or support.
  • Get up and move if possible.
  • Exercise in your seat!

Why exercise in your seat?

  • Increasing circulation – prevents blood clots and keeps you warmer.
  • Fires the muscles – keep the connection from brain to muscle intact.
  • Gets nutrition to the joints with motion.

Plane seats are smaller than ever! In fact, the average width of a plan seat is only 18″. Many people also find themselves stuck inside at a desk at work or even sitting at home because of the winter conditions. So how can they still do that and exercise?

Simple chair exercises that you can do in a plane seat:


  • Keep Feet planted on floor – Don’t move
  • Use Knees: (think) bend, kicking out , move apart, and bring together.

Arms and trunk:

  • Use Elbows : Push out to side together, then one at a time, one elbow back into chair, and then the other.

Trunk twist:

  •  Slowly to each side with hands across stomach – hold for 15 seconds while turning neck

Pat on the back Stretch:

  •   Put hand on shoulder, raise elbow up while hand slides back and arch back.

Back in Motion Gives Back Holiday Giving Tree

Now through Thursday, December 18th we will have our annual Holiday Giving Tree up in all three locations.

The gifts collected are for families who have been displaced from their homes due to domestic violence.  This year we are sponsoring five families through Family Crisis Services.

If you are interested in purchasing a gift for these families please stop by any one of our locations and follow the instructions on the tree.  Thank you for helping us help these families have a happier, healthier holiday!


Gifts must be returned with the tag to Back in Motion by 5:00pm on Thursday, December 18th.  We ask that all gifts be left unwrapped so the mothers of these families can see the wonderful gifts and they can have the pleasure of wrapping them.  Additional donations will happily be accepted, no tag required.

Donations of wrapping supplies are also appreciated.

Back in Motion Takes Part In SNAP Fitness’s Push-Up Challenge for Crystal

Crystal Goodwin was diagnosed with Mast Cell disease, a rare life threatening disorder.

She is Maine’s only known case of this disease. Crystal’s medications alone cost $300,000 a year, and her severe anaphylactic reactions have lead her to over 30 ER visits since she was diagnosed.

In October 2014 SNAP Fitness held a push-up challenge to help Crystal raise the $9,000 required to cover back to back deductibles. This goal will help pay for the medications that help keep her alive.

Crystal is a patient at Back in Motion Physical Therapy’s clinic in South Portland Maine, and has become part of our family. Employees gathered sponsors and took part in the push-up challenge to show their support for Crystal. We helped to raise $2,200. Here’s how it happened…

Stretches to Prevent Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or Ease the Pain!


wrist 11      

      Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition when the median nerve is compressed in your wrist. Symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can be numbness in your fingers, tingling or general hand weakness. “carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers” (Mayoclinic). Carpel Tunnel Syndrome can arise because of incorrect posture, over use of your hands, fracture or injury of the wrist and an improper work station setup. If you work at a computer all day make sure you are ergonomically setup. This will help prevent pain in the wrist but also the neck, shoulder, back etc. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground with your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Another tip if you work at a computer all day is to take a break every 30 minutes and if you forget to take a break set a timer on your desk :-). Stretch your wrist out, get some water and allow your hands to relax for a minute. If you have injured your wrist in the past you may want to consider a wrist splint to wear at night while you’re sleeping or during the day to help stabilize the muscles in a neutral position. By wearing a splint it will help you avoid over extending or flexing the wrist which can flare up the carpel tunnel and give you unwanted symptoms. If you notice taking breaks at work and the stretches only alleviate a percentage of the pain or symptoms but not all of the pain, go get a physical examination from a health professional and see what the next best step is for you! The two pictures are wrist stretches that can help prevent Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and ease the pain. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds each 3 times and take care of your wrists! :-)