Mansfield Physical Therapy Services              
Where patients come to feel better not worse.

Woman's Health


The staff at Mansfield Physical Therapy is well trained in working with health issues that may arise during pregnancy.  We use gentle manual approaches to maintain proper spinal alignment as well as craniosacral techniques that reduce sacral tension causing back pain and sub occipital tension causing headaches.  Our mission is to assist patients to a maximum outcome of ease and comfort during pregnancy.  As well, our approach through education of body mechanics also helps women reduce low back pain, and our instruction in gentle exercises is helpful to maintain strength for an easier delivery as well as for post delivery integrity.  

If you are in pain or have a desire to understand what exercises (1) can be helpful throughout pregnancy, ask your doctor for a referral to our clinic.  If you have questions about whether your symptoms can be addressed through physical therapy, please call our office and we will be happy to answer your concerns.  Following are some of the common concerns that some women may experience during pregnancy and how physical therapy can help.

Low Back Pain:  low back pain is said to occur in 50-90% of pregnant woman (2-8).  With an increase in the hormone relaxin, laxity in all joints, including the sacroiliac joint occurs.  Combined with a shift in a woman’s center of gravity, this can lead to subsequent curve in the spine and resultant pain.  Physical therapy can help with gentle manual therapy to align the sacroiliac joint, in conjunction with mild abdominal exercise relative to the patient’s length of pregnancy.  Soft tissue mobilization is also helpful to restore muscular balance.  Specific home exercises are also a valuable part of treatment for continued relief.   

Cervical and Thoracic Pain:  Not only do spinal imbalances create low back pain, the shift in the center of gravity, along with increasing breast size, can create spinal imbalances toward a forward head position(2) which increases the cervical lordosis with resultant neck pain and sub occipital headaches (9).  Physical therapy can help educate patients toward a better center of gravity in sitting, standing, and functional activities, as well as release the occipital tension through craniosacral techniques to reduce headaches.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction:  Patients with this dysfunction complain of pain lifting their legs to put on clothes, getting out of the car, bending over, and standing on one leg in going up/down the stairs and presents with a waddling gait (10, 11).  Physical therapy interventions vary depending on the severity of cases, from education on positioning to mild core strengthening to compensate for ligament laxity due to hormonal changes.

Urinary Incontinence:  Physical therapy can be helpful in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through realignment of the pelvis as well as through Kegel exercises (9).

Cesarean Childbirth:  If you are scheduled for cesarean childbirth, physical therapy can be implemented for correct breathing and coughing education to prevent post surgical pulmonary complications.  Physical therapy is also important to educate woman in lifting precautions, as well as instructing women in transverse friction massage to prevent incision adhesions.  Postural exercises, pelvic floor exercises and gentle abdominal exercises are also important for an easeful recovery.  

Newborns:  Physical therapy and specifically craniosacral therapy has been successful in outcomes for newborns with forceps and vacuum deliveries.  It is also successful in treating torticollis, shoulder dislocations, and hip dysphasia.  


1. Snyder S, Pentergaph B. Exercise during pregnancy: what do we really know? Am Pham Physician. 2004;69:1053-1056.

2. Moore K, Dumas GA, Raid JG. POstural changes associated with pregnancy and their relationship with low back pain. Clin Biomech (Bristol Avon). 1990;5:169-174.

3. Whitman JM. Pregnancy, low back pain and manual physical therapy interventions. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2002;32:314-317.

4. Mogren IM, Pohjanen AI. Low back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy: prevalence and risk factors. Spine. 2005; 30:983-991.

5. Pool-Gpudzwaard AL, Slieker ten Hove MC, Vierhout ME et al. Relations between pregnancy related low back pain, pelvic floor activity and pelvic floor dysfunction. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2005; 16:468-474.

6. Wang SM, Dezinno P, Maranets I, et al. Low back pain during pregnancy: prevalence risk factors and outcome. Obstet Gynecol. 2004; 104:65-70.

7. Bullock JE, Jull JA, Bullock MI. The relationship of low back pain to postural changes during pregnancy. Just J Physioter.1987;33:10-17.

8. Ostgaard HC, Anderson GBJ, Shultz AB, et al. Influence of some biomechanical factors on low back pain in pregnancy. Spine1993;18:61-65.

9. Boissonnault JS, Stephenson R. The obstetric patient. In: Boissonnault WG, ed. Primary care for the Physical Therapist: Examination and Triage. St Luis: Elsevier Saunders; 2005: 239-270.

10. Depledge J, McNair PJ, Keal-Smith C, et al. Management of Symphysis Pubis dysfunction during pregnancy using exercise and pelvic support belts. Phys Ther. 2005;85:1290-1300.

11. Leadbetter RE, Mauer D, Lindow SW. Symphysis Pubis dysfunction: review of the literature.              J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med.2004;16:349-354.