A compilation of articles written by Heather Jeffcoat that were published before the launch of her website, both in print and online, including the International Journal of Childbirth Education, LA Parent Magazine, and more.
Pubic symphysis pain, or anterior pelvic girdle pain, is one of a myriad of musculoskeletal pains that women may experience during pregnancy. This pain can be debilitating, requiring some women to use crutches or a rolling walker to alleviate the pain while allowing some mobility. Some studies report that up to 50% of pregnant women have some type of pelvic girdle pain prior to 20 weeks gestation. Additionally, this pain negatively affects perceived health and sexual life during pregnancy (Mogren, 2006).
Carpal tunnel syndrom during pregnancy (CTS) is a commonly overlooked problem by healthcare practitioners. It presents as mild to severe pain, numbness and sometimes weakness in the hands, wrists and forearms along the distribution of the median nerve. At times, the muscles in the forearm ache due to compensations in movement or activity that may result. The pain can occur at night, further disrupting sleep patterns. These symptoms may arise due to postural changes, increased edema, occupational stressors, or a combination of these. Often patients are told their symptoms will resolve after delivery. Although this is usually the case, patients can perform a few simple exercises that may ease or even eliminate this pregnancy complaint.
Sciatic pain? Lower back pain? Hip pain? Any of these sound familiar? What can be done for these women suffering through one of the best times of their lives? So often the advice given is to “just get a massage.” Yes, massages feel WONDERFUL, but unfortunately many women find themselves $100 poorer (plus tip!) and still in pain several hours later. Why does this happen?
Massage techniques are essentially designed to reduce muscle spasm as well as manually stretch the muscles. But this type of treatment offers only symptomatic relief and does not always address the source of the pain. Women’s health physical therapy practitioners are trained to address the source of the pain and provide the pregnant patient with an appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes, this includes massage as a means to decrease the present muscle spasm. However, there are key exercises and education to provide your patients with that can also help so many of these women and oftentimes, prevent the pain from returning.
Heather has also helped create content for the APTA that is currently published on their website and in brochures distributed around the country, including:
Additionally, Heather has numerous evidenced-based articles she has written for EBSCO Publishing, Inc. on various physical therapy related topics and continues to create content for them. She is also a sought-after expert on women’s health issues, such as pain during pregnancy, incontinence and pain during intercourse.
Women’s Health: Pregnancy and Beyond
Arroyo Monthly, page 14. August 2005.