Women’s Health: Available at STAR Locations in Creve Coeur and South County
Many women come to our program for the same services as men — relief from back pain, for example, or recovery from a sports injury.
Specially trained therapists on our staff also treat a full range of conditions that are unique to women or that they develop more frequently. Our care covers conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, aging and other moments in life.
Why Choose STAR Physical Therapy for Women’s Health?
The STAR therapists who focus on women’s health have the compassion, dedication and skills to meet your unique needs. They work to provide relief from a range of conditions — even in the most challenging situations.
When you come to our program, you receive:
- Specially trained therapist: STAR therapists who treat conditions particular to women have completed additional, specialized training. One therapist holds a board certification in women’s health and completed an additional year of hospital-based training (residency). We help match you with the specialist best suited to your needs.
- Pregnancy expertise: Many women see a general provider trained in orthopedics when they need physical therapy. But our women’s health specialist also knows about the particular challenges of pregnancy. She learned side-by-side with OBGYNs in training. She makes sure the real problem is identified and nothing is missed.
- Tailored treatment: Each woman we see receives a personalized plan with care tailored to her particular needs and abilities. If you are pregnant, for example, you cannot exercise laying on your stomach, or later, your back. We make creative adjustments in the treatments we recommend and the positioning we use. We help you perform exercises correctly and make sure they are not causing pain.
Learn more about the benefits of choosing STAR sports therapy and physical therapy.
Services for Women
Our services cover a range of symptoms and conditions for women. We provide:
Pain and Other Pregnancy Challenges
The pregnancies of some women include additional challenges we can often treat. In addition to pelvic floor problems, you may experience:
- Lower back (lumbar) pain: The majority of women we see complain of sharp pain in the lowest part of their back, near the sacrum bone or the sacroiliac (SI) joint. Natural loosening of ligaments during pregnancy causes this pain.
- Upper back (thoracic) pain: Many women change their posture during pregnancy to adjust for their breast enlargement and the weight of their womb pulling them forward. This change can cause upper back pain.
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD): Ligaments can become loose too soon before delivery, affecting the stability and alignment of one of the pelvic joints (symphysis pubis) and potentially causing pain.
- Round ligament pain: The round ligament connects your groin to the front of your womb. Straining in this ligament is a common source of pain during pregnancy, especially if you are carrying a heavy baby.
- Nerve compression: Occasionally, physical changes during pregnancy or the position of your baby can press on your sciatic nerve. This nerve, your largest, starts in your lower back and runs down your buttocks to your feet. Compressing it can cause shooting pain, tingling and numbness.
- Vulvar varicosities: Pregnancy can cause enlarged (varicose) veins to form on the vulva because of the greater volume of blood flow and the slower movement of blood from the lower body.
- Swollen labia: Your baby’s weight can pressure the labia and cause them to swell.
Physical Therapy For Expecting Mothers
Our treatment for conditions and symptoms related to pregnancy varies by diagnosis, but may include:
- Correcting pelvic alignment
- Stabilizing the pelvis by strengthening the muscles that surround it
- Strengthening and stretching muscles to relieve upper back pain
- Fitting for a support garment, such as a maternity belt or SI belt
- Working on body mechanics, such as how you should roll out of bed or rise from a chair, to avoid painful movements
Physical Therapy Post-Partum
We can also provide therapy for a range of conditions that can bother you after giving birth:
- Blocked milk ducts: Sometimes, one of your milk ducts becomes clogged soon after you give birth. The duct can swell, redden and potentially develop mastitis (inflammation). We use ultrasound and a special massage to break up the clog and allow normal breastfeeding. We also discuss ways to avoid the problem from happening again, including using different positions for feedings.
- C-sections: We massage the scar to help limit pain when certain movements pull on it. We also teach you to use your belly for breathing to avoid discomfort. And we help with the recovery of your abdominal muscles, as well as with the back pain you may feel when lifting your baby and trying to compensate for the change. Some women also experience problems more common with vaginal delivery, including incontinence and pain during intercourse.
- Diastasis recti: The strain of pregnancy can pull your left and right abdominal muscles apart from each other. In many women, the muscles return to normal soon after delivery, but in some, a gap persists. The gap itself is not typically painful, but it can cause back pain and incontinence. We help close it.
- Tearing and episiotomy: Delivering a baby can sometimes tear the muscles between the vagina and the anus. Doctors also occasionally need to cut this area to make a larger opening for delivery. (This procedure, episiotomy, is becoming less common because of potential complications.) For either case, we use ultrasound and scar massage to relieve pain during recovery.
To learn more about our services or make an appointment, please call a STAR location:
- Chesterfield — Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Orthopedic Center: 314.514.3636
- Creve Coeur — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital: 314.996.3050
- South County — Center for Advanced Medicine: 314.286.1000