You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About Your Postpartum Body

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About Your Postpartum Body 600 600 Jennifer Lane

Now that you have had your baby, what should you expect regarding healing and return of function? What have you heard from friends, family members, other women about what they deal with now on a regular basis? Have you heard things like, “oh you will have a Mommy tummy forever”, or “you will never be able to do jumping jacks again without leaking urine” or “I’ve had to give up on some of my favorite activities because I have pain”? Although urinary incontinence, issues with muscle tone or increased back or hip pain are common complaints, it doesn’t make them normal. These issues should not be worn like a badge of honor now that you are in the “mommy club”. There are ways for you to take the right steps to restore normal function to your pelvic floor and core muscles so that you can be the healthiest and strongest version of you that you want!

The first step in recovery is learning what you need to watch out for and to set realistic expectations for yourself. Here is a list of things you should keep in mind now after delivering baby.

MIND-BODY CONNECTION: Your brain and your muscles need to reconnect to establish your new postpartum baseline. We want to create a strong connection between mind-body because this allows you to return to the activities you love while avoiding injury.

AB WORK: Crunches, planks and intensive ‘ab work’ may be unsafe and may make your tummy look worse, not better! There is a correct way to strengthen your ab and core muscles that will help you avoid making the problem worse

DIASTASIS RECTI: The reason for the “pooch” or “doming” of the abdominals may be due to something called diastasis recti. This is a separation of the outermost ab muscle. You will learn how to self-check and how to help reduce it safely

BLADDER WOES: Urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence is common after pregnancy, but it is not normal! These issues are all very treatable and can be managed and controlled with proper exercise and treatment and behavioral changes

SURGERY: no one wants to have surgery, but it can help repair an organ prolapse, a diastasis recti or umbilical hernia. But doesn’t it make more sense to avoid it? There are exercises and other techniques that if implemented early on can help reduce the need for surgery in the future

POSTURE: Now that you aren’t carrying baby around inside your uterus, your center of gravity has shifted, and your core muscles are having a hard time supporting you. It’s important to avoid poor posture while breastfeeding or holding baby and using good body mechanics while lifting a car seat or reaching into the crib can help you protect your body from injury.

PAINFUL SEX: Your pelvis just experienced some trauma with pregnancy and childbirth. When your pelvic floor nerves and muscles are not functioning appropriately this can lead to painful intercourse. Understanding the normal healing process and knowing when it is not normal can help you restore an enjoyable sex life

You’ve heard it, I’m sure… that any of these issues mentioned above are normal, right? Too many times we ask the questions and hear “you had a baby, that’s normal”. It might be common, but it’s NOT NORMAL. You deserve to feel connected to your body again and to enjoy your motherhood journey without dysfunction!

Looking for more guidance? There’s so much content out there on pregnancy care and even more for infants, but what about you? What should you expect for your postnatal health? When should you reintroduce certain activities? What are those “no one told me” scenarios that can be avoided?

Boost your confidence and ability to handle whatever comes during delivery and after bringing Baby home with my new e-course, Self-Care Survival Guide for Expecting Mommies. Launch date: May 2020

Sign up to receive updates and launch promotions: CLICK HERE

Getting Ready for Baby during COVID-19

Getting Ready for Baby during COVID-19 980 552 Jennifer Lane

As an expecting mom, you are already dealing with anxieties surrounding delivery and motherhood. Now in this time of COVID-19, there is a whole new layer of stress to navigate. Your well-laid plans that you had for delivering your baby may be significantly altered.

Remember though, that you are resilient and resourceful, and you have professionals, family and friends who are ready to help. My suggestions for you? Focus on what you can control, practice at home before the big day and trust in the amazing care you will receive from your birthing team. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Talk with your provider about their current policy regarding birth partners and/or doulas being present in the delivery room.  If you were planning on a doula, ask them about virtual support services, which can be very effective! Tell them what you are worried about and let them calm your fears with information.
  2. If you are worried about delivering in a hospital, you might want to investigate alternate options for birth, such as home birth or a birth center. You will need to see if your insurance will cover an alternate location, and you will need to find a provider, like a midwife, to support you at home or a birth center.
  3. Speak with a therapist. This is an incredibly trying time. Therapists are amazing and can provide you with tools to help you cope. And, there are many services that offer virtual therapy appointments. Reach out for help immediately if you feel like hurting yourself or others.
  4. Practice at home with your birthing partner and by yourself. Practice your breathing and your bearing down. Try to bear down without holding your breath but rather focus on exhaling forcefully. This will reduce the chances of perineal tearing.
  5. Prepare your home to receive meals: have a friend, family member or your partner set up a Meal Train. Set a cooler on your front porch so people have a place to put a meal without coming into your home.
  6. Consider creating a schedule or a parenting contract with your partner. With most people working from home, it will be important to understand your expectations of each other, when each partner is available to be a parent or when that partner needs to work.
  7. Stay healthy: hydrate (shoot for 60-90 oz per day), eat your veggies and your protein, get some daily physical activity if you can, and remember to breathe.
  8. Stress management: develop a daily routine of deep breathing or find a meditation app that you can follow.

You will do great! At the end of the day, the goal is to have a healthy baby that you can take home and love. Trust in yourself, your healthcare team and your partner.

Looking for more guidance?

There’s so much content out there on pregnancy care and even more for infants, but what about you? What should you expect for your postnatal health? When should you reintroduce certain activities? What are those “no one told me” scenarios that can be avoided?

Boost your confidence and ability to handle whatever comes during delivery and after bringing Baby home with my new e-course, Self-Care Survival Guide for Expecting Mommies. Launch date: May 2020

Sign up to receive updates and launch promotions for the Self-Care Survival Guide for Expecting Mommies Online Course:

Just Breathe…

Just Breathe… 308 163 Jennifer Lane

When I instruct people on how to exercise properly, I always talk about breathing. Why? Because the diaphragm (the key muscle used to take a deep breath) is an important part of our core muscles. Deep breathing also can help mobilize the spine and calm the nervous system.

Here’s how that works…

The main muscle that allows us to breathe is the diaphragm. It lives right under our ribs and is one of the core muscles. Breathing “through” an exercise helps you engage your core muscles. As you inflate your lungs with a deep breath, your rib cage also expands helping to keep the mid back moving. As you take a deep breath repeatedly you also calm the nervous system down. Deep breathing cues the body that it is ready to rest and digest, so if you find yourself in a stressful situation, stop and take a few deep breaths. It’s amazing how much it can help!

Here are some ways that you can improve your breathing. Take a deep inhale through your nose and exhale through an open mouth like you are fogging up a mirror. Lay on your back with your arms in a “cactus position” opening through your chest. Breathe with emphasis on feeling your rib cage expand. You could also try lying on your back resting one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. As you breathe deeply focus on feeling movement under both hands.

Try one of these deep breathing techniques and note how you feel. You might alleviate some pain in your mid back or relax from a stressful day. When you work out next, think about breathing throughout your routine. Try not to hold your breath but keep a constant rhythm to your exhalation and inhalation. Try it out!

Common Running Injuries

Common Running Injuries 1920 661 Jennifer Lane

Running is such an accessible way to get a great workout. You need a pair of sneakers, and some motivation and off you go! But as a physical therapist, I see a lot of injuries that arise from running or jogging and they all tend to be over-use injuries. Hamstring strains, groin pulls, knee, hip or back pain are the most common that I treat and can side-line the most committed of runners.

So, what do you do if you are dealing with pain and you can’t run anymore? Can PT help you recover? Yes! I will go over a couple of the most common injuries that I see and how PT can facilitate the healing process.

First, let’s look at the physical therapy evaluation. A Physical Therapist evaluates muscular balance surrounding ankles, knees, hips and the back. When muscles are healthy, they are both flexible and strong. When running there is a specific pattern of recruitment and timing of muscle activity that helps you be an efficient and strong athlete. If there is dysfunction in the firing of muscles or the timing of recruitment, it can lead to pain. Let’s look at 2 common complaints to better understand this…

A hamstring strain, which may present as pain in the back of the thigh or right under the buttock is a common running injury. It hurts when your first start running, may feel better after a mile but really gets flared up running hills or long distances. This is usually due to the hamstrings being over-utilized while the glutes (butt muscles) are not doing their job. The glutes are a powerhouse muscle that helps support your leg in single leg stance and they extend the leg (bring the leg behind your in your stride). The hamstring’s main job is to bend the knee but with dysfunctional patterning, it can also extend the hip. When it does this instead of the glutes, it gets strained, over-used and fatigued, leading to pain and possible tearing. PT addresses this problem through proper stretching, hands-on manual therapy to reduce pain and then specific exercises to re-balance muscle activity.

Knee pain is the single biggest complaint I hear from runners. There are many different reasons for it but I’m going to look at one. Patello-femoral syndrome or Chondromalacia Patella is a dysfunction that causes pain under and around the knee cap. Pain increases with prolonged running, running downhill or walking down stairs. It can be due to tight muscles on the outside or lateral aspect of the knee, and under-firing muscles on the medial (inside) aspect of the knee joint. There is also usually significant weakness in the lateral hip muscles, the gluteus medius and minimus, that creates poor alignment at the knee, especially in single leg stance. Treatment involves loosening tight muscles, re-activating the “lazy” ones, strengthening the hip musculature and mobilizing the knee caps.

Techniques I like to use and have found very effective in getting people back to running include manual therapy (hands-on techniques to muscles and joints), neuro-muscular re-education, functional dry needling and therapeutic exercise prescription. Homework includes dynamic and static stretching, balance work and running-specific exercise.

So, don’t give up on your running program if you have pain. See a PT to get properly evaluated and start your return to running ASAP!

For a list of Running Races in the Denver Area, Click Here.

To make an appointment at Holistic PT, Click Here.

Habit Stacking How-to

Habit Stacking How-to 1100 734 Jennifer Lane

Do you brush your teeth every day? Shower? Wash your face? Drink coffee? There are many activities in our daily lives that we do without much thought. You have successfully created some good habits surrounding general hygiene and wellness. But I’m sure you also have developed some bad habits too. A lot of times, bad habits are the absence of good behavior. For instance, not working out, sitting all day, not drinking enough water are all habits that do not support a healthy lifestyle.

In educating my clients about changing their daily routine, I often suggest stacking new habits on old habits. Do you drive to work every day? This is a great opportunity to practice good posture. By taking an extra few moments to position yourself in the driver’s seat with upright posture, and then adjusting your mirrors so that you can see properly in both side and rearview is a simple trick to give you feedback. When you start to slouch, you no longer can clearly see out your rearview mirror and it reminds you to sit up!

Not drinking enough water? Do you always forget to drink your water even though it is sitting in front of you? Tie it to another activity like going to the bathroom, answering the phone, or starting a meeting. For me, I take a sip of water every time a new client arrives at my office. This has increased my water intake considerably and has made a world of difference for me.

Still not convinced that you can do this? Read on for more ways to habit stack and the benefits of doing so.

The Benefits of CBD

The Benefits of CBD 275 183 Jennifer Lane

CBD is the hot new product. It’s in skin care, supplements, tinctures, creams, lotions, coffee, you name it. It appears to be a cure-all for anxiety, depression, pain, neurologic disorders. But what do we know about it and what evidence is there that it is truly effective? More research should be done to really look at effects of long-term use of CBD but the preliminary findings are positive. To learn more about CBD,

To find out more about what CBD can do, click here:  the Benefits of CBD

I have decided to carry a topical CBD cream at Holistic PT. I chose a local company, Vail Oil because the product is exceptional, and the creator is an amazing woman. Ramsey Cotter, owner of Vail Oil uses virgin coconut oil as the carrier oil for her CBD. Why coconut oil? Coconut oil has its own healing properties as it is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral.

How do I recommend people use it? Topically for pain in muscles or joints. I also recommend it as a personal lubricant or to treat vaginal dryness. It as proven to be an amazing product for good pelvic floor health. Want to learn more about Vail Oil? Click here to read on! One ounce jars are for sale at Holistic PT for $40. Get yours today!

Return to Running Protocol

Return to Running Protocol 1920 661 Jennifer Lane

It’s that season… weather is getting nicer, days are getting longer and you are motivated to get in shape, so you set a goal of doing a 1/2 marathon, marathon or triathlon. Training is off to a good start but then you develop knee pain. What now? You rest, it feels better and then you return to running again and the pain comes back. Going up and down stairs has also become painful. You don’t know what you should do because, well, you already paid the entry fee for the race and, in the past you have just been able to work through the pain. But what if something more is going on? Do you need to see an orthopedic specialist? Are you going to do permanent damage to your joints if you ignore the pain?

My suggestion is always… go see a Physical Therapist! No expensive MRI required. PT’s are able to use diagnostic testing to determine whether ligaments, meniscus, joint or soft tissue is the problem. Once the cause of the pain is determined, how fast can you get back to running, biking, training? Physical therapy is an excellent resource to help reduce pain, restore normal tissue function and help create better muscular balance. In addition to these hands-on techniques, I have used a Return to Running Protocol from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts for a number of years. This is for those people who are serious about resuming their running after knee pain has gotten in their way. Follow this link to see the whole protocol. Return to Running Protocol.

And call Holistic PT today to make an appointment!

Turn Your Soul On!

Turn Your Soul On! 284 290 Jennifer Lane

I had the pleasure in being interviewed by my friend and colleague, Dr. Brandy Victory. She is a gifted healer and is currently practicing in Nederland, CO but some of her services can also be accessed virtually. She specializes in transformational coaching, non-force Chiropractic care and functional medicine to name a few. Wanna hear the interview? 
Take a Listen!!

Fighting Inflammation From All Angles

Fighting Inflammation From All Angles 289 174 Jennifer Lane

FWhat is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from infections, illness or injury. As part of the inflammatory response, your body increases production of white blood cells, immune cells, and substances called cytokines that help fight infection. However, inflammation itself can be harmful if it becomes chronic. Classic signs of acute inflammation include redness, pain, heat and swelling. Chronic inflammation often occurs inside your body without noticeable symptoms.

How can your diet affect inflammation? Foods associated with excess inflammation are also associated with increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not surprising since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.

To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet and consult an expert in nutrition. Avoiding processed foods and aiming for a balanced diet that boosts intake of whole foods which are nutrient dense and contain antioxidants will help to reduce inflammation. Make sure to include whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins in every meal.

So what foods contribute to inflammation in the body? Food or drinks high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, foods that are highly processed, and excessive consumption of alcohol can all contribute to increased inflammation in the body. An inactive lifestyle can also be a major non-dietary factor which promotes inflammation.

What are some good foods? Leafy greens, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, almonds and walnuts, salmon, tune sardines, olive oil, beans, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon.

What are foods to avoid? Sugary beverages, refined carbs including white bread and pasta, chips, crackers, pretzels, hotdogs, sausage, bologna, vegetable oils, alcohol and salt.

What goes hand in hand with eating healthy? A physically active lifestyle! Studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day can help boost the body’s immune system and improve the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system.

Are supplements a good idea? Eating whole foods is always the best way to get your nutrients, but in this day and age of running around and skipping meals, taking a good quality supplement can help fill some nutritional gaps. I personally take doTerra’s Lifelong Vitality Pack which includes a multivitamin, an Omega-3 complex and an anti-oxidant blend. I pair this with Mito2Max for an all-natural boost in metabolism and PB Assist, a great pre- and pro-biotic complex. Not only are these supplements all-natural and plant-based, they are also sent to me monthly, so I never forget to re-stock them at the store!

Want more ideas on good foods, exercises and lifestyle? Follow “Holistic PT” on Facebook for more info. Need help ordering from doTerra? Contact me and I’ll get your account set up!

Checking in on New Year’s Resolutions

Checking in on New Year’s Resolutions 806 596 Jennifer Lane

We are 7 weeks into 2019. How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? If you are like me, you’ve been successful with some, parts of some or have missed the mark all together. It’s never too late to re-group and get re-focused on your resolutions. Remember, it’s your health that is at stake!

Here’s how I’ve done with my resolutions. I’ve spent time with friends, family and with myself unwinding, having fun, seeing new places. I skied at Snowmass with my family and a great group of friends and neighbors, I went to Akumal, Mexico with 25 fabulous women for fitness and relaxation and I have made time to have lunch with people important to me.  Have I kept every Friday free and clear of patient care? No… but I’ve been about 80% good about that though. Which is a start! Have I drunk 70 oz of water per day? No, but I’m trying and I’m definitely better than before. I have been journaling most days, writing about what I’m grateful for and what my daily goals are. I forget some days to do this but then I pick it right back up.

My point in sharing this is that resolutions are not easy for anyone. We set them with our best intentions in mind and then we fail. But I think the real point of making resolutions is to engage in the process of change. You may not achieve the end result, but you have set out on a journey to change something in your life that is holding you back. So, keep after those resolutions, keep thinking about what you can do to make those changes that you want. I will do the same.

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