Before you start to move, your brain chooses a pattern of muscle activation to complete the task. Some patterns are initiated before we are born, some are learned throughout the lifespan. Most patterns are way more complicated than you can imagine – and the brain is managing and utilizing dozens of muscles at the same time without your conscious knowledge.
Through injuries or training we can alter these patterns – for better or for worse. Pregnancy and birth are two things that very commonly interrupt the patterns the body is used to using, resulting in compensation, suboptimal patterns, and often pain, leakage or other dysfunction.
Pretty much every movement pattern involves the deep core system to some extent, meaning your transverse abdominis, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and multifidi. When these muscles are altered by pregnancy, your brain chooses or creates a different pattern than it used before. Your brain then gets in the habit of using these suboptimal patterns for daily function.
Our job as postnatal physical therapists is to help you restore the best pattern for movement, so that you can do what you want to do without problems! We help you identify faulty patterns, the reasons for the patterns, and then plan an intentional training agenda to restore a better pattern to achieve your goals. Retraining starts with a lot of brain work! You have to think harder than you have to work but eventually those better patterns become more natural, and your brain starts to reach for them again instead of your faulty pattern. We work toward automaticity – where you are no longer having to think about the pattern, but it just happens when you need it.
Have questions? Ready to come see us for some re-patterning?