Many women who have been through pregnancy are familiar with low back pain. For some, that pain can last after childbirth and be severe enough to require physical therapy. One tool Mayo Clinic physical therapists use frequently with postpartum patients is rehabilitative ultrasound imaging (RUSI). The technology, which is safe and radiation-free, allows a patient to look at a screen and see her abdominal muscles during a physical therapy workout.
"Pregnancy-related back pain affects between 50 and 75 percent of all women. Our goal is to identify the potential source of the pain and help women return safely to physical exercise," says Kathryn (Kathy) R. Cieslak, P.T., D.Sc., OCS, of Mayo Clinic's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. "We can see which muscles are having trouble contracting, and we can modify the exercises to target specific muscle groups."
Cieslak presented details about her use of the technique during the 2013 American Physical Therapy Association conference in Atlanta.