'It's ok not to be ok, and it's absolutely ok to ask for help'
EXPERT KNOWLEDGE | SPECIALIST SERVICES | EMPOWERED WELLBEING
Lactational breast conditions include engorgement, blocked ducts and mastitis. 1 in 4 women report mastitis as the reason for weaning occurring most commonly in the 2-3rd week postnatal (rookie territory, makes sense!). It is defined as an 'inflammatory condition of the breast which may or may not be accompanied by infection' (WHO). It is impossible to distinguish between infective and non-infective mastitis, with treatment of antibiotics not always necessary.
We advise women see a G.P or lactation consultant in the instance of fever.
ROLE OF PHYSIO
The primary aim is to reduce inflammation (+/- infection) and maintain breastfeeding. Physiotherapy management of these conditions has been shown to be very effective in the resolution of inflammatory conditions of the lactating breast. Along with education, counselling and manual therapy, therapeutic ultrasound is very beneficial by 'microscopically moving' cells to promote reduction of swelling, soothe tender nerve endings and if infection is present assist the body's immune system / or antibiotics to do their work.
In most cases an improvement in pain and lump size is seen within 2 - 3 sessions of therapeutic ultrasound and additional physiotherapy treatment.