The Healthy Post Natal Body Podcast

Another Q and A! I'm talking pillows, rehab for an hour a day, grip strength and asking WHY you're supposed to do something

January 23, 2022 Peter Lap
The Healthy Post Natal Body Podcast
Another Q and A! I'm talking pillows, rehab for an hour a day, grip strength and asking WHY you're supposed to do something
Show Notes Transcript

 On this week's episode I'm answering some questions that you sent in such as;

Does sleeping with a pillow between my legs really help my diastasis recti?

My physio told me I had to exercise for an hour a day to heal my diastasis but I don't have the time for that. Can I do less?

My personal trainer doesn't like me asking questions during exercise. But some of the things we do makes no sense to me?

How can I improve my grip strength after recovering from post-natal carpal tunnel?

And, in what is now called, "read past the label" of the week; Sudafed! Did you know that Sudafed "blocked nose", Sudafed "Sinus MAX Strength!" and Sudafed "congestion and headache relief" is pretty much the same stuff? Different price, different labels, different names...but the same old Sudafed.

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Playing us out this week; "Let me let you go" by Alright Years

Hey, welcome to the Healthy Post Natal Body podcast with your Post-natal expert Peter Lap. That, as always, would be me. This is going to be a fun one. This is going to be great podcast. This week I'm doing a Q and A; Does sleeping been with a pillow between your legs heal your Diastasis Recti. Do you need to exercise an hour a day to heal your diastasis? My personal trainer doesn't like to be questioned on the stuff that we do. And how can I improve my grip strength after recovering from postnatal carpal tunnel. Are the questions that I'm answering in a lengthy, rather lengthy podcast. I think this one will take a while. And in what is now called “Read past the label of the week”, we're talking Sudafed, which is a very interesting, scammy, shitty one. Remember last week when I did the Finnebrogue, the bacon? This week we're talking Sudafed pain relief. You'll want to stick around for this one? It'll be fun, I promise. Here we go.


Intro music

Hey and welcome to the Healthy Post Natal Body podcast with little old me, Peter Lap. This is the podcast for the 23 January 2022.

I hope you're well. I hope you had a good January thus far. You know, I'm lucky, I'm surrounded by all my four fluffies today. All the four fluffies that live with me, that I paid the mortgage for and all that sort of thing. So I've got little Buddy here. Red is the cat that you hear snoring in the background, the Lola bear’s lying asleep on the bed and little Kitty is asleep in her own crate. So you know, how amazing is that? I have a nice big house and as soon as it comes to recording time and I close the door, everybody wants in. Oh the joys!

So what are we doing today? It was time for another little Q and A and I requested… I asked if you could send in some questions and you have obliged. I have some older questions as well. An older question as well that for some reason never got round to. 

So that's what I'm doing today. I'm answering them. Just bits and pieces, we’ll go in a little bit of detail on one of them and I don't want it to sound too “ranty” at the time. Just so you're aware, it's coming, let's start with the first one. I'll do them in order. Right. I'll just do the questions. I'm not reading the whole email. I'm reading the whole email out. Yes, I am. 

Hey Peter, I love listening to the podcast, (well, thank you very much. I'm glad you like it. Oh, by the way, let me know., Do you approve of the sound quality now? Do you like it better? Tell your friends you’re listening and all that sort of stuff. Anyways.)

Hey Peter, love listening to the podcast. (Here we go) 

I am a 34 year old mother of two and I've been sleeping with a cushion between my legs ever since my physio told me to do so for my pelvic alignment and helping my diastasis recti recover. I've had diastasis recti for two years now and still suffer from it. Is the pillow helping or not? 

Yeah, this is an interesting one, and when I say “interesting”: It's interesting for me. I skimmed that email, by the way. I didn't read that word for word. There was a lot of personal information in there that you don't need to know. 

The cushion between the legs, there is a train of thought, that early on. I know a lot of pelvic floor physios recommend this. I'm not opposed to this. Saying that if you keep your hips stable. So if you sleep on your back, you place the pillow or cushion underneath your hamstrings or behind your knees. If you sleep on your front, which is the worst position to sleep on, sleep in, it kind of sits on your belly. I think if you sleep on your side, which is by far the most common position, they tell you to sleep with a cushion between your legs. 

And that is just to help the pelvic alignment and all that sort of stuff. And they claim it helps heal diastasis recti, or at least because everything is aligned, everything is not misaligned, in their thinking, for several hours. 

Now, she said in the email that you're suffering for this for two years. And that is because fundamentally, and I don't know whether you did your exercises or not because it's not stated in the email. But fundamentally, you still need to do your exercises. Exercise heals diastasis recti! 

Things like the pillows or the cushions, whatever you put between your legs, kind of help stabilize things a little bit. But it doesn't help recovery in a direct way, right? Indirectly, yeah, maybe. 

I always give the example that when I had knee problems, that was part caused by my cat sleeping on my feet and just with it’s little head, it used to lie on my feet all night and I'd stay in that position. My physio, my massage therapist, Gareth, he figured out that that was what was putting a little bit of pressure on my legs and indirectly on my knees, and that's what caused my knee pain.

 So there is something to be said for having good alignment when you sleep. Right? That is quite important. And I see why people recommend it. 

However, it is not a permanent solution because it doesn't help anything. And what's even better is just doing your exercises. If you don't do your exercises you won't recover from your diastasis recti. I personally don't recommend the pillow or the cushion between the legs unless my clients have pelvic floor issues that they tell me about. And I discuss most of these things with my clients. Right. I'm not a massive fan of it, I think it’s uncomfortable. But if it works for you, it works for you. I'm not going to knock it there's nothing inherently wrong with it. It's just not a solution. So just bear that in mind when you get told to do this. 

And if you have had diastasis recti for two years and you're sleeping with a cushion of pillow between your legs for two years on the recommendation of the physio. Ask and you're doing the exercises. Right. I'll give you a physio all the benefit of the doubt here. You do the exercises. Just make sure you do the exercises they've given you, if you're not doing them. 

If you are doing them and they're not helping, then I would probably work with somebody else. Because they clearly have a good idea with regards to the cushion and the pillows. But they clearly don't really know how to fix the problem in this particular case. Okay. 

Next, do I need to exercise for an hour every day to recover Postpartum. One of my clients who asked me that question directly fault was worth mentioning. She lives in Edinburgh, obviously, because, you know, that's why I train people. But she's not from here. And she went back home, had her diastasis recti checked out by a women's health physio and said, “yeah, you have about 3-4cm diastasis recti. And to heal that, you need to train an hour a day, to get rid of that”

She came to me to help with her post-natal recovery. She got in touch and she said; “Do I need to do an hour a day? Because I just don't have the time for that, because I've got a baby”.

Right? People with babies don't have an hour a day to exercise. And as I pointed out that you genuinely, genuinely never need to exercise an hour a day, every day. That is big rehab. That is really big rehab. If you need to do an hour’s rehab every day. Diastasis recti is hardly ever that severe. You can target diastasis recti by doing ten minutes a day and of targeted exercise and being aware of it throughout the rest of the day. Just being aware and not making it too much worse, not putting too much pressure on your diastasis, on your core. 

And by pressure, I mean internal pressure. Right?

 So you mind your internal pressure, which you do by breathing and all that. So what we do ten minutes a day and two times, half an hour to 45 minutes a week, is completely fine. And you will recover from your diastasis recti in that time. Assuming you don't suffer from bloating and any sort of other internal pressure. Right. Here was an interesting one. See, I'm flying through these.

Now. What are we in, ten minutes in… ten minutes. 

But now the long one comes up. Right. 

Hey, Peter, long-time listener of the podcast and big fan of the show. (Well, thank you very much. That's much appreciated). I have been working with my personal trainer for the past six months, and I'm getting some good results and I enjoy the sessions. (Well, that's awesome, right? Win/win. Don't worry. The bad stuff is still to come.)

 However, I'm a very inquisitive person, and I always want to know why she recommends something or why we have to do something. And her answer tends to be “because I said so”. (I'm sorry, I'm laughing here because this is just too funny) “because I said so” or “because I studied it”. (Yeah, I know the type). Like I said, I'm an inquisitive person. I'm trying to learn here as well. And it bothers me a little bit that she (I'm paraphrasing that because that is not how she wrote it. Very rude what she wrote.) It bothered me a little bit that she won't just answer my questions unless I asked three or four times. Then I get a sigh and a short explanation. 

Yeah, right. I like this experience because when I went to PT school, they taught me that there are basically three or four clients. Three or four types of client, sorry. 

You have the person that will never ask, that will just do. They want clear instructions and they want “just give me a number of reps, that’s what I’ll do”.

Then you have the person that will every now and again ask why something is, and then you have someone like yourself who will ask millions of questions and you had better have an explanation

I’ve worked with a lot of Alpha type, Alpha type people, if you know what I mean. They're in charge, of men and women who are in charge of stuff. Very important people. In their own organization, they're very important people, but they're just inquisitive. They need to know stuff. 

And they like to challenge you regularly. And I love working with people like that because it keeps me on my toes. Right?. I always say bullshit baffles brains, but not with these guys, and girls. When I say guys, I mean the nonsexual sort of “guys”. Dudes, that's the non-gendered word these days that everybody uses.

Yes. I worked with a lot of people that challenged me all the time. “Why are we doing this?” And you better have a good answer for it, because otherwise they're not going to trust you information. You don't know what you're doing. That's the feeling that they have. And there's nothing worse than a client that thinks their PT doesn't know what they're doing. For a PT that's disastrous. That is so bad. 

I say you should always, always, ALWAYS challenge the experts. Right. I strongly recommend because I don't know a single expert that doesn't like explaining why something is. If they are genuine experts in their field, then you should be able to question them. You should be able to challenge stuff. You should be able to come to them and say, “yeah, you say X but I read somewhere that, I don't know, that Y is also a valid approach”.

 Let's take this example of the I find this a lot and I find this a lot on Instagram and Facebook and all that sort of stuff. There are a lot of so-called experts out there that throw their opinions out and make big, bold claims. 

And then when you challenge them or you ask them why that is, why something is the way it is, or why they quote a certain study or something like that. They go silent very quickly.

I know that I've been trying to have a discussion with someone this week, the lady who's a registered dietitian and “intuitive eating coach”. And most of the information she posts is perfectly fine information. 

But every now and again there's something in there that is just incorrect and it's not true. I think she knows it. You know what I mean? The stuff she's quoting is bull-shit. The studies she's quoting have nothing to do with the statements that she makes. 

And when challenged on that sort of thing, they go silent because that is what they do. 

So these people tend to agree and tend to respond very quickly to people that agree with them or tell them they're wonderful. But they go silent as soon as they're questioned. 

I put a post up the other day, put a post up the other day about vaccinations, a story…Basically someone on Reddit put together and blanked out and anonymized a whole bunch of comments made by nurses who have been working in ICU's in America during the COVID pandemic. Had been working with pregnant women, ante-natal postnatal situations, and horrific stories about COVID and the effects on babies and moms and on ventilators. I mean, horrible. 

So I just said, listen, I thought t long and hard about sharing it. I wasn't going to originally, but I thought I'd better because it is important to know. 

And it's important because I don't think these stories came out all that much as to how serious it really is for a lot of people. That definitely at least wasn't the discussion that was being had in the media that I came across. Not a true and open an honest account, at least. So I shared it and I said, “listen, this is why getting a vaccine is a good idea”. 

And someone just said, I strongly disagree and they're a functional medicine doctor, so they strongly disagree. But when you ask them, “okay, it's interesting, you strongly disagree. Based on what do you strongly disagree with the idea that people should get pregnant? People should get pregnant. People that get pregnant should get vaccinated”. They go silent. 

There's no answer anymore because they have nothing.

Just remember that a lot of the time people that have strong opinions and stuff are still just people. And in some cases, they're just trying to sell you something. 

And if a certain statement such as, I don't know,” 95% of diets don't work”, which is not true, right? If they make statements like that. 

Or they say, what was the latest insane claim, the really crazy claim. Oh, yeah, “we know dieting leads to weight gain in the same way that we know smoking leads to cancer”.

 That was what this “” lady was saying. She runs “the socieaty” or something like that. All very clever names. 

And then when you look at the studies, there's nothing to do with it. But when you query them, you question them. There is nothing to back that up. It goes silent. If an expert. If someone who claims they're an expert in a certain field can't answer basic questions about the statements they make….We can all get stuff wrong. Lord knows I get a lot of stuff wrong. Which is why I have guests on the podcast every now and again. If I can get a good guest, I'd rather have that rather than me talking about diets and all that sort of stuff. I have expert dietitians come on. 

When I say experts, I mean genuine expert dietitians. I don't mean people that have an awful lot to sell and will say whatever it takes to get the sale through. I'm talking people you can have a discussion with, people you can query and question. I usually get a couple of questions about the post-partum program with regards to HPNB, Healthy Post Natal Body, and my home sessions.

I regularly get questions “why do we do back flyes? Why do we do hammer-curls and all that sort of stuff? Why do we do stuff like stiff leg deadlifts?”

Because they're not exercises that feel directly connected to the problem most postpartum women are trying to fix. Right. So the back-flyes, obviously is a posture exercise and all that sort of stuff. So that's important. So that's easily explained. Stiff leg, deadlift. Again, very straightforward explanation, as in that is good for your lower back, and your glutes, which are again, posture muscles. Bicep curls, hammer curls especially, sorry. 

Hammer curls and pullovers and all that sort of stuff are exercises that we do to prevent you to prepare your body for life. Get you lifting properly, get you lifting the baby right. Hammer curl is just picking a baby up, as in standing upright and curling a baby up. 

The pullover is again bringing the baby overhead. 

You should be able to make movements like that without damaging your core, making your diastasis recti worse. So we're conditioning your body at that stage, at the stag that we're doing those exercises.

If I didn't have that explanation. And I just went “Yeah, well, just because I like the exercise” or worse: “Because I said so,” which is also a terrible thing to say. 

Then I think you'd already know that I didn't know what I was talking about. If I give you reverse lunges to do, but I can't explain to you which muscles they're working and why it's important that those muscles are being worked. You need to bail. You need to then go, “Yeah, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. So I'm not going to work with him anymore.”

Experts that can't explain to you why they hold a certain opinion. That's a real issue for me. That's a deal breaker for me because a genuine expert holds an opinion for a genuine reason, not just to make sales. You can't just make big bold statements and say “you have to do XYZ, you have to buy this supplement” or “these things don't work” or “that thing does work” or whatever it is. 

You can't make statements like that without having an explanation as to back that statement up. And this is where Instagram or Facebook quite often falls down. 

Because obviously this is all it's a very visual medium. So it's very tempting to just throw out a little template, a little infographic sort of thing and say “this is absolute truth”. But when it comes to complicated things such as diet and weight loss and postnatal recovery and diastasis recti, pelvic floor problems, all that sort of stuff, like I've said before, it doesn't fit in an infographic

It just doesn't. So, I mean most of my infographics are terrible, as in… I don't really do them. I have the tiles where I have some text and all that sort of stuff and I throw some memes out there and the occasional video but you see very little from me that goes like, that is one or two slogans that are one or two steps and that are done absolute. 

Because that is just not really the field that we're working in when we're talking postnatal recovery.

I get concerned when I see infographics on a lot of accounts, because it implies a level of certainty (absolutes) behind the statement that is quite often not there. Most of the time health and fitness is a very grey area, where there is a lot of room, so to speak, for having a different opinion from somebody else. Taking a different approach from somebody else. 

I'll go back to the Jessica Marie Rose Leggio thing, the podcast that I did a while ago. 

You know we have a completely different approach. We both really know what we're doing with regards to post natal, but we have a different approach. 

That's okay, listen to the thing again. You can listen that we all know what we're talking about. You can hear that. At least you can hear that she knows what she's talking about. I'm just sitting there listening.

Now, you can hear that we both know what we're talking about. That there is a certain level of agreement, there's a decent level of respect between each other. 

That there is not an absolute. There are certain things that have to be done, sure. But within that there is room.

If a dietitian tells you this is the only way to lose weight, a certain diet is the only way to lose weight permanently then they're full of shit. They just are. Because that is just not true. 

An expert wouldn't tell you that.

If a dietitian says diets don't work or diets make you gain weight, then they're selling you something. And if they're a registered dietitian, that means they know they're selling you something and they're shysters. 

So  If you are uncomfortable asking your PT why they're doing something. Why you're doing a certain exercise.

Yeah. That's a bit of a red flag for me, right? If you can look past that and you say,” okay, but I'm getting results and I enjoy the session”, then fine. You can just go past that and just go. “But I won't ask questions anymore”.

I like, maybe…. to be fair to your PT, maybe you're one of those clients that talks an awful lot during training. And that is why they say, “Now! Stop answering, stop asking questions. We're here to train!”

But that's a completely different thing. So I'll make that allowance for your PT as well. I've had clients like that that took up 15, 20-30 minutes just asking questions. And though I love it, it does mean that your session will run over because I have a set number of things I'd like you to get through. 

But other PTs have an hour. If you're training in a gym, they have an hour and then they move on to the next client so they can't have you spend 20 minutes just talking all the time, right? You want results, so you need to do a bit of training. And sometimes, if you're on rep nr eight of ten and you've got two to go and you ask someone asking questions, then I get why your PT says, “because I said so. Now keep moving”.

So I'll make allowances for your PT. If it's a problem, then you switch PTs. But if not, then …dude, if you're getting results and you enjoy the sessions, your PT knows what they're doing, right? 

But I’d be much more comfortable with someone….. At least know that they know the answer to the question you're asking, that they're not just making it up on the spot. That's the thing, right? 

So the last question of the Q and A, I had this through the messenger. The messenger. So that's how old I am… through messenger. The other, a fews weeks ago, this lady sent me an email saying, Peter, I used to have carpel tunnel after my breastfeeding postpartum. (I'm just doing the top of my head, by the way. I'm not reading anything out) My carpal tunnel’s recovered,  but my grip strength has really suffered since. How can I train my grip strength up? 

And that's a good question, because I think I've dealt with carpal tunnel before, (on the podcast) because it happens a lot. That carpal tunnel postpartum is completely normal, can be triggered by many, many things. Usually, posture is involved, in breastfeeding and how you hold babies and all that sort of stuff, just stress on the joints. So I'm not going to go too deeply into that. But there is an issue with grip strength sometimes. Now all you need to do for grip strength, because I know a lot of you will be suffering from this.

 All you need to do is an exercise called the Farmer's Walk where you basically just walk upright and you hold the weight, whatever weight you want to hold, hold that for as long as you walk, gripping it as tightly as you can. 

A great exercise also for your core and your alignment and all that sort of stuff. There's a lot happening in that exercise.

 And you know those squeegee things that you can buy, Tesco sells them. Amazon sells them the hand grippers they're called, right. You can buy adjustable ones. Now they're about, I don't know, £10-11, something like that. They will do the job, but it then depends on where you're struggling. Are you struggling with endurance, in which case you need to hold something for a long time, or are you struggling to grip something tightly, in which case you can use the hand grippers and squeeze it as tight as you can. Right?

So just get those exercises in. It was a good question. And if Lola wasn't asleep on top of my phone, then I would open up messenger and read out the email. 

But I remembered that I was going to answer it. So there you go. That’s that. Those are the questions. I think those are all the questions. Yeah, I think so. Yes. That sounds about right. 

In the “Read past the label of the week”. That's what I've called that segment. That segment. Remember that Finnebrogue thing I did last week? Well, the “read past the label”.

I saw this on the Internet. So, you know, this is true. 

Sudafed, the pain relief one. And I've got a nice little picture to show you with this one as well, which will be on the YouTube. Right. And I'll put a little separate little video and picture out for this as well. SudaFed “blocked nose”, £4.20, Sudafed “Max strength”, £4.50 and Sudafed “Congestion and Headache Relief” £4.80

It's all the same stuff, right

It's different price, different labels, different names, but it's the same old Sudafed. 

So again, check the back of the label. Go through the ingredients. You find it's the same ingredients in this stuff. There is no change. There's no difference between these items. And therefore you don't need to pay £4.80 when the £4.20 one will do the job. 

So just bear in mind that the good people at Sudafed, they're in the sales business, they're not necessarily into helping anybody out business. But I think that's it there was an in the news this week, but I don't want to do it because I need it. Michael Mossley is back. Let me say that I'm so fed up with Doctor Michael Mossley.

Yeah. I'll do something next week. He's a shyster, right. You know, you can ignore him. 

Just don't buy the Daily Mail. Don't read anything Michael Mosley ever puts out. 

He is a hack and he is everything that is wrong with the health and fitness industry. He really is. 

He's a qualified person. Of course he's a GP. Or at least he never….. not practicing. But he went to medical school and ever since then he decided to start selling stuff and now he can't stop himself. 

On that happy note, I'm going to leave you here's a new bit of music and the podcast should be out just in time. Woohoo. Right, have a tremendous week. I'll check in on you next week. Bye now.