Why see an osteopath to help with mastitis?

Our osteopaths at Bodywell have further training in treating conditions such as mastitis, blocked ducts, milk blebs and engorgement. We use a range of hands-on techniques, ultrasound therapy, home exercises and personalised advice to help reduce the inflammation in your breast tissue.

Baby Breastfeeding Bodywell
What is Mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast which can occur in breast feeding women which may or may not be accompanied with an infection.

Mastitis most commonly occurs in lactating women due to the potential of milk stasis. Milk stasis is where the milk isn’t moving out from the breast as optimally as we would like. This results in pressure building in the milk duct causing the milk to disperse into adjacent tissues triggering an inflammatory reaction.

Milk stasis can be caused by a number of things including poor attachment of the baby at the breast, infrequent emptying of the breast, change in feeding schedule, and tight-fitting clothing.

Mastitis symptoms can vary between people but below are some common symptoms:

  • Painful, hard, lumpy area of breast tissue
  • Redness, shiny taut skin on the breast tissues
  • Flu-like symptoms and body aches
  • Pain, fever and chills
  • Pain moving the arm on the same side as the affected breast

Common mastitis misconceptions:

  • Mastitis always needs to be treated with antibiotics. The research and updated guidelines by the Academy of Breastfeeding in 2022 does not support antibiotics as a first line of treatment for mastitis. Antibiotics are only needed for infectious mastitis.
  • I need to massage my breast firmly to remove the blockage. Research has now shown that mastitis is caused by inflammation in the mammary glands. Firmly massaging the breasts can further increase the inflammation in the breasts and cause damage to the breast tissues. Any soft tissue techniques should be very gentle in order to help move lymphatic fluid and reduce inflammation.
  • I need to stop breastfeeding my child. It is important to continue to breastfeed your child on demand to prevent engorgement of the breasts. Changes in feeding schedule and suddenly stopping breastfeeding are potential causes of mastitis.
  • I need to increase my breastfeeds or pump to clear the blockage. Mastitis is caused by inflammation, not a blockage of the ducts. Increasing feeds or pumping may lead to hyperlactation which can lead to mastitis.

How does Therapeutic Ultrasound Therapy work alongside osteopathic manual therapy?

Breast Ultrasound Bodywell

The ultrasound is focused over the red, hot, swollen, hard area of the breast tissue; it uses vibrations to encourage lymphatic movement and drainage in the inflamed area of the breast. Reducing inflammation helps reduce the pain and redness of the breast tissue.

We also use a large range of gentle techniques on the breast tissue to help with lymphatic drainage to help reduce the inflammation. Alongside manual therapy techniques on the breast tissue, your osteopath will also work on related musculoskeletal tensions in areas such as your neck, upper back, ribs and shoulders to make sure restrictions in these areas are not contributing to your presentation.

A big part of what we do is giving you exercises and advice for at home

At Bodywell we use an online exercise program to give you exercises to help with lymphatic drainage in your breasts. We will also give you stretching exercises for other regions of your body which may feel tight or restricted. We are aware that as a new mum, your body has had lots of changes over the last year and is also now regularly carrying and holding a little person.

We also work alongside other healthcare professionals such as internationally board certified lactation consultants and maternal child health nurses, and we may refer you for further support with breastfeeding.

We understand that Mastitis is an acute condition and that you need treatment and support as soon as possible. Therefore, we hold appointments each day to ensure you are seen as quickly as possible. Please call our friendly reception team on 9717 1200 for further information or to book an appointment.