Physiotherapists use ultrasound and laser in therapy for mastitis.
What is happening during mastitis?
Fluid collects in the breast during mastitis. It sits in the spaces between the ducts and compresses the ducts – which is why mamas think their ducts are blocked. It is the pressure from the fluid that causes the symptoms in mastitis: discomfort, pinkness, warmth and density – and reduction in milk volumes.
Mastitis is a state of inflammation. There is reduced blood flow in the area and inflammatory particles in the affected tissue. This happens with damaged nipples as well.
How does ultrasound improve the mastitis?
The ultrasound machine emits sound waves – these penetrate the tissues of the breast. This causes vibration in the cells, across the cell membranes and in the spaces between the cells where the fluid of mastitis collects. The vibration increases movement within the fluid that collects in mastitis and makes it more mobile. You can feel the difference in the texture of the breast during ultrasound therapy.
How does laser improve the mastitis?
The theory is that concentrated red light emitted from the laser probe is preferentially absorbed by cells, the cell nucleus and small internal organelles called mitochondria. This absorption process speeds up the inner workings of the cell and produces energy in and around the cell. This promotes chemical processes for healing. Its fancy name is photobiomodulation (PBM). Photosynthesis is another example of PBM – you know how plants use sunlight to grow….
Laser results in reduced pain signals quickly, reduced inflammation and improved local blood supply. Laser improves healing of nipple cracks quickly.
We use cold laser. Cold laser is not painful and is safe for breasts and breastmilk.
The expert physiotherapists at Pelvic Health Melbourne will assess your breast. We will provide ultrasound +/- laser if it is appropriate. Mums notice a difference by the end of the first treatment, and usually continue to improve quickly over the next few feeds. We will show you how to correctly and gently massage the breast to assist resolution of the problem and give you other advice to help at home. You will learn how to avoid future relapses.
Enjoy your baby. Enjoy breastfeeding.
Buck M.L., Eckereder G., Amir L.H., (2016), Low level laser therapy for breastfeeding problems, Breastfeeding Review, Vol. 24, No. 2; 27-31
Call the central number @ Pelvic Health Melbourne to arrange an appointment in your area.