Breast health services
Breast and chest feeding support
Are you breastfeeding or pumping and struggling with plugged milk ducts or mastitis? Our team of physiotherapists can safely and effectively help by combining therapeutic ultrasound, lymphatic drainage techniques, and education to alleviate the pain and discomfort often associated with clogged ducts or mastitis. We also acknowledge and invite those who identify as chest feeding to access the support you may need.
A special note to Breast and Chest Health Clients:
Please bring babe (or a pump for those expressing) to your visit as it can be helpful for us to observe a feeding (or pumping) session to identify changes that may be helpful to resolve your current concerns and prevent recurrence.
Plugged milk ducts (aka ductal narrowing) causes an obstruction to milk flow in a portion of the breast. Recent research suggests that an actual “plug” is not likely due to the interlacing and extensive network of ducts in the breast. Although a plug is not likely, narrowing of the ducts is possible and typically occurs due to inflammation in a portion of the breast caused by: poor latching, improper positioning, altered feeding schedule, and pressure on the breast (such as pressure from carriers, bags, sleeping position, bras, etc.).
Plugged ducts often result in a mild reddening in a specific area of the breast that is firm and tender to touch; however, you will NOT have a fever. Frequent or persistent plugged milk ducts can lead to the development of mastitis. Plugged ducts most often resolve on their own within 24-48 hours without any special treatment once the inflammation settles. If symptoms persist, physiotherapy treatment, including therapeutic ultrasound, can be incredibly effective at resolving symptoms and preventing recurrent blocked ducts.
Mastitis has recently been redefined as a progression of inflammation that occurs as a result of milk duct narrowing. If inflammatory mastitis is left unaddressed, an infection may develop, resulting in bacterial mastitis. At this point you may notice increasing pain, expanding redness, a fever, and the development of “flu-like” symptoms. Bacterial mastitis needs to be treated with antibiotics so if you’re experiencing symptoms of bacterial mastitis, it is important you see a physician prior to attending your physiotherapy appointment.
Research has shown support for physiotherapy treatment for all stages of mastitis. Therapeutic ultrasound, lymphatic drainage and education are tools in our mastitis treatment toolkit. Our physiotherapists are trained and able to use these techniques to treat the mastitis and prevent it from reoccurring.
Therapeutic ultrasound works by passing extremely high frequency sound waves through the skin barrier to improve circulation, improve tissue permeability, decrease inflammation, promote fluid drainage, and decrease pain in the affected breast(s).