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Clogged Breast Duct(s)

Image by Victoria Strukovskaya

How Does Physical Therapy Help?

Physical Therapy can be a helpful adjunctive treatment for women experiencing clogged breast ducts, a condition often associated with breastfeeding mothers. While the primary treatment for clogged ducts is usually focused on relieving the obstruction and improving milk flow, Physical Therapy can complement these efforts in several ways. At Well Women Physical Therapy, we assist our women with a holistic approach which includes:

  1. Education and Instruction: On anatomy of the breast and milk production to help you better understand how clogs happen in the first place! We offer assistance with proper breastfeeding techniques and positions, which includes ensuring that the baby has a good latch and proper suckling, which can prevent future clogged ducts. It is important to note that these are basic education techniques which can screen for conditions which may require more advanced assistance from a qualified Lactation Consultant. WWPT does not currently employ any IBCLCs in house, but we will offer as much information and advice as we can within the our appropriate scope of practice!

  2. Skilled Manual Techniques & Modalities: Including Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Vibration Therapy, Hot/Cold Therapies, TENS, and Therapeutic Ultrasound to help not only resolve the clog, but also improve pain, swelling, blood flow, milk flow, and relaxation in the breast and muscle tissues.

  3. Range of Motion Exercises: In some cases, clogged ducts can lead to muscle tension and restricted movement in the shoulder and chest area. We can provide exercises and stretches for you to perform at home which help improve range of motion and relieve tension.

  4. Posture and Ergonomics: We assess posture and breastfeeding ergonomics to ensure that women are not putting excessive strain on their breasts and shoulders, which could contribute to clogged ducts.

  5. Preventative Strategies: We work with breastfeeding mothers on preventive measures to reduce the risk of future clogged ducts. This includes advice on breast self-care, nutrition, and even clothing!

  6. Referral: WWPT has compiled a provider list of recommended IBCLC Lactation Consultants in your area, information on mastitis, and when to seek medical treatment. 

It's important to note that while Physical Therapy can be beneficial for helping to treat clogged breast ducts, swelling, and pain, we are not able to prescribe medications including antibiotics for infection. PT should be used in conjunction with medical advice from a healthcare provider, such as a lactation consultant or a physician to ensure that you are comprehensively cared for! Severe or recurrent cases of clogged ducts may require additional medical intervention, and a healthcare professional can provide the most appropriate guidance and treatment options.

**If your breast is hot and red, or has red streaks, please seek medical attention before your visit with us.**



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