Can Physio’s help with the treatment and management of mastitis?


What is mastitis?

Mastitis is considered to be inflammation or infection of the milk ducts and can affect up to 33% of lactating women.

The symptoms can include:

  • Breast pain
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Flu-like symptoms

Mastitis most commonly occurs in the first 6 weeks of lactation due to a combination of engorgement, regulation of milk supply and feeding challenges, such as baby’s latch and tongue tie. It can also be a common reason for the early cessation of breastfeeding. It is likely to occur more commonly in those who have persistent engorgement throughout their breastfeeding journey, as well as those who have more glandular breast tissue. Tight fitting clothing around the breasts can also be a risk factor.

What can physio’s do to help?

Therapeutic Ultrasound:

  • Accelerated healing
  • Potential to improve milk flow
  • Potentially destroying bacteria to treat infective mastitis, and either reducing the need for or increasing the effect of antibiotic treatment


  • Reduce pain
  • Increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage
  • Reduced engorgement

Dynamic taping:

  • Assist with pain and lymphatic flow

Working on postural imbalances and rib alignment:

  • Can allow for improved blood flow to breast

Advice and education on feeding positions, expressing and lifestyle advice

Some prevention tips:

  • On demand or frequent breastfeeding
  • Feeding from both breasts
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Addressing any latching or feeding issues with a midwife or lactation consultant
  • Wearing loose fitting, comfortable bras and tops
  • Reducing engorged breasts by regular feeding or pumping
  • Adequate rest

At Alara Women’s Health on the Central Coast we also offer the services of a midwife who can help address some of the contributing factors for developing mastitis such as:

  • Baby’s latch
  • Breastfeeding positions
  • Breastfeeding and expressing options to assist with mastitis recovery
  • Maintaining supply

As mastitis is a time-sensitive issue, it is important to book in with a qualified health professional as soon as you feel symptoms start to arise so that it can be managed optimally.