Numerous physical changes induce low back pain for pregnant women, which is also prominent even after giving birth. Pregnancy expands the uterus as it stretches during fetal development. This causes the abdominal muscle to weaken and affect posture, which strains the back and results in persistent back pain. Several causes can also trigger back pain during the postpartum period. Fortunately back pain after giving birth can be easily treated with daily practice and can also be prevented to some extent.
Causes of Back Pain after Giving Birth
1. Hormonal Changes
Significant changes on hormone levels affect the joints and ligaments, which are attached to the pelvic bones to the spine. These skeletal components loosen up and cause women to feel physically unstable, especially while walking or standing for long periods of time.
2. Long Labor
Long hours of labor also cause a sore back. Labor causes the body to use muscles that are not often used and result to aftereffects like pain and soreness. Labor-induced back pain may last for some time.
Breastfeeding is a crucial process of infant care, but without following proper posture, it can also aggravate back problems. Mothers usually focus on holding their babies without noticing that they are already hunching their back and straining upper back and neck muscles due to improper posture.
4. Other Causes
Several causes like exhaustion and stress of the body can worsen the pain experienced from childbirth. New mothers are exhausted from watching over their infants day and night and experience intensifying back pain in the long run.
How Long Will It Last?
It will take several months for the back pain to disappear. Nevertheless, several women experiences long-term back pain after delivery. Among these women feeling persisting back pain are those who had back problems prior or during the early stage of pregnancy. Overweight mothers also deal with this issue longer, as the back muscles continue to receive continuous pressure brought about by excess pounds.
How to Relieve Back Pain after Giving Birth
1. Start with a Gradual Exercise Routine
Moving and exercises help women in getting relief from back pain despite the lack of motivation during the first few days after delivery. Working out trains and strengthen abdominal muscles, which offer better support for the core and preventing intense pressure on the back. Exercises also enhance flexibility that contributes to relieving pain. Sample exercises include the following:
- Non-strenuous workouts like walking are the best exercises new mothers can do. This exercise is simple and effective whether the mom had vaginal or Caesarean section birth. Slow and short walks can be conducted during the early weeks post-delivery.
- Swimming is also another exercise for women. Movement plus water strengthens the muscles without subjecting the joints to extensive pressure. This exercises, however, is an alternative as the new mother continues with the exercise regimen. Note that you should not swim shortly after giving birth. Consult your doctor and he will give advice based on how you are recovering from the pregnancy.
- Pelvic tilts. After getting a go signal from the primary care provider, the mother can gradually commence strengthening exercises targeting both abdominal and back muscles. A known example of this exercise is pelvic tilts. The exercise requires moms to lie on the back with knees bent while keeping the feet flat on the ground. Expand your belly by inhaling and tilting the tailbone as if being pulled towards the navel while exhaling. Keep the hips on the floor and tighten the buttons when the tilt reaches its top or peak. Recommended repetitions are eight to ten times. Women who had C-section must wait around six weeks to two months before conducting this exercise.
- Follow simple yoga exercises, but be sure to avoid extreme stretching or more challenging positions. On the important note, check for discomfort in doing the exercises and stop immediately if the activity induces pain.
Watch a video for how to relieve back pain after pregnancy:
2. Maintain Proper Posture and Appropriate Body Mechanics
Proper posture and carrying the baby aids in relieving back pain.
- Stand and sit straight while paying attention to posture. While sitting, mothers can use a stool to raise their feet while breastfeeding, which is helpful for those experiencing lower back pain. Utilizing armrests and pillows are beneficial in supporting the back and arms that contribute to pain relief.
- Know the right position in nursing the baby. Remember to bring the baby towards the breast and not hunching forward to move near the infant. Other breastfeeding positions also alter the usual habit and relaxes tense shoulder and back muscles.
- Bend knees when reaching or lifting objects or children. Crouching with the knees straight increases the risk of pressure on the back that causes back pain. Mothers who had a C-section birth are advised not to lift objects heavier than the baby within the first two months.
3. Love Your Body
Proper body care eases tensed muscles and soothing soreness generally experienced after pregnancy. The effects may not be long-term, but short-term effects help in alleviating pain that affects movement and daily activities. Back pain relief includes the following tips:
- Warm bath relaxes the muscles as well as improving a new mom’s well-being.
- Applying heating pad or hot compress on the affected muscles has soothing effects although short-term. If a hot compress doesn’t work, workaround by using a cold pack.
- Massage treatment offers temporary relief on stressed muscles, lower back pain, and tense shoulders. Massaging doesn’t require expensive, professional services, but a simple rub from a friend or spouse will work just the same.
- Losing extra pounds through healthy diet and exercise will also help the body from the problem, as it sheds down weight that adds pressure to different muscle grounds.
- Medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen relieve pain temporarily. However, mothers are advised to consult a physician to know the right medications that won't show adverse effects on the baby during breastfeeding period.
- Physical therapy is also helpful, as professional therapists have other techniques that deal with back pain directly. Therapists can also recommend workout regimen that will work effectively for the patient.
- Alternative healing like acupuncture has been reported effective in alleviating pain.
- Several women also prove spinal alignment through professional chiropractic care service effective for this pain issue.
How to Prevent Back Pain after Giving Birth
Preventing back pain induced by childbirth is possible through the following procedures:
- Work on restoring pre-pregnancy weight six weeks after childbirth.
- Start exercising after delivery to tone back and abdominal muscles. Do stretching exercises for 10 minutes daily will promote muscle and hip flexibility improvement.
- Avoid stretching the arms in carrying the baby. Always bring the baby close to the chest then lift without twisting the body.
- Pick up objects or children by bending knees to squat down and support the lifting process using leg muscle strength.
- Always remove the high chair tray before placing the baby or when lifting him out of it.
- Try a front pack in carrying the baby while walking.
- Kneel on the back seat and place the baby on the car seat instead of standing outside and trying to reach inside.
When to See a Doctor
Several criteria imply the importance of calling a physician when having back pain. Constant, severe and worsening back pain requires medical experts’ attention. This is also the same in back pain induced by trauma or if the pain comes with fever.
Call the physician in instances when legs feel weak or show impaired coordination. The primary care provider’s attention is also needed in cases of loss of sensation on legs, buttocks, genital area, and other surrounding areas.