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6 Tips to Help You Deal With Your Postpartum Back Pain

PostPartum Back Pain
Written by Jennifer Landis

What causes postpartum back pain, and what can you do to help deal with it after the baby is born?

[Tweet “When it’s all over, you’ll hurt in places you didn’t even know you had…”]

Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences of your life – but it’s also one of the hardest things you will ever put your body through, short of running an ultra-marathon. You’ll stretch, squeeze and push, and when it’s all over, you’ll hurt in places you didn’t even know you had.

Postpartum back pain can make it difficult to get back to normal, and in severe cases, even make it hard to care for your new baby.

What causes postpartum back pain, and what can you do to help deal with it after the baby is born?

What Causes Postpartum Back Pain?

Pregnancy tends to wreak havoc on all your body’s systems. Hormones cause your ligaments and joints to loosen, plus the fact that you’ve just carried and grown a new human for the last nine months and they pushed, wiggled and kicked your organs all out of shape. Add that to the monumental effort of pushing this new human life into the world, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for postpartum back pain.

The location of your labor can sometimes cause additional strain – in this writer’s case, Pitocin-induced contractions in the back caused muscle strain and additional damage.

Once the baby is born, all the bending and lifting you do as a new mom can add to that back pain as well.

What Can You Do to Deal With Postpartum Back Pain?

We all know it takes a while for your body to get back to normal after having a baby. When it comes to back pain, though, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself heal, including:

  • Lift correctly. You always hear you should lift with your legs, not with your back. Be mindful of this when you’re recovering. Don’t bend over the crib or bassinette to pick up your new baby. Do all your lifting – whether it’s baby, laundry, stroller or car seat – from your legs, instead of your back. The trick here is to give your back a break whenever possible.
  • Treat yourself! Especially if you’ve had a C-section, a warm bath – once your doctor approves you to bathe again – is a great way to help reduce pain and loosen those lower back muscles. If you can, spring for a professional massage. If not, get your partner to help you work out the kinks while you’re relaxing.
  • Mind your posture. It’s too easy to slouch over, especially when you’re exhausted from dealing with the new little one. Pay attention to your posture, especially when you’re seated. Good posture also makes breathing easier, helps improve digestion, circulation and appearance, and can help keep your bones properly aligned to reduce joint and muscle pain.
  • Put your feet up. Hopefully you’re staying off your feet as much as possible, but you can help alleviate back pain even when you’re sitting. Keep your feet slightly elevated when you’re off them, to help take some of the strain off your lower back.
  • Don’t stand too much. Being on your feet is often unavoidable, but you should try to stay off them as much as possible. If you have to stand, try to keep one foot elevated on a small stool while you’re upright – this action takes some pressure off your lower back while you’re standing.
  • Lighten that diaper bag. It can be tempting to pack everything your child might ever need in your diaper bag, but carrying a heavy load on your shoulder will make your back pain worse. Unless you’re leaving for a few days, just bring the basics – a few diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and a pacifier or bottle, if you use either. You’re carrying enough weight with just your child in your arms – don’t add to that by packing everything including the kitchen sink in your diaper bag.

When Should I Ask for Help?

Not all postpartum back pain is created equal, and you may find all of these little steps aren’t helping or are even making your back pain worse. When should you consider a trip to the doctor?

If your back pain is interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to ask for help. More than 80 percent of adults have back pain serious enough that they seek medical treatment for it. If you’re having trouble completing daily tasks or enjoying life because of your back pain, make an appointment. There are also exercises you can do at home to strengthen core areas to naturally decrease your pain levels over time. According to Every Mother, a provider of diastasis recti exercises and other resources for pregnant women, Exercises clinically proven to narrow the gap between the rectus abdominis muscles also significantly improve self-reported symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, low back pain, and other diastasis recti symptoms.”

Additionally, if your back pain is accompanied by the following symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.

  • Weakening of the legs
  • Problems with bladder control or bowel function
  • Pain that gets worse at night, or pain that simply gets progressively worse
  • Fever
  • Dramatic and unexplained weight loss
  • Stomach pain

These symptoms, when paired with severe lower back pain, could be indicative of a more serious condition. Generally, lower back pain isn’t related to serious conditions, but it’s better to be safe, especially if your back pain is making it difficult to function.

[Tweet “These symptoms, when paired with severe lower back pain, could be indicative of a more serious condition.”]

Pregnancy and childbirth are not easy things on your body, so you should expect to take some time to recover and heal after the baby is born. Needing extra time to yourself isn’t a bad thing – plus, the extra downtime gives you more opportunities to bond with your newborn.

In most cases, postpartum back pain will resolve itself in a few weeks to a few months, as long as you don’t overexert yourself. If your postpartum pain is getting to the point that it’s interfering with your ability to enjoy life or care for your child, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor.

Back pain is more common than you might think. You’re not alone, so if you’re having trouble, ask for help! A simple trip to the chiropractor may be enough to help fix you up!

Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers  of Self-Acceptance,  Appreciation, and Personal  Achievement.  We ask that every contributor and expert answer    the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the  current article they have written.  In that way, and as a team, we hope to  encourage  and motivate  each other, thus inspiring  you to Get All A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally?  Additionally, what are you  still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.

Today, I have accepted that  I can’t be perfect every day. And that it’s okay to take things one day at a time.  

2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally?  On the other hand  OR in contrast,  are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on  appreciating.

I’ve given birth and I’ve run a marathon and those have always been at the top of my list! It is wonderful feeling accomplished, and I am still setting up some new goals to follow.  

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us  not only  what makes YOU most proud  but also  share the  goals and dreams that you still have.

I’ve given birth and I’ve run a marathon and those have always been at the top of my list! It is wonderful feeling accomplished, and I am still setting up some new goals to follow.  

4.  Of course, we  all have imperfections,  or  so we think.  In truth,  we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways?  Likewise,  what imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

I eat way too much peanut butter.  

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to  appreciate and express  all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU!  In fact, sharing  what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!)  Therefore,  Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

Bangs! I grow them out, and then get sad, and then cut them back in and am so happy again.  

Photo by  Jacob Postuma  on  Unsplash

About the author

Jennifer Landis

Jennifer Landis is tea sipping, yoga loving mom, wife, and healthy living blogger. She enjoys a good run – once she gets past the 3-mile mark. You can check out her blog, Mindfulness Mama or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

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