Postpartum back pain is less common than pregnancy back pain. However, regardless of whether you have suffered back pain during pregnancy, postpartum back pain can still be present.
In Sweden, a study was carried out using 817 pregnant women and followed 12 weeks after their delivery. More than 67% of the women experienced back pain directly after delivery, whereas 37% said they had back pain at the follow-up examination. Most of the women who had recovered became pain-free within 6 months. Factors that correlated to persistent postpartum back pain were the presence of back pain before pregnancy, the presence of back pain during pregnancy, physically heavy work, and even multi-pregnancy. Of these four factors, physically heavy work was found to have the strongest association with persistent back pain at 12 months.
How does postpartum backache come about?
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- Sitting or lying too much can cause the back muscles to weaken, get sore or stiff. The lower back muscles can also be affected from a caesarean section, by compensating for the surgical damage to the abdominal muscles. The work usually done by the abdominal muscles must be temporarily transferred to the lower back and oblique muscles during healing. This can cause minor back pain.
- Muscle strain during the delivery of the baby has chances of occurring. The lower back muscles are used, along with the pelvic muscles, during a vaginal birth and at times, this pushing can cause the muscles or ligaments in the back to strain.
- Mental back pain – This is a form of back pain that continues from the pregnancy back pain, a result of the subconscious beginning a mentally induced pain syndrome.
You don’t have to lie around and endure postpartum back pain! There are some measures you can take to ease the pain (and no we’re not talking about meds).
- Walking – Set your own pace. Walk for about 10-15 minutes daily. This will even ease your mind up as you relax and enjoy your walk.
- Posture – Stand up straight and when you’re nursing, sit up straight.
- Footstool – Keep a footstool around to keep your feet slightly raised when you’re sitting.
- Bend your knees – Extremely important when lifting objects or the baby. Such a crouching position will reduce the stress on our back
- Warm baths – These help to ease the tension away.
- Hubby Help – That’s right! Get the husband to give you a gentle rubdown. You’ll be surprised how relaxing this can be!
If the pain becomes constant and unbearable consult your doctor immediately. Postpartum back pain is not uncommon and you don’t have to suffer in silence!