Postpartum back pain, or back pain after giving birth, is a common problem and occurs for many of the same reasons that may cause back pain during pregnancy.
Things like your posture, your hormones, and your activities can contribute to your postpartum back pain. A prolonged or difficult labor and delivery can also cause back pain or soreness.
Postural problems associated with nursing can contribute to neck and upper back pain, especially if you are having problems getting your new baby to "latch on".
You may be spending more time than you should with your neck and shoulders bent forward trying to help your baby.
If you had an epidural to help with your delivery you may have some tenderness at the injection site but it should not cause any real back pain.
Probably the biggest cause of postpartum back pain is hormonal changes that occurred during your pregnancy.
These changes cause many of the ligaments in your back and pelvis to become soft and elastic allowing them to accommodate other physical changes that occur.
All of these loose ligaments that allow excessive motion in your back take time to tighten back up. It takes time for things to return to normal.
Muscle Strength and Tone
Also many of the abdominal muscles that were so stretched out during your pregnancy take time to regain their strength and muscular tone.
All of these abdominal muscles help to support your back and until they recover from your pregnancy you may experience some back pain and aching.
Bending Over, Bending Over, Bending Over
Something else that can contribute to back pain after you deliver your baby is the things you do while caring for a newborn.
If you have other small children that you need to care for, that activity may also contribute to the problem.
Bending over a changing table, bending over to pick up your baby, bending over to bathe your baby, bending over to pick up toys, all of these bending activities put strain on your low back that is still trying to recover from your pregnancy.
These 4 easy steps will help you manage your pain until it gets better:
• Don't Panic
• Watch Your Posture
• Gentle Exercises
• Let It Go
This is Going to Get Better
Just like your back pain and other problems you may have had related to your pregnancy, it is not going to last forever.
Be gentle with yourself and give your body time to recover from your pregnancy.
Being careful about your posture(head up, shoulders back, stomach in) will go a long ways towards improving your back pain. When you must bend, bend at the hips not in your low back. If you can keep that little curve in the small of your back you will protect the joints and ligaments that can cause pain.
Avoid Too Much Bed Rest
Too much time in bed will make your back pain worse. Gentle activity is best.
Image thanks to Wikimedia Commons
When your doctor will allow it you can start some gentle strengthening exercises for your back and abdominal muscles. Some good exercises can be found at Low Back Pain Exercises Improve Your Posture.
Everything May Not Get Done
I know there are some things that must be done, but there are many things that can be avoided without catastrophic consequences.
If the vacuuming or sweeping or other household chores do not get done today, it is okay. You'll have plenty of time to do them later.
Give Yourself Time
You have just been through a remarkable experience. Your body needs time and rest to recover.
Be gentle with yourself and enjoy being with your new baby. In the next several weeks your body will heal and you can get back to doing everything that you used to do.