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Backache after pregnancy

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Backache is one of the most common problems that a woman faces after childbirth. During pregnancy, the Relaxin hormone loosens muscle tone, so that muscles are easily expandable allowing the growing baby inside to fit in well.

You would be surprised how simple hacks can actually help you in reducing your backache! It is easier said and also easier done.

A backache could be due to various reasons, starting from improper posture, to some underlying health conditions. Though backache can sound simple, women after pregnancy can feel severe intense pains during the initial weeks or even months after childbirth causing discomfort and can also be stressful to carry out activities.

However, It is best not to self-diagnose and self-medicate. Given below are some of the case scenarios and we have got answers from Sunitha (Postnatal Yoga Expert, New Mother Expert Panel Team).

What are the causes of back pain after pregnancy?

There could be multiple reasons such as core dysfunction, and core weakness caused during pregnancy that can be carried forward after pregnancy too. After childbirth, there are a lot of changes that a body goes through, and somewhere there is a loss of connection with core muscles, mind & body, unable to sync back could be another prominent reason.

There are also other reasons like constipation, an increase in breast size, an increase in the relaxin hormone, hormones play a huge role in this and also wearing too tight clothes or high heel shoes/sandals, breathing pattern.

It could also be due to improper posture while you are performing activities such as breastfeeding while lifting the baby while standing, sitting, or even sleeping, or while carrying your baby.

Backache after pregnancy

It cannot be generalized or pinpointed to any particular reason as all the reasons are interconnected with each other in our bodies.

This can be treated by working on the core muscles strengthening, but the duration of the treatment varies from person to person. If your core muscles are treated, the majority of the issues with the backache are relieved.

Can long and difficult labor lead to intense back pain?

Yes, if it is prolonged labor, and prolonged stressful labor, the muscles around the abdomen and pelvis get overstressed, it gets over-exertion, and this can lead to backache during postpartum.

In cases where it was not prolonged labor, if the woman has gone through a traumatic experience like fear, anxiety, and stress during childbirth, it can be psychosomatically related to back pain.

Does type of birth cause back pain?

It is not the type of birth but the stress, the push, the duration of labor, the trauma, before the childbirth that can cause back pain and there are other factors too as discussed above.

Does baby weight during and after pregnancy matter?

If the baby’s weight is on a higher-end, due to the pressure it creates in the pelvic region can lead to backache. It is not only the baby’s weight but also the mother’s weight that can have an impact on the backache.

When the mother’s weight is on the higher end, the muscles would have to bear an extra load along with the baby’s, and if your muscles are weak, this can cause backache.

The relaxin hormone loosens the muscles and joints, to allow the stretch and expansion of the body to accommodate the growing baby, extra weight can be an extra load during this time.

During postpartum, the baby’s weight keeps increasing, when you carry the baby, if your muscles are still weak, then it can lead to backache.

Wrong exercises and side effects

When you do a search on the web, the result provides a lot of videos, and writeups for so many exercises, but most of them miss the breathwork while doing the exercises which is actually crucial.

Some women face backache due to not practicing the exercises in the right manner. By following a video without any instructor to guide you or correct you, there is a high chance of interpreting the instructions wrongly.

Hence, It is recommended to learn from a trained professional, and then you can continue to practice at home on your own.

Weak core muscles and DR can lead to back pain?

Yes! DR (Diastasis Recti) is the separation of the abdominal muscles. The separation creates a gap, this gap weakens the core muscles and can lead to backache.

Does breastfeeding cause back pain?

Breastfeeding in itself does not cause back pain. The posture maintained during breastfeeding can cause back pain. Improper posture can also lead to latching problems that can lead to nipple pain, and back pain. Our body parts are interconnected, if one part is getting stressed, the body might respond to it elsewhere.

How to overcome chronic back pain?

If you are suffering from chronic back pain, then you need treatment! You have to consult a physiotherapist or postnatal yoga expert to understand what is the issue.

Causes for tailbone pain.

Again, the reasons are many. The tailbone pain is also called the coccyx pain. If you had it during your pregnancy, then 90% of the time, it can continue during the postpartum period as well. Also during pregnancy, there is an anterior tilt happening naturally, but in some women, the tilt is more causing a curvature in the lower back that can lead to pain.

If you had the coccyx pain before pregnancy then the majority of the time it is due to incorrect posture, weak glute muscles, you might not be using the right chair, you might be using a recliner or rocking chair, and all of this can lead to tailbone pain.

If you are wearing tight clothes, high heels can also lead to tailbone pain. If there were more than one pregnancy, and core strengthening was not taken care of, the entire pelvic girdle can start paining and this also can lead to coccyx or tailbone pain.

During the postpartum period, constipation is another one of the main reasons that can lead to coccyx pain. Stress incontinence and umbilical hernia and DR can also lead to tailbone pain.

Does kegel exercise prevent back pain?

No, it can actually aggravate your back pain if not done properly. Kegel is for the pelvic floor only. Imagine core muscles as a cube, and pelvic floor muscles are the bottom of the cube.

So if your other core muscles are weak and you are only trying to strengthen one part of the muscles(ie. Pelvic floor), it does not help much.

Core muscles never works in isolation, it should be completely strengthened so that you can get proper cushioning all across.

Can Pelvic Girdle pain lead to back pain?

Yes, it can lead to back pain.

Can the dead bug exercise be practiced?

Yes, start from the basic level or low level, and then slowly gradually you can increase the intensity & complexity.

Can epidural cause back pain?

No, Epidural in rare cases can cause back pain but it is not the reason most of the time. As per the research, an epidural cannot lead to chronic back pain.

Can back pain be avoided naturally or any medication is required?

Yes, unless back pain is due to any chronic illness or some kind of infection that needs medication, every other back pain can be cured by following proper posture, core strengthening, by being mindful of the mind-body connection.

You would have to undergo treatment based on the severity of the pain. Treatments like a core rehab or physiotherapy.

Can C-section lead to back pain?

It is not because of surgery in particular, but it can happen because of the scar, many women would not have massaged the area and the skin around the stitch could have gone slightly hard, dry, the adhesion that is created around the scar, the push and pulls of the tissues, the new cells that are growing around, can pull the muscles around the back and this can also lead to backache.

Once the wound starts to heal, start massaging the area with any cooling oil like coconut, almond oil, ghee, or some other oil that is cooling, slowly regularly to soften the skin around the wound.

Massage it so that the stretch and the tightness reduce, and it becomes a smooth surface like the skin on other parts of your body.

How to maintain good posture?

While breastfeeding, most women tend to slouch their upper back. You can keep a pillow at the upper back, to make sure the posture is maintained whenever possible. Or keep two pillows, one for the upper back, and one for the lower back.

Doing the right exercises can help in maintaining good posture. The right exercises when done right can help you align the spine and your body automatically tends to be in the right posture.

Whenever you bend to pick up anything, bend from your knees, not curve your back. It may not be possible every single time during the initial days of the postpartum period but, be mindful whenever you want to bend.

You can stick postures on the walls, or some sticky notes to remind you every time you do any activity till it becomes a habit.

How to hold the baby right?

During pregnancy, there is a tendency to lean back due to the baby bump, and this posture can continue for some time even after childbirth. Some women tend to push the pelvic forward while carrying the baby, and the back is leaned backward.

When the baby is cranky, or you are trying to put the baby to sleep, it can be difficult to maintain a posture as all you can think of is to soothe the baby. So, whenever you are not picking up the baby doing something else, try to maintain the posture, and do pelvic tilts, so that the neutrality of the posture is maintained.

Pelvic tilts can help the body adjust back to the neutral posture. This in turn can help in maintaining the posture while carrying the baby too.

If you are used to carrying your baby on your waist like our grandmothers, and mothers, then you would have to strengthen your glutes. Glute strengthening can help in holding the weight of the baby. If your glute muscles are strong, then they can take in all the pressure and helps your body to maintain a neutral posture.

Note: if you are a breastfeeding mother, there is a chance of calcium reduction in your body, and if you are not eating a nutritious meal to strengthen yourself, you may not have enough strength to perform any kind of exercise.

Nutrition is as important as anything else. Nourish yourself, give your body what it needs, and care for yourself as you care for your baby!

At any given point, you should not stress yourself while practicing any kind of exercise. if you have any discomfort or any kind of pain, stop immediately.

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