As a new mother, you're likely noticing many recent changes in your body–and may seek postpartum back pain relief. Just as your body changes throughout the course of your pregnancy, the adjustment after your little one is born can be just as drastic. You may experience new symptoms, such as hair loss, or continue experiencing pains and ailments you thought would disappear after giving birth.
Officially, the postpartum period is the first six to eight weeks following delivery. However, it can take your body much longer to bounce back. As your baby grew in utero, your body made room for the baby to safely and comfortably nestle. This process involves stretching muscles, moving internal organs as the uterus expands, and water retention. While all of this is happening and your bundle of joy grows larger, an immense amount of pressure is placed on your bones, joints, and muscles.
Back and muscle pain are among the most common health issues that affect new mothers. Many seek prenatal chiropractic care to help manage the pain along the way. But your body spent nine months in constant movement to keep your baby safe, and many also find themselves seeking postpartum back pain relief. Even with prenatal chiropractic care, you may find yourself in need of postpartum adjustments, too.
We're here to explain why you may experience back pain postpartum, how chiropractic care can help the recovery process, and provide insight as to how adjustments can help address the postural changes and alignment issues, we see most often. Keep reading to learn more, and schedule an appointment today to find postpartum back pain relief.
Understanding Postpartum Back Pain
Those who experienced back pain either before or during pregnancy are most likely to experience it post-birth. However, any woman can develop back pain after having a baby. This doesn't mean you did something wrong or didn't care for yourself properly. It's simply the result of the bio-mechanisms that took place during pregnancy.
After giving birth, your body experiences a surge of hormones and a change in posture and center of gravity as you no longer bear the weight of a growing infant. Your body is slowly recovering from the internal movement it experienced the past nine months while adapting to new changes.
Postpartum back pain can arise from daily activities related to motherhood. Carrying your baby around a weight you weren't used to before can cause pain. It affects your posture, strains muscles that weren't actively engaged before and is a form of overuse. This can be particularly true if you default to one arm or hip when carrying your newborn.
Additionally, many women sit for extended periods as babies cluster feed or rock to sleep. New mothers know these activities can last for hours at a time. You may be even more immobile if you're recovering from a C-section. This can cause lumbar or neck and shoulder pain as you look down at your beautiful new baby.
All of these activities can cause strain on your back, leading to pain and muscle tension. Lower back pain in women is extremely common postpartum–with estimates that up to 90% of women experience the condition. It's often more intense than pre-pregnancy or pregnancy back pain. With such many new moms suffering from back pain, addressing it is crucial so you can spend more time snuggling with your baby and less time trying to relieve the pain.
Chiropractic care can help.
The Role of Chiropractic Care in Postpartum Recovery
Not only can chiropractic care address postpartum back pain, but it can help with other ailments that may have arisen during your pregnancy. Some of the most common conditions that chiropractic care can address include treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, tingling in the extremities, and of course, back and neck pain.
Chiropractors will use a variety of treatment techniques based on your unique needs. Instrument-assisted methods may be best for muscle tension, which puts pressure on your spinal cord, causes headaches, and can lead to inflammation. These include laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, and electric stimulation (E-STIM). All of these processes are entirely non-invasive and come with little-to-no risk. Massage therapy is also an option, as is acupuncture.
Manual adjustments are often the treatment method of choice for back and neck pain related to vertebrae misalignment or subluxation. This consists of manual spine adjustment to bring everything back into alignment, relieve pressure points, improve blood flow to crucial areas to minimize pain and help with hip pain.
Once you experience fewer physical symptoms, your mood can improve significantly, and you'll feel more active than before, get better rest, and more.
Safe and Gentle Chiropractic Techniques for Postpartum Women
Not all women are comfortable with the abrupt sudden force on areas of their body or prefer to avoid instrument-assisted treatments. Gentle chiropractic care is an excellent alternate choice. This treatment method doesn't use the sudden force that produces the "cracks" and "pops" you hear with traditional adjustments.
Instead, your chiropractor will use their hands to gently manipulate your spine and muscles using slow and smooth movements. The technique often uses a series of gentle stretches, which can enable better mobilization and reduce pain. Your chiropractor may also use the "drop" technique. You'll lay face-up on the table with the headrest raised.
Then, your treatment provider will pinpoint the area that needs an adjustment and apply gentle pressure with their fingers or hand. Next, the headrest will lower, helping improve mobility and minimize pain. No stretching or neck rotation accompanies this treatment option, making it appealing to many.
Addressing Postural Changes and Alignment Issues
Maintaining good posture is essential to keeping your spine aligned to alleviate sudden back pain. As your spinal cord and muscles have experienced stress and tension for so long, they may seem "stuck" in an uncomfortable position. During pregnancy, your posture changes naturally as your belly grows. Postpartum, it may not return to normal right away, or new posture issues can arise due to a change in daily activities.
Your chiropractor can help by putting you through a session of gentle stretches and providing exercises to complete at home, between sessions, to optimize the results.
Additionally, there's an extensive list of recommendations that are easily completed and can help your posture. Make sure you stand up and move around every twenty minutes, try not to sit with your legs or ankles crossed, twist and turn using your full body rather than just the waist, light exercise after approval from your OB/GYN, add lumbar support to your seating arrangements, try to sit upright with relaxed shoulders as much as possible, and more, can all help you maintain good posture and avoid alignment issues postpartum.
Please note that it's vital never to begin an exercise regimen or add any supplements to your daily routine without consulting with your OB/GYN to ensure they're safe for your newly changed body.
Schedule an Appointment Today
At ChiroCare of Florida, our chiropractors have extensive experience helping women find postpartum back pain relief. With both traditional chiropractic adjustments and gentle chiropractic techniques available, we'll develop a treatment plan you're comfortable with.
Additionally, we offer many ancillary services, such as massage therapy, physical rehabilitation, and acupuncture, and help patients put together personalized wellness programs. We also have experience in prenatal chiropractic for those seeking treatment during pregnancy and pediatric chiropractic care for little ones.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.