Relief For Back Pain After Pregnancy
A common complaint after childbirth is back pain, particulary lower back pain. Here are 4 leading causes and 4 actions you can take.
1.Weak abdominal muscles. During pregnancy, particularly the last trimester, it is obviously very difficult, if not impossible to perform most exercises, especially abdominal exercises, during pregnancy. Imagine doing sit-ups! So your abdominal muscles have weakened over the last 9 months. The lower back is carried by the lower back muscles and the front lower torso is carried by the abdominals, also called the core muscles. When the abdominals are weak, your posture will be poor and your lower back muscles will be strained.
2.Tight muscles in the legs, chest and shoulders. Because of your restricted movements while you carried your baby, your muscles have not been stretched. If you have lower back pain, your hamstrings and gluteals could be tight. muscles. When the hamstring muscles and gluteal muscles are tight, they can cause rounding of the lower back, with associated back pain. This is because the hamstrings are attached to the pelvis and pull on the pelvis when tight. Stiff shoulder muscles will likely cause neck and upper back pain. Tight chest muscles pull on the shoulder and will also likely cause neck and shoulder pain.
3.Bad posture. You have a baby that you have to feed and soothe constantly. This means you need to pick up and put down your baby often. If you’re not careful about your posture, you could be straining your back. Even though your baby is a fairly light weight (at least in the beginning!) the repeated action of bending your back, day after day, with poor posture,will strain your back.
4. Excess weight. Unfortunately, one of the prices of pregnancy is excess weight, for many women. This makes back pain worse, as the excess strains the back muscles. Overweight people are often less flexible than thinner people and have a smaller range of motion. This means that sudden movements often cause strains.
Taking action 1. Strengthen your abdominals for 5-10 minutes a day. Avoid sit-ups as sit-ups will strain your back if you have not been exercising for a while. Rather do crunches. Perform 10 repetitions to start with and increase this each week. Also do a stability exercise, where you have to hold still, like the plank. Time yourself and try to improve the time you spend in the position each week.
2. Stretch your connected muscles. Do 3-5 minutes a day of stretching. The key stretches you need to do are: 1) hamstrings, as these connect to your pelvis and affect the lower back 2) chest muscles, as the chest muscles attach to the shoulder blade and pull the shoulders forward, causing upper back pain if tight 3) shoulders, as neck and shoulder pain is common where these muscles are tight. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to start with. Aim to increase this each week.
3.Keep good posture. Be aware of your posture when you pick your baby up or put your baby down. Don’t round your back. Bend your legs when you bend to pick up baby;your legs must do the work, not your back muscles. Bend forward at your hips, and keep your back straight.
4.Go walking with your baby. Put your baby in the pram/stroller and walk. Walking is very good for tight hamstring and gluteal muscles. It’s also a gentle way to exercise and lose weight.