Many women experience back pain during pregnancy as their bodies change, however, for some this pain does not subside once the baby is born. Your body can become overwhelmed by the number of changes it is experiencing — the lack of sleep, stress and the weight of carrying your child, car seats, diaper bags, strollers and more can take its toll on your body leading to postpartum back pain. As a busy new mom, pain is the last thing you want to worry about.
DMOS Orthopaedic Centers has some tips on how new moms can avoid and alleviate back pain.
Whether you are lifting your baby out of the crib or from the floor, proper lifting techniques are essential to reducing pain. Always bend at your knees rather than your waist to help avoid back pain. Twisting your body while holding your baby can also put stress on your back. Another important tip to remember is to try and hold the baby close to your body when picking them up; this will reduce the chance of pain and injury.
When it comes time to feed your baby choose a seat that has good back support. Do not lean forward and, if needed, use pillows to bring the baby closer to you. When your child is old enough to use a highchair, removing the tray can help reduce the strain placed on your back.
Carrying your child on your hip may seem natural. However, this places a lot of stress on your back muscles. If you are going to be walking a lot, you may want to consider a front baby carrier or using a stroller.
Ergonomics is all about creating an environment that is efficient and safe. While you may be fatigued with caring for your new baby, it is vital to remain mindful of your movements. Pay attention to your posture. Consider placing everyday items like diapers and wipes in a place that is easily accessible and does not require marked bending.
Conditioning your body is one of the best ways to protect your body against back pain. After consulting your doctor about when you can begin exercising after childbirth, you will want to begin working to restore your back flexibility and strengthen your core. You can achieve this by doing exercises like yoga or pilates. This will not only make you less prone to injuries but will also enhance your balance and improve your posture.
Choosing the right foods to eat and maintaining a healthy weight can play a major role when it comes to back health. The more weight you carry, the more strain you place on your back and joints.
When you experience back pain remember the RICE method – rest, ice, gentle compression, and elevation.
Rest the injured area and refrain from activities that cause you pain.
Ice will reduce pain and swelling. Apply for 10-20 minutes, 3 times a day. After 48-72 hours switch to heat if the swelling is gone and/or you experience muscle spasms/tightness.
Compression on the sore area can help decrease swelling. An elastic brace can provide some improvement in pain. You will know if you have the brace too tight if you experience tingling, increased pain, or swelling below the brace.
Elevate – lie on your back and prop your legs on top of a chair or bench to relieve pressure from your back.
If you are having continuous back pain, consult your physician to ensure you are not suffering from a strain, disk herniation, or other back conditions that require medical attention.