You may experience back pain during pregnancy as the baby grows adding extra weight to the body. It is normal to have back pain throughout pregnancy due to the hormonal changes and weight gain. It may have been really uncomfortable and would’ve thought of how you’d be free of the uncomfortable feeling after the baby’s birth.
Unexpectedly, but you can have back pain postpartum which can start hours after delivery and lasts up to weeks and months, especially if you had a c-section delivery. About 70% of women who deliver by cesarean, experience postpartum back pain.
Here we will discuss the causes and remedies for backpain after c-section.
Why is my back hurting after C-Section?
When you’re recovering from surgery, its not only the abdominal stitches that you can find uncomfortable and painful. The backpain is yet another issue that can make you uncomfortable and if ignored, it may cause other problems in the future.
There, however isn’t a single or major reason for backpains post cesarean surgery but many others.
During pregnancy, the body size increases in order to accommodate the baby. This results in weight shifting and pressure on the spine which results in back pain. The shift in balance in the main reason why your back pain is triggered and causes an uncomfortable sensation. You can’t deny that growing a new life in your body is a special feeling but the backpain that kicks in with it pretty agitating.
Although the pain can last weeks and months depending on how much you lose weight, losing weight helps the body to reduce the pain to a great extent. Not to forget, you must also as well get used to maintain a good comfortable body posture. Refraining from activities which would trigger or worsen the pain can be beneficial.
As your delivery dates get nearer, the belly gets bigger and the body releases hormone named “relaxin”. Relaxin is a hormone that is released to prepare the body for a delivery and is released irrespective of whether the delivery would be a natural birth or a cesarean birth.
The function of relaxin is to relax the ligaments, widen and soften the cervix pre delivery. Even by slight activity, the ligaments can be easily strained triggering severe pain the lower back. Once your body starts getting back in shape, your muscles, joints and ligaments strengthens with time diminishing the pain.
Wrong Posture and Carrying the Baby:
Your body has been through much during the 9 months of pregnancy and as much pain suffered, there’s doubt that there would be room for more. A comfortable and healthy posture should be maintained which can ease the backpain rather than triggering it.
Take lots of rest as sitting in a comfortable posture might affect the abdominal stitches. Although this could be challenging, it is still not impossible. Especially if you’re carrying the baby, consider keeping them in a cot and take some rest.
Bending to hold your baby constantly can cause pain in the back as well as the neck region. Carrying the baby in your arms itself is extra weight that you’re holding on to. Keeping the baby in a baby cot, crib or stroller within your reach would be a better option as it would help in easing your backpain and you wont have extra burden to deal with.
As mentioned before, holding the baby for long periods of time is extra weight on your body but its not deniable that breastfeeding your baby is great way to bond with them. You may stare at them lovingly while feeding them. The position in which the baby is generally breastfed is exhausting and tiring and trigger neck and back pain, you should take about how you can avoid the uncomfortable posture.
While feeding the baby it would be better to place a pillow below your elbow and break your gaze from the baby time to time. Shrug your shoulders in a relaxed manner and adopt a comfortable position.
The impact of Anesthesia Before Surgery:
Since we’re talking about cesarean birth, it is pretty evident that anesthesia would be used to carry out the procedure. Usually an epidural or a spinal block is used to anesthetize the lower region which in turn results in muscles spasms in the spinal region. Epidurals take about 20 minutes to numb the area while spinal blockers work faster. It can take up to weeks and months to get rid of the back pain but if proper care is taken, the duration can be reduced. Therefore, your back pain may be one of the long term side effects of spinal anesthesia after c-section.
In extremely rare cases, where complications may arise such as paralysis, there could be permanent back aches.
How do I get rid of postpartum back pain?
How can we treat or overcome backpain after c-section?
Many methods can be used to treat or reduce the backpain which are as follows:
As discussed previously, you should avoid unnecessary bending maintain a good and comfortable posture to reduce the back aches. You can ask your partner to put the baby in the cot or stroller. Keep your body straight but relaxed.
Posture while Breastfeeding:
Adopt a posture that would not worsen the pain during breastfeeding. Keep your shoulders relaxed and keep your back straight. This will help reduce upper back pain after c-section.
Hot baths increase blood circulation, decreases inflammation and reduces muscle spasms providing relief from back pain and may be one of the effective back pain after c-section remedies. Once your doctor allows you to take a shower, you are recommended to take hot baths in order to ease the pain.
A heating pad is also a good alternative in case you’re not taking a bath and want some relief.
Heavy weights and exercises should be avoided as your body slowly and gradually has to come back in shape. You can opt for gentle exercises such as yoga and Pilates that would help your body relax and strengthen the muscles within. Even taking a nice walk can improve your blood circulation and move and would ease the back pain that has been agitating you.
Getting a Massage:
Massage sounds tempting even during pregnancy and especially now that you have backpain post your c-section, you might even crave having a good massage. Leave the job to a professional massage therapist who would have knowledge as to where they should apply pressure in order to ease the uncomfortable feeling. This would also help ease the muscle tension build up in the body. You can also ask your partner for a massage.
If your body feels achy you should take some time off from other activities and have lots of rest. You should take naps frequently and considering that you now have a baby, it means that you might not be getting enough sleep throughout the night. Keeping your body overly active can increase the pain, so adequate amount of rest should be taken.
You can consult your doctor as to what kinds of medications or painkillers you can take considering that you’re a nursing mother. Taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken while breastfeeding. You can take such medications to ease the pain as they are safe to use.
How long does postpartum back pain last?
Postpartum back pain can become persistent and its duration depend on several factors which may include method of delivery, your overall physical activity levels and general health. It usually goes away within a few weeks or months but there is a chance that it may go on for up to a decade. The length of time it stays is usually more for deliveries with c-section.
Cesarean section can be planned or unplanned depending upon the situation, we cannot ignore that they can trigger backpains for long periods of time. The duration and feeling throughout pregnancy is special but you should take care of yourself and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your backaches and other problems should not be ignored as they may cause problems in the future which should be avoided.
Although back pain after a c-section is temporary, you should maintain a good posture, sit comfortably, and avoid extra burden, if you feel like your backpains are getting worse, you should immediately seek medical attention and consult your doctor for advice.